A few weeks ago, a friend said to me:
“I just got an ice cream maker. So I’m thinking about having a party where we watch Anne of Green Gables and then break into the ice cream at the same time Anne tastes ice cream for the first time. What do you think?”
I’ll give you one guess to figure out what I said.
Yes, you’re right. I was thrilled! Best party idea ever!
I should say a few words about this friend. I have this tendency to categorize my friends, and she falls in the “museum friend” category–another educator at a history museum. When she first moved to Texas, she called me up and said “I need a mentor.” Or something like that. I still find that incredibly ironic because a)she’s older than me and has lots more experience and b)I’ve probably learned more from her than she’s ever learned from me. We quickly became good colleagues and have shared many a drink as we discussed various museum educator quandries.
But I didn’t realize our shared love of Anne until I invited her to a housewarming at my last apartment. From my trip to PEI, I have a wonderful watercolor of Green Gables. It’s like a secret password–to most folks, it’s just an old house. A picture of an old house makes sense in the home of someone that has been working in historic house museums for years. But to those that are kindred spirits, well, it’s GREEN GABLES!! At any rate, when she saw that picture she squealed “Green Gables!!” And then I learned that she dragged her husband to PEI for their honeymoon. That may have been the moment that our friendship went to a new level.
So, her party thrilled me for a couple of reasons. Chief among them was my ability to say to another friend (who was invited but didn’t come): “See, it’s not just me! I’m not the only person you know who has this crazy love of Anne!” (this other friend thinks that I’m making my Betsy-Tacy friends up. . .) It has also been years since I’ve watched the movie. And finally, it gave me an excuse to make raspberry cordial again.
I would classify raspberry cordial as one of those iconic literary foods. When you hear the name, well, don’t you just automatically think of Anne? And how often do you hear about raspberry cordial and Anne isn’t referenced somehow? I made the recipe from Kate MacDonald’s cookbook, which means it was a non-alcoholic cordial. Just raspberry cordial is a bit much, so we added some Sprite and man, it was tasty. As was the ice cream! Isn’t the cordial pretty? Please excuse the containers–I did not want a raspberry interior in my car. . .
Watching any movie with friends is a bit different than watching a movie alone. I honestly have no idea how long it’s been since I’ve watched Anne from start to finish. This time around, I really noticed the humor. Montgomery had this sharp, ironic edge to her pen. Of course, Anne’s dramatic flair can get a little tiring, but I’m still amazed at how much dialog was lifted straight from the books.
And though the scene where Matthew died didn’t make me cry, the scene where Anne tells Marilla that she’s staying in Avonlea and giving up college for the time being did make me tear up. Some members of the party will insist that I started crying much earlier in the movie. This is not true–my eyes were tearing up from a combination of allergies and laughter. Not the fact that Marilla finally said that Anne could stay.
But it was so good to watch and laugh and enjoy that movie with friends. And ice cream and raspberry cordial. There are lots of other folks gathering to watch a literary movie tonight as well, a movie that will likely make a few more dollars than Anne ever did. Still, even though we may always be frustrated at what the movies mess up, there’s something magical about watching a decent movie based on a book you love. Reading can be such a solitary experience, but watching a movie doesn’t have to be. I know the standard line for readers is that “a movie is never as good as the book.” My personal attitude is: as long as people won’t be horribly confused if they pick up the book after watching the movie, I’m good. As long as any plot changes still make sense with the character’s personality, I’m good.
So yes, I can live with Anne of Avonlea, but we will not speak of the third Anne movie.
And sometime in the next week, I’ll totally be in a movie theater, bawling my eyes out at the last Harry Potter movie.