Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thank You, Mr. Twain

The first week in October marks an annual celebration called Great Books Week. To honor this week, The National Association of
Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) is holding the Great Books Week Blog Tour. The tour invites bloggers to post their own blog using their topic suggestion for the day. My submission for Tuesday is below. For more information, go to http://news.naiwe.com/2009/10/03/great-books-week-blog-tour-october-4-10-2009/

When I was a young boy, my favorite book was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. This story was commonly read in elementary schools by teachers. My mother even got me a 45 record of the story. I wore the grooves off that record. I cannot begin to tell how much this Southern boy loved living vicariously through Tom Sawyer. Tom was a very mischievous young boy. Tom did all of the things a Southern boy wanted to do (but most wouldn't dare). He wasn't a delinquent in the truly criminal sense. He was just a boy who wanted to have fun. For Tom, that meant breaking rules.

When Tom had to whitewash a fence as a form of punishment, he hoodwinked every boy who passed by to do it for him in trade. As shocking as it was to this young Southern boy to see Tom once again buck his Aunt Polly's authority, I couldn't help but admire his cunning entrepreneurial spirit. I loved the idea of Tom and Huck running away to become pirates on the Mississippi River. I also admired Tom's prodigal spirit when he decides to return home (interrupting his own funeral). I could even feel my heart in my throat as Tom stood up for the town drunk, Muff Potter, who had been framed for murder. Tom testified in court on Muff's behalf knowing his life was in danger for doing so. Tom WAS a rule breaker but he had a strong sense of right and wrong.

I remember seeing a movie about Tom Sawyer that showed him wearing overalls. He wore no shirt and no shoes. My mom told me that my Dad often dressed in the same fashion as a young boy. Needless to say, I dressed in that same fashion a few times that summer. Thank you, Mr. Twain for allowing me to live Tom' adventures (and not get a whippin' for doing it).

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