Last night I watched a 1965 movie titled Shenandoah staring Jimmy Stewart, Patrick Wayne (John Wayne’s son) and a few other well known actors from that time. Jimmy Stewart plays Charlie Anderson, a man who owns a 500 acre ranch in the heart of the Shenandoah valley and works it with his six sons and one daughter and, this is key, without any slaves. The film is a sad one and revolves around Charlie’s attempts to keep his family safe from the civil war in which he wants no part. Needless to say people die and tears are shed, both on screen and in front of it.
One of the most interesting parts comes at the very beginning of the movie. When Anderson’s wife died, she was very christian while he was not, her final wish was that he raise their children to be good christians. Thus, this is their dinner prayer:
Charlie Anderson: “Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvest it. We cook the harvest. It wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be eating it if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the food we’re about to eat, amen.”
I was rolling and then when I stopped laughing I sat and wondered how many people actually thought that way in the past and yet did not say such due to fear of censure.
Another good scene involves Lt. Sam a Confederate officer asking Anderson for his daughter’s hand in marriage:
Charlie Anderson: “Do you like her?”
Lt. Sam: “Well, I just said I…”
Charlie Anderson: “No, no. You just said you loved her. There’s some difference between lovin’ and likin’. When I married Jennie’s mother, I-I didn’t love her – I liked her… I liked her a lot. I liked Martha for at least three years after we were married and then one day it just dawned on me I loved her. I still do… still do. You see, Sam, when you love a woman without likin’ her, the night can be long and cold, and contempt comes up with the sun.”
– Peace and Long Life