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"The True Story of Rhett and Scarlett"
by Tom Goodman
August 1 , 2007

Most of us have seen Gone with the Wind.  Some of us have read the book.  Did you know the novel was based on real people?

In real life, Scarlett wasn't an O'Hara, though.  Her real name was Emelyn Louise Hannon.  And Rhett wasn't a Butler.  His real name was Rhett Turnipseed.

I guess you can see why his name was changed -- uh, with all due respect to any Turnipseeds who may be reading this!

Rhett and Emelyn's lives were similar to Rhett and Scarlett's, right down to Rhett walking out on his true love to join the Confederate army.  That's the way the book ends.

But that's not the way things ended for the real couple.  The Turnipseed family of South Carolina has kept the history of their famous Rhett.

After the Civil War, Rhett became a drifter and a gambler.  But on Easter 1871, Rhett attended a revival meeting in Nashville.  There he surrendered to Jesus and, soon after, he enrolled in divinity school and became a pastor.

Did Rhett and Scarlett ever cross paths again?  Yes.

Rhett was worried about a young woman of his church.  He even traveled to St. Louis, where he found her working in a house of prostitution in St. Louis.  However, he was told that the madam of the house had no intention of letter her go.

And who was the madam?  None other than Scarlett -- I mean, Emelyn.

Reverend Rhett challenged Madam Scarlett to a game of poker.  If he won, the girl he came to fetch would be free to leave.  The reformed gambler drew on his old poker skills and won with a royal straight flush.

The story has an even happier ending.  The young girl married well and became the matriarch of a fine Southern family.  And Scarlett?  She left prostitution, joined a church, and opened an orphanage for Cherokee children.  She died in 1903, and her grave is marked to this day.

I'm sure you know there's a fictional sequel to Gone with the Wind, but give me this sequel for my money!  A story about how God changes lives will always thrill me!

See you Sunday as we continue through the Gospel of Matthew.  Join our 9:30am "Bold Blend" service or the 10:45am "Smooth Blend" service, or listen online Monday (iTunes; website).


Note:  When a story sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  I've checked out this story with and and through a Google search.  Though there's some skepticism on one bulletin board, no one has ruled it out.  Wesley Pruden has written about Rhett and Emelyn several times across his writing career.  Here is a recent post on the subject.

A Common Ground Tale.  Read about the weekend getaway that one Common Ground group planned together here.

One Combined Service on Sunday, August 26.  Enjoy breakfast together at 9:30am followed by the musical presentation, "Love Will Be Our Home" at 10:30am.  Read more in Gene's article.

Bat Watching with my sister, bat biologist Meg Goodman, August 9, 8:15pm.  More here.

Softball, Anyone?  Get more information here.

Holy Land Trip.  We're going to the Holy Land March 2008.  If you missed our first meeting, don't miss the next one: August 12, 7pm, at the Lawhon's house.  More information here.  Deadline for first deposit is in September!

Links to Your World.  (From my weblog, "Get Anchored")

Since our series on the Sermon on the Mount is over, I thought you might want to see it in comic book format.

"Dying on a cross for the sins of the world -- that is so sick!"

I liked Christianity Today's "Blessed Ned of Springfield," about The Simpson's Ned Flanders.

Learn your United States geography with this Tetris game. (HT: Evangelical Outpost)

See 16 more informative and quirky posts at my "Links to Your World" feature here.

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