There’s always a fine line, and people will always show it to you, dare you try to cross it. But I think that line must totally depend on perspective, as in which pair of glasses you happen to be looking through at the time.
When I was just a very small child, movies that came on television were a very big deal! Not silent movies, okay? But nothing even close to Resident Evil or Ice Cube’s Friday Night. I’m talking about the early 1960’s.
When you’re little, you don’t understand the many complexities of human emotion, you just know what you know. But the first time something moves you, the first time something brand new gets the little wheels upstairs turning, I believe it is life-changing, whether you realize it later or not.
“Thomasina,” who was indeed a real cat, and a beautiful lady with flaxen red hair, take the lead, and the village folk called her a witch, so of course all the children did too.
She lived in a cabin tucked far away in the woods, at the back of a beautiful meadow, where one entire long room of her home was filled with boxes and cages, and there was a table with her supplies. This “witch” had herbs hanging from string all around, interesting bottles and brews, which she used to minister to the wounded, sick and displaced animals of the forest. There were numerous wild critters all hanging around, squawking and making a racket.
One day when she was out in the meadow, gathering wildflowers and other plants if you will, she happened across a stone pillar of sorts, the top of which was covered by a small piece of blanket. As she lifted up the blanket to look inside, there lay a beautiful ginger cat, presumed to be dead, and thusly laid to her final rest.
She reaches in, to check, of course, and sure enough, the animal was not dead at all. She was breathing. So the beautiful young lady (crazy old hermit of a witch) retrieved the poor feline into her basket and away to the house they did flee.
Well, as kids will do, these adorable red-haired children returned to the scene of the crime… (who knows what they were doing) but they find that poor Thomasina has gone missing and they are confounded. Shocked.
This was so many years ago, and without watching it again, they somehow happened upon the witch’s cabin and saw her in the infirmary, sleeves rolled up, sweat on her brow, tending some unfortunate bird’s wing. Being a witch of course, she knew they were there, and the short version is that the children finally got to meet the hideous vile creature of a witch, that lived alone like a hermit in the meadow, in a cabin with only candles, and pitchers with bowls to clean in. And surprise! They liked her very much. Especially when she revealed the slowly improving Thomasina, to their bright and shining eyes.
At some point in the movie, the repugnant witch was no longer, and in her place stood the authentic and true image of a pleasant and kind young woman, who took care of herself and any and every animal that might end up on her doorstep.
We may never know why the lovely and skilled Mistress of the Meadow chose to live by herself, far from the prying eyes of the staunch conservatives in the village. But I think it is pretty clear. She was a free spirit, of generous heart, who lived life on her terms, regardless of harsh scrutiny and condemnation.
Right then, and right there, I related to this person, and everything about her obsessed me and guided my tiny little brain. Not my mother, nor my father, but a character in a Disney movie, showed me what love is and could be. For the first time I saw persecution and prejudice, and the harm it can do. But I also saw a woman, alone, simply retreat back to her cabin, with not so much as a “bite me” towards the old women of the village who would seek to cause her harm.
Of course, this also being my very first “romantic” film, the story ends with the pretty girl falling in love with the children’s father and totally transforming the guy from a sad and unreachable parent, to a calm and very happy fellow, if memory does serve me right.
So, back to that fine line. We all need companionship, no doubt about it. I would even venture to say that even the most vindictive of women probably has some old man stationed at her table, throwing down the days’ offering of porridge and artisan bread. And if we are lucky enough to find a partner in this life, I would say “enjoy it while you can.” Because that’s about how life can go, “one minute you’re here… ” and well, you know….
I am often paused to study people, and sometimes I too wish I had the “social” gene. I love to visit, especially with older folks, and very young children. But put me in a room with “normal” adults, and I will sink into the background, and find some unsuspecting feline, and give her the attention of her life. And this exact thing has happened too many times for me to count, sadly…
I used to think it was such a very sad state of affairs I was in. No children, no husband, (he left when he hit the mid-life re-evaluation thingy)… yet luckily, there was one thing that fired up my passion and motivation, and that was to take care of the pets and myself, and to reclaim and secure the “Deed” to my property. To make money, I could type and I could clean.
Today, there’s an old funky witch, that lives at the back of 4 tree-covered acres, and she is surrounded by nosey neighbors and nare do wells, not even a hint of a wave at the mailbox, no fruitcakes at Christmas. I’ve taken in many sad little orphans, left sitting by my gate. I’ve made some mistakes with them along the way, but by and large, my efforts and good intentions brought love and happiness into my life, and theirs, and my little farm transformed with the years, into an amazing and safe sanctuary, despite the obstacles, which in many cases, felt almost crippling.
I think most people respect the line. And they usually stay on their side of it. But me, I like to cross the line, any time I get the opportunity. Shake things up, a “boat-rocker.” During my struggle to survive, I am sure I upset many a pinched-mouth inflexible elder, but it’s not those people I really want to think about. I like to think about the nice people, who didn’t make fun of me, the ones that didn’t see divorce and turn away. I am devoted to the few that remained available to me and gave me time when I needed it.
So the happy ending here is obvious. Maybe the moral of the story is, follow your own dreams, never give up, or, don’t let your unsupervised neglected children watch weird movies. They just don’t make ’em like they used to!