Posts Tagged ‘old south’

A Rebel Guvnah?

February 4, 2019

This clueless news-viewer (me) came across an ole photo that has recently been tossed online in the midst of the current political maelstrom that is sucking our country down into depraved politics and perilous perdition.

RebelGuvna

And when I saw the infamous image, I wondered . . . what’s the big fuss all about?

Appears to me the Guvnah is herein advocating Reconstructive Reconciliation between his honkified racist constituents and their radical activist black cousins who are living across the river or across the tracks or across the Great Political Divide that has inflicted exceptional divisiveness among our entertainment-starved net-trolling denizens of  what was formerly Democrat Dixie, but is now Republican Red Solid South.

Maybe all citizens in this here land of the free and home of the brave would do well to imbibe a beer or two with their color-counterparts in the interests of reconstructive reconciliation.

. . .specially down here in the land of cotton where ole times here are not forgotten, or at least we thought they were forgotten until some Republican hack with nothin’ better to do than make trouble by trolling what we thought were the long-dead confederate swamps around the beltway and thereby dragged up this old bombshell and thought he’d reactivate it for the sake of blowin’ to smithereens the apparently escalating Democrat digits that have taken the public spotlight since our last election.

My humble opinion is that our politicians would do better to focus on governance–things like roundin’ up citizens to fix the potholes or repairing the infamous infrastructure or maybe enabling edumacation for the folks who are falling behind the 21st-century job-skills curve, or  even make a move toward balancing the budget for maybe just ONE year instead of piling another big whoppin’ .gov debt on top of the already oversized 21-trillion$ deficit, etc.

Republicans and Democrats oughta work some of these problems out over a friendly libation instead of draggin’ up more mud  from the swamps around Washin’ton and slingin’ it every whichaways.

And if they can’t get together and toast to togetherness, I think it’s time for Washington to get a good, thorough washin’, so’s they can be worthy of the nomenclature.

Send in the scrubs instead of the clowns.

 

Glass half-Full

That Southern thang and BB King

May 17, 2015

Oh but when I was growin up

in Jackson

Nigras was somethin different then.

Ole fellas black as coal said Mistuh and Miz

but they were humble like the kind of person

God would favor, if

He was here, which I don’t think he is here but maybe

he was at one time.

Whereas

those ole white fellas, really more pink than

white, or even red-faced, beneath them bald heads and glasses

with black frames, walkin ’round like

they own the place,

which I guess they did, yeah they did down there in

Miss’ippi at that time

but they a-feared, like deer in the headlights, when President

Kennedy

or maybe it was Johnson sent troops down hea’h

to teach Wallace a thing or two ’bout

integration,

and they said the whole damn thang go back to the War and

all that conflummucks when Sherman march to the sea

through Giawga

and such n such an’ so forth.

But what I remember was that delta, flat as

the day is long, and hot as blue blazes and

them shotgun shacks where the Nigras lived,

so different and dilapidated compared to, you know,

where us white folk lived.

Latah on I heard ’bout Medgar Evers and

the night he got shot in his own front yard

in Jackson cuz

he be tryin de git them Nigras registered

to vote, and his last spoken words were at

New Jerusalem Baptist Church,

like Moses or Jesus.

But hell, I was just a snotty-nose white kid out

on the edge of town.

I mean I had no clue ’bout what be goin’ on,

what groundswell of civil rights was buildin up and then

all them smart college kids from up Nawth come down

in ’63 or maybe it was ’64. But three of ’em never

got back home again,

leastwise not alive.

Now I say three, mighta been more.

Damn shame.

Meanwhile this man BB King

was doin his bluesy thang

out there in that hot delta, maybe sittin’ on

a bale of cotton or sump’n like dat.

But thinkin’ back on it now– he musta gone to Memphis

or maybe even Chicago by then.

And I say I say yesterday I heard him on the radio talkin’

to Terri,

even though he died two days ago, an’ he shonuf was a

well spoken Negro,

yes he was,

helluva lot better human specimen than Ross Barnett, that ole fart.

Now Ole BB could shonuf now sing de blues

‘nuf to make a white man cry,

and so I guess if somethin’ like BB King could come outa

the great state uh Miss’ippi, this southern thang

can’t be all bad,

what all happened then

back in the day.

But its all gone now,

witherin’ like a magnolia blossom

on the ground.

Still, yet what a sound

when ole BB King came around,

nuf to make a white man cry,

in the sweet by and bye.

No pain, no gain,

that’s what I say.

 

Glass half-Full

The help in Jackson, 1963

August 14, 2011

We left Jackson, Mississippi in 1963, and went back to Louisiana. Maybe it was 1962. Mama and daddy moved me, my two sisters and my brother to Shreveport, where daddy would be starting his business. But after about six months or so, they decided we should go back to the place where we had all started out this life, Baton Rouge. I had been born there in 1951, at Our Lady of the Lake hospital. The reason I remember we moved back to Baton Rouge in ’63 is that I remember Sister Georgia, the principal of our Catholic junior high school coming in one afternoon to tell us that President Kennedy had been shot, and I remember riding my bicycle home in the rain that day. It was just a few months into my seventh grade, which had been my first school year in Baton Rouge, when Kennedy got shot in Dallas.

