One day this superb feline barometer substitute had his head stuck in a salmon can and rampaged through the kitchen breaking dishes, etc. I could relate to this so well. I never will forget over 15 years ago returning home from work to find my Smokie panting so hard I thought she'd die or pass out--she had gotten the handle of an empty plastic grocery bag round her neck and panicked, running and running to get away from it, when, of course, it was right there, still attached, rattling and scaring her even more so that she increased her speed...it was a vicious cycle with no respite until she allowed me to remove it, but I can only imagine she might have killed herself if I'd not arrived in time. Lesson learned, all plastic bags have been stowed away in a cabinet from then on.
Ah, but life can change drastically...
When England declares war on Germany, Mary Vance states:
It was the depiction of Walter and Rilla's relationship that truly stood out for me in this last installment of the Green Gables series:
It was one of the evenings Rilla was to treasure in remembrance all her life--the first one on which Walter had ever talked to her as if she were a woman and not a child. They comforted and strengthened each other. Walter felt, for the time being at least, that it was not such a despicable thing after all to dread the horror of war; and Rilla was glad to be made the confidante of his struggles--to sympathize with and encourage him. She was of importance to somebody. (48)
Isn't it true? We all need to feel that way--as if we are needed and wanted by somebody... This relationship made me truly miss having had siblings--though I realize not all siblings are this close, at least there might have been a chance for that type of relationship. Though Rilla-my-Rilla soon becomes indispensable to another...
Walter bemoans the idea that he "should have been a girl" so others wouldn't expect him to enlist. Though the females helped as they could, especially by sending their loved ones off to fight:
Quite the shock to Anne, I'm sure! It was fascinating to watch Rilla develop as she cared for little Jims. Initially she stated, "If I can't love you I mean to be proud of you." But eventually...well...you can imagine. :)
As with all the Green Gables books there are many subplots and characters. Jem's Dog Monday is quite the tear-jerker, as he waits and waits for return of his buddy, never leaving the train station and inspecting all arrivals, searching for his Jem. (This was particularly fascinating as poor Jem initially had such a challenge in finding a dog he could truly bond with as a youngster.) Mary Vance has a beau, as does Rilla, though both enlist. Some volunteers return and some don't. However, the war perhaps helped some to put certain aspects of life into a larger perspective:
"I used to hate Methodists," said Miss Cornelia calmly,..."but I don't hate them now. There is no sense in hating Methodists when there is a Kaiser or a Hindenburg in the world." (173)
So if there can be one good thing to come of war, perhaps it is to accept others, regardless of our personal preferences or opinions, we are all just humans after all, with many more commonalities than differences.
Being in the middle of a Gone With the Wind read-along, I was reminded of Ashley Wilkes and his own feelings about war and fighting. Walter does become a published poet as he desired, though perhaps not in a way he might have foreseen.