Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I’ve been asked “Where IS Towandaland, exactly?” Since it’s not of my own creation, I’ll just set my own marker.

It’s that exact spot in the beat-up blacktopped parking lot of Piggly Wiggly where Evelyn Couch repeatedly rammed her old brown Ford land-yacht into the bright red VW whose impudent young blonde driver and her equally-sassy, smug friend had stolen her parking spot and flipped, "Face it, Lady---this is what happens when you're younger and faster!" back over their jaunty shoulders as they walked away laughing.

It's where the phrase "This is what happens when you're older and have more insurance," was born, the place on the map in which anyone, male or female, young or old, decides ENOUGH.

It’s where you take a stand and actually STAND there and stand UP for something, to right it or redress it or comfort or even AVENGE if the occasion merits.

It’s the place in all of us that we’d like to live IN and live UP TO, where we’re the best of ourselves and the person we’d like to be remembered as. It’s the place that we know we’re in when we dream of flying.

It’s that scene in The Magnificent Seven when the townsfolk all emerged with weapons and a firm resolve to take back their own---the moment in Dances With Wolves that the peaceful villagers rose up and took on those cruel marauders---the rally in Revenge of the Nerds when everyone rose from the bleachers and came down front to gather around Louis and Gilbert and Booger, to acknowledge that no matter who we are, we MATTER.

It's a place where you can just BE, and that's OK, and you can be more than yourself, as well. And words heard often are, "Nope. Not here. Not on MY watch."

Towandaland has lots of citizens---a brave woman on a Sixties bus, a pilot who wrestles an enormous plane to a safe landing in an icy river, a generation of young people who stand up and call out their friends and classmates for bullying, and their own families for their bigotry and ignorance.

I like to think that a group of brave passengers on a flight called Ninety-Three could know the surge of Rightness and Courage and Honor they brought to their own place on the map, as they stood to be counted.

Towanda was some sort of mythical avenging goddess, Hero of Idgie Threadgoode and others in Fried Green Tomatoes, and we Southern Girls all know who she is. And when the moment comes to stand UP or stand UP FOR or stand up and be counted---there will be a lot of them, and we'll know when they are.  
Seldom is one of us a Tom Joad, or an Atticus Finch, or a Rosa Parks,
we'll whisper or say or shout "TOWANDA!" as we do our part to do the right thing.  

Towandaland---you have to find it for yourself, and it’s all in the outlook. It's situated somewhere between Plumb Nigh and Mought Near, and you can always walk in the soft Summer rain.


Chronica Domus said...

You have such a wonderful writing style, racheld, and manage to transport your reader into your colorful world, or in this case to Towandaland, with vividly delightful imagery. Always such a treat to drop by and read about your adventures. Utterly delightful!

Chesapeake said...

Have the bumper sticker, my friend!

racheld said...

Oh, Chronica, Darlin'! ( I do feel that we're practically on a first-name basis)

What a lovely thing to say! How very kind, to visit and to compliment---how very much this means to me. What kind words, and you have a sincere welcome here any time at all. My adventures of late have been sparse of interest, I fear, with all the house needs to see to in my often desultory fashion, bringing the old Southern phrases, "A lick and a promise," and "Swept under the rug" and "hit or miss" to mind. Those pale, however, by what HAS BEEN in the past few months, for we've come FAR FAR from "If you could see my HOUSE, you wouldn't eat my COOKIN'."

Thank you from my heart for the lovely comment, this and all the others you've left on the tray in the foyer. And i, so lax in my attentions to important things this past half-year, have not met my own obligations to reply.

Your own adventures are so dashing---a trip to the market becomes a fielding-foray of wonderful things, and dinner an EVENT. Thank you for opening your bright, colourful world, and for inviting me along.


racheld said...


Say on, Sister-Girl! We MISSED your visit this Summer, and are SAVING UP reams and stories for NEXT YEAR!


elaine said...

I think I understand what you are trying to say here and it makes good reading. I love the movie Fried Green Tomatoes - the main character is a kind of hero in her own way isn't she. I hope I haven't missed the point altogether!

bj said...

OMGosh....what an amazing post, sister friend. So great that I would LOVE to use a bit of your fabulous words on MY blog and direct my friends over to read every word of your post.
Why, I found myself hunting for my little American flag...wanting to march outside in the rain we are having today and blow a bugle....
May I use part of your post..??

Jacqueline said...

