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In this corner of the "Old Dominion," as with many other places, people in recent years have taken to building houses on an individual scale that is often impossible to understand. Frequently this takes the form of "mini-mansions," or large, expensively outfitted abodes occupying every available foot of tiny lots. Worse, perhaps, and the edifices that in former times were known only as backgrounds for Agatha Christie novels or settings for movies. These are "affectionately" spoken of by "unwashed" observers (meaning folk not themselves privileged to live in such splendor) as signs the occupants have "built a monument to themselves."

Not long ago I was driving past one such property with my sweetie, when I happened to remark that it looked something like "Tara." You need to recall "Gone With the Wind" to appreciate the point, but as a gentle reminder, Tara was the O'Hara family plantation.

Her response was crisp and to the point:

"Nope, your wrong: Tara wasn't that big ..."

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Another local individual, having grown fabulously wealthy, was set out to retire and, for the purpose, had had built a huge "monument to himself." Proudly, he displayed this house and all its glories to a party of old friends.

At last they arrived at the dining room, a chamber so large that from one end, the other end appeared a hazy blue with distance.

The owner pointed to the lovely mahogany table that ran the full length of the room and began,

"And in this one room, we can entertain, at one time, as many as a hundred and twenty people ... heaven forbid."

----------------A Final Thought ...

"My family pride is something inconceivable. I canít help it. I was born sneering."

- W. S. Gilbert (1836Ė1911), English librettist: Words spoken by "Pooh-Bah," in The Mikado, act 1