To Kill a Mockingbird

If you’ve followed my recent Facebook posts, you know I’m enjoying Turner Classic Movies presentations of so many of the Oscar films.  So, it figures that in my exhaustion that I’d have a movie moment.

Work was crazy today, so I had some music on while I was accomplishing some simple tasks.  I was listening to iTunes radio while working when the theme from To Kill a Mockingbird came on.  With the first few notes of this famous music by Elmer Bernstein, I was so moved I had to stop what I was doing, close my door, and take in the sounds of this wonderful music.  It made for quite the blessing in a very busy day.

How many of you, at the mere mention of this film, began to hear Scout and Jim?  Or, perhaps you heard Gregory Peck speaking in the courtroom?  (He won an Oscar for his portrayal for Atticus Finch.)  Or, my favorite, when the Rev. tells Scout, “Scout, stand up, your father’s passin . . .”  What a moment!

So many things make this movie wonderful — not the least of which is that it so much reminds me of my small hometown.  While my upbringing certainly wasn’t The Great Depression, it was a simple time when people sat on their front porches and yelled at their neighbor’s kids when they saw them doing wrong.  (I couldn’t get down the street without my mother knowing what I was doing.)  Fresh vegetables were a part of our growing up as everyone had a garden.  Dominos were still played around tables by overall-clad old men who needed to interact with their equally-clad friends.  Most swimming was done in ponds, tanks, or lakes.  Few had pools. I could ride my bike everywhere and anywhere.   Summers were a time to be a kid.  Sigh, it was a different time.

I’ve had other connections to this film, too.  Odd as it was, one happened here at the Houston airport.  On a return flight from a conference, I was walking down the corridor and saw an older, white-haired man.  Barbara Roberson and Richard and Melissa Burnham and I were traveling together.  Melissa, being from the big city of Wharton, TX, immediately recognized him.  It was Horton Foote, the man who wrote the screenplay for the movie and won an Oscar for his adaptation of the Harper Lee novel.  As Mr. Foote was from Wharton, Melissa knew him and introduced me.  I don’t remember what we talked about but I told him that the movie he helped create, to this day, still speaks to me to me in amazing ways.  I will never forget that moment.

Richard says that there is a lot of truth in Mockingbird. I’d agree.  And, I bet Atticus would, too.

In this Oscar season, is there a movie that captures your heart?

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