I just read a story that was unpublished, but should have been published.
It was titled: “Southerners In A Big Bad World.” The story had nothing to do with views of life, race, religion or politics. It simply told me about who we are as Southerners and that certain people are intrigued about us; that people really are interested in the South – how we are and the way we talk and what we do and some wonder what we eat. The story asked: “Who are you people and what is the place you live in and why is it like it is?”
I wonder if these folks come from a city that I don’t know. I’ve been to a few different cities that I’m intrigued with too, but I wouldn’t wanna live there. I like to visit but I sure am happy when I get back to Lafayette County and Oxford, the loving homes I know.
It’s where I recognize people and even say hello to a stranger. I love riding down an old backroad, waving my hand hello while holding a cigarette in greeting to any cars or trucks that I meet. They graciously say ‘hey’ back. We may not know each other, but that’s just how we were raised. That’s what my Daddy did, and my Mama did, and my brother when he got a license to drive us to school. I always wave.
I think the story I read meant to say the South is kinder here than the rest of the world. I know the South has had its problems that I won’t mention in this story, but most of its citizens have not left. And that tells me our South is better than whatever that others wonder about us. It’s hard to explain how it is down here. The story said it could be too hot, has too many snakes or the backroads can carry us away. Dogs were mentioned too, but the story said everything can’t be perfect in the South or we wouldn’t have the blues…
I love a Friday night in Mississippi when the band is playing and young men are on a football field, being braver by the blows of a whistle. I love a river bank that is steep where a tree line casts a shade on my son and myself, and the water is muddy with a pole sticking out with its fishing line tight to the bottom of the unknown. Mosquitoes and lightning bugs dance over a pasture where cattle graze under a moon light and I’m at peace. The dogs sleep on a porch, only waking to bark if someone drives up into your drive way. We shoot at squirrels, deer and turkey and rabbits are spared if they can skip away quickly enough.
That’s the South I know. And I can say more…
But this story was unpublished. I wished it wasn’t. I wish people had a better view of us. I wish they knew my view. As my Dad said, “It’s simple and it’s complicated.” But what do I know? I’m unpublished too.
Shane Brown is a HottyToddy.com contributor and the son of noted author Larry Brown. Shane is an Oxford native with Yocona and Tula roots. Shane is a graduate of Mississippi State University. He has two children — Maddux, age 9, and Rilee, age 7 — and makes his home at “A Place Called Tula.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright Shane Brown, 2015.