One of my favorite movie quotes - I thought I was going to split laughing when she started ramming their cars! Let's all stand up together!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

You've brought a smile to my face today with your hilarious storytelling !
Thank you for your kind sentiments, they were greatly appreciated.

Beverly said...

Rachel, I am at this very moment sitting here with a big ole knowing smile on my face. Oh, that we have all thought those words over and over again. Towanda forever!!!

I've missed you, and I think of you every single day. We are trying to keep smiling as we muddle our way through this "land of dementia" that my mother lives in. Not easy.

As a bright side, I said "Towanda" as I decided to redecorate our guest room. It was major in the pink rose style of decorating that my mother loved. I knew that my head was close to exploding if I had to look at it much longer. We are up to our elbows in projects, and I can say that I am loving the progress. I hope to finish before or around Thanksgiving. Mostly, I am waiting for ordered items to be delivered. I promise to share photos when I finish.

Sending love and hugs from me to you.♥♥♥

Jeanne said...

Finally, I am rested enough to write a comment to my darling friend whom I too have missed. We arrived home from France and turned right around a day later and drove to Florida for a football game. It was Florida vs Georgia in Jacksonville where our daughter lives. Our first football game this Fall. We have won 7 out of 8 games and we are so happy this game was a win. We are staying with our daughter for a week so we can see this next game and then home by Sun. night. We will also see our 4 grands as the game next week will be in Gainesville at their home field.

We have struggled to recover from jet lag and have been exhausted. I slept the day away so far except for posting Blue Monday and I finally feel energetic. If we were in France right now it would be about 10:00pm. Bedtime. Yikes. I started to visit you last night and fell asleep with my computer in my lap. I will say France was worth it all.

I have scrolled down and read a few of your posts and enjoyed them so much. I love your list of people you would like on your side and the greens bow on your pink MM clogs was a laugh out loud for me. Your perfect 'show your kitchen day' will come and it will be all that more exciting to us all who are pestering you for photos. Big smile here. PINK salt??? That made me chuckle.

I think the older we get we are leaning more towards our Towandaland. I am sassier than I used to be and speak up more. Just ask my hubby. HA! Actually, I did have a day like that years ago when someone tried to steal my parking space after I rode around for an hour looking for a place to park. It was quite a moment and I won. However, it left me drained for the rest of the day. I am really not a fighter. HA!

I love you and have missed you and I am very happy to be in charge of my computer again. It sure was lonely without it in France. I did read 4 books even though we ran the roads everyday. My sister went to bed at 8:00pm every night. I read!!! and loved having the time. Guess this should have been an email. Oh Towanda!!!
Jeanne xo

bj said...

Good morning, dear one...thanks for stopping by...and the post I spoke of is due to be published tonight....:)

NanaDiana said...

What a great post! Good ol' bj sent me over here. I am your newest follower and will put you on my sidebar so I don't miss a post. xo Diana
ps. I grew up right next door to a little town called Towanda in PA. We always laughed at TOWANDA in that movie.

Nancy Chan said...

Hello Rachel, I hopped over from BJ's blog. Now I am your newest, newest follower! There are times I too feel like ramming into someone's car i.e. if I am driving an old junk...Lol!

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

I am a huge huge huge fan of the movie Friend Green Tomatoes - own a copy and watch it every few months. And I shout out TOWANDA more than a few times rather loudly, though I have never had the nerve to do any damage to anyone's auto, haha.

Great post - great thoughts on those strong people. It is an inspiration to stand up and be heard, for SURE.

Well done post. : - ) bj sent me. ♥

Linda @ A La Carte said...

bj sent me to visit and i've decided to stay awhile! Love your writing and your style and you make me smile and laugh out loud. I'm a Grandma also and a big reader and I live in the South. Can't wait to read more of your past posts!

Susie said...

BJ, sent me to visit and I am so glad she did. Yes, it is good to stand up for right. You'll be on my favorites' list. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

bj said...

G'morning...so glad to see that some of my friends love you and your blog as much as I do. :)
Now, I'm off to visit them and hug their necks for coming by to see you. xo

Tessa~ Here there be musing said...

"BJ" sent me over!

Thank you "BJ"!

Great post!!!!


Junkchiccottage said...

I came over from BJ's and love this. You go girl!

Kim S. said...

Now I'm verklempt! Oh, my dear friend. My favoritist writer. My hero and mother/sister girl. How you do use our language. I'm slayed.