What we talk about on long car trips

Matt and I took a long weekend trip to the beach this past weekend. On the way, we passed a stretch of houses that all had names, you know like Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation was named “Tara”, and George Washington’s home was named “Mt. Vernon”.

None of these houses that we passed were as grand as Mt. Vernon or Tara, but they each had signs at the end of the driveways proudly displaying their names, asserting that they weren’t just someone’s house, they were someone’s estate.

Seeing this resulted in the following car conversation:

me: Let’s name our house. Like these houses and like big estates. It deserves a name.

Matt: Ok, you go first.

me: No, it was my idea. You go first.

Matt: Mmmm, what was the name of James Bond’s estate in Skyfall?

me: Skyfall.

Matt: Ok.


me: So, you’re proposing Skyfall? No, that’s dorky.

Matt: What’s your idea?

me: Deathstar.

Matt: Like from Star Wars? That’s dorky squared.

me: You next.

Matt: Elder Estate.

me: No, I want something creative. Like Peaceful Alliance.

Matt: Alliance? Is that a Star Wars reference again? Why do you keep bringing up Star Wars? You don’t even like Star Wars. Stop it.

me: It’s too bad we had those big pine trees cut down. We could call it something like Pine Valley, or Pine Swept, or Pine Song, or Pine Haven. We have those birches now, so it could be like Birchwind. Or Birch Star.

Matt: Really, stop.


Matt: You know the land originally belonged to the Moose family, so it could be something with Moose in it.

me: Moose Star! Moose Lodge! Moose House! Moose Haven!


me: I thought the land came through the Drye family, not the Moose side of the family.

Matt: You’re right, so it would need to be the word Drye.

me: Drye Land! Drye Winds!

Matt: I like Haven. Our Haven.

me: Our Drye Haven!


me: Yeah, that doesn’t work. It sounds like a rehab center.


me: Our Drye Moose Haven.

Matt: I like it.

me: Me, too.

So, that’s what we’re naming our house/estate. And we sound like we support sober moose. We’re good people.


After we got to the beach, we noticed that most of the beach houses were named. Do you think that there is a special place that people with beach houses go to find names? Here are some of the ones that we saw:

  • Seas the Moment
  • Luna-Sea
  • Mr. Krabs
  • 4 All Sea-Sons
  • Sea-esta
  • Nexta-C
  • Wait N Sea
  • and my personal favorite: House


I can’t wait to get a fancy sign that reads “Our Drye Moose Haven”. I’ll post when done. And remember: just because we now live on an estate doesn’t mean y’all can’t visit any time.

When It’s Gone

I just learned that Santa Claus isn’t real. Ok, that’s really a metaphor, but I have had a fundamental shift in my beliefs, so I’m comparing it to learning that Santa doesn’t exist. For the first time in my 30s, I read Gone With the Wind, and I realized that it’s not my favorite book any more and I don’t like Scarlett O’Hara.

For anyone who hasn’t known me since I was a pre-teen, this probably doesn’t sound like foundation shifting news, but if you have known me since I was 13 or so, this is big news. For the last 25 years, when asked what my favorite book is, I have easily, without hesitating, answered Gone With the Wind. Now, I’m questioning why and how I could have obsessed over this book.

I fell in love with this book after falling in love with the movie. It was my version of Twilight or Harry Potter. I soaked up the words and the stories, fell for the characters and the sweeping dramas. I pestered every teacher (History, English, Social Studies) to let us watch the movie, hoping to infuse my fellow students with my love. I collected anything that I could afford that was about the 40+ year book and movie — movie posters and postcards, autobiographies about Margaret Mitchell, Vivien Leigh, documentaries on making the movie, collector’s plates, dolls. If I had had money, I would have had the most extensive GWTW collection possible. My mom named our cat “Scarlett” in honor of my obsession.

My first day as a freshman in college, I was hanging one of my GWTW posters in my dorm room, when my new roommate said that the girl two doors down also had a GWTW poster on her wall. Expecting a “wanna-be” fan, I stopped by to see for myself the inhabitant who also liked my Scarlett. I then met the girl that would be my roommate for the next 3 years, but only after we circled each other like lionesses, throwing out GWTW questions, sniffing each other for weakness and blood. Only when Betsy and I were both satisfied that we were equally devoted (and knowledgeable) about GWTW did we realize that we each had found a friend for life.

So, this is why it is so hard to accept that, after deciding that it was time to reread the book, I don’t like Scarlett, and that I am offended by some parts of the book. Scarlett isn’t heroic, she’s selfish, two-dimensional, unimaginative and hard. The love of money, the absolute hunger for money, gives her the justification to turn her back on her God, her family, and her morals.

She is a survivor, however, and I can understand how her story would be so compelling when it was published during the middle of the Great Depression. The story is, in essence, one of surviving after the world in which you know is completely turned upside down. I have thought several times while reading it recently that this story has become relevant again during our current ecomonic and financial breakdown, war, massive lay offs, etc. Thousands are people are dealing with the same issues that these characters dealt with — how do you live you life when your life doesn’t resemble anything that you’re used to?

I don’t want to deal like Scarlett did. I don’t want to become hard or focused only on money, with no thought to how my actions impact others, or with only “me” in the middle of my actions. Here is my lesson — not how to survive, but how not to survive.

I’m looking for a new favorite book. Betsy, if you read this, I don’t know if you are saddened, indifferent or surprised that it took me so long to come to this realization. But, I’ll always be glad that Scarlett introduced me to you.