Mama and daddy had deep roots in Baton Rouge. For instance, my granpa on mama’s side had been assistant Sec. of State under four Louisiana governors, including Huey Long. My other granpa had come out of the piney woods of Mississippi to Baton Rouge to work at the Esso refinery, which was at that time the third largest oil refinery in the world, or so my daddy used to say. My daddy had married up, if you know what I mean, insofar as he found a Baton Rouge society girl, my soon-to-be mama, and convinced her to marry him, even though he was a Scots-Irish redneck from out in the mossy sticks somewhere out in the parish. Mama and her people were from that ole French strain  from across the River, they said Parisian, but I think mostly coonass.

When we got to back Louisiana, we were on penny-pinchin’  times, with dad trying to get a forestry-supply business started. We didn’t have a maid. But we had had one back in Jackson. Her name was Aleen.

But I’m here today to tell you about the city of  Jackson, since my childhood memories of the place have been freshly awakened by seeing The Help  movie just about an hour ago, this Sunday afternoon, August 14, 2011. I don’t usually go to movies in the daytime, but I made an exception this time since I had heard the story took place in Jackson at about  the same time that I was  growing up there, or about the time that we left there.  We moved back to Louisiana just a few months, I suppose, before Medger Evers was shot in Jackson in ’63.

We  had lived in Jackson for about nine years. Mama and daddy had moved there in 1953, or maybe it was ’54. I don’t really know which, since I was only about three years old at the time, and mama and daddy, God rest their souls, are no longer on this earth to confirm the date. It don’t matter anyway.

Mama, having been raised in Baton Rouge, had to have a maid, you know,  when she and daddy were starting a new household in Jackson, even though we lived in a rather small GI-bill house out in the suburbs of Jackson. Our maid’s name was Aleen.

Our phone number was EMerson 6-6852. Mama shopped at Jitney Jungle, where she would buy, I guess, all the foodthat she and Aleen would cook for our dinners and suppers, and for barbecues in the backyard, and for goodies that the ladies would snack on while mama was hosting bridge club.

One of my earliest memories was mama putting us kids in the car on a regular basis to take Aleen back to her house at the end of a working day. Aleen’s house was so different from our home; it was a shotgun shack on a dusty road out by the lake levee somewhere; it looked a lot like those small houses that Abilene and Minny lived in in that movie, The Help.

Now that I’ve seen the movie,  I understand a lot more about what was going on on the other side of Jackson’s tracks, in the area where Aleen and her people lived, when I was a clueless white kid in Jackson in the early 1960s. Thank you, Kathryn Stockett and Tate Taylor, for expanding my horizons. The amazing story you told has been helpful to me.

Glass half-Full

Professuh Alan dun struck out de niggers

January 6, 2011

Alan Gribben he dun wrote a nutter version uh ole Huck Finn where he struck the niggers and put slaves whar dey used to be. Fer ‘zample, dis meet’n tween Huck and Jim when dey meet by accident on a island in de Rivuh cuz dey bofs be hightailin’ it. Jim be tellin’ Huck ’bout how he got away:

” ‘Well, you see, it ‘uz dis way. Ole Missus–dat’s Miss Watson–she pecks on me all de time, en treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn’ sell me down to Orleans. But I noticed day wuz a nigger (heah’s whea Massuh Alan dun stuck in de slave ‘stead uv de nigger, and he dun it, dey tells me, two hund’d times in Massuh Twain’s book) trader roun’ de place considable, lately, en I begin to git oneasy. Well, one night I creeps to de do’ pooty late, en de do ‘warn’t quite shet, en I hear ole missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she didn’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ‘uz sich a big stack o’ money she couldn’resis’. De widder she try to git her to say she wouldn’ do it, but I never waited to hear de res’. I lit out mighty quick, I tell you…’ “

So you may wan’ git a copy o’ dis new version,  sanitized like, and p’liticly correct an’ awl, an’ reads it fo yo’self.

Den, you might could pick up from Amazon a nutter new novel ’bout life up and down de Missip– little bit updated but not too much. Like, where Robby, microbiologist grad student, he be drivin’, in chapter 2, ‘long de Rivuh road, near de place in Luzianna where Huck and Jim ended up. Fer ‘zample:

This bend on the river road always kindled Robby’s imagination. The lonely antebellum columns, man-formed as they were and so stakly incongruent in the overgrowing wildness, remained as silent, stubborn monoliths, superfluous sentries guarding the lost opulence of a plantation culture that had turned to ashes generations ago. Honeysuckle, ivy and scrubby saplings now ruled the spot from whence Colonel Theseus had commanded his legion of slaves and later sharecroppers.  Surrounding the old mansion’s skeletal array were hundreds of acres: dark, delta loam fermenting microbial memory of black feet whose calloused heels and toes traversed row upon thousandth row of King Cotton’s scurrilous servitude.

We sho’nuff be glad dem dark days is over!

Glass Chimera