Monday, March 13, 2006

Old South, Forgotten World??

I was raised in the South! I'm proud to be a southern boy.

It wasn't the South of "Gone with the Wind", but the south of the 1950's and 60's. We were farmers. We live the farmers life. Up before dawn, milk the cows, feed the calves. Then back to the house for a country breakfast. Biscuits, country ham, red eye gravy, eggs cooked in the ham grease. Always a favorite. Sometimes biscuits with honey from our own hives. Sometimes for us kids, oatmeal or cream of wheat. (You can't eat like a king every day on a farmers pay).

The south I was raised in was changing with the times. It was a time of civil rights marches. Of desegration. Of rebellion of youth in ways not seen before. The world was shrinking before our eyes and it was not always pretty. Kruschevf pounded his shoe in the U.N. and promised to hang us with our own rope. We practiced covering our heads under the desks at school. Made about as much sense as anything else the government did.

Planes went faster and higher. Anything was possible. If you could conceive it you could acheive it. Television started showing things in color. Even the color of blood in far off battlefields.

I watched my father and grandfather. Some things didn't change. A man's good name meant more than gold or silver. I was very proud of my heritage and name. I had no idea of genealogy at that time, but was sure that I wanted people to respect my name as they did my grandfathers.

I thought that people would always live up to the things they promised to do. I was protected and isolated from people who had no respect, no vision of what they were looking for or to become. I heard of poor white trash but had little knowledge of what that meant other than the KKK neighbor we had who let his bull break thru our fence. It seemed unmanly for people to hide their activities behind sheets in secrecy and the dark of night.

So it is hard for me to realise that people will lie to you for their personal gain. They will look you right in the eye, shake your hand and know in their heart that none of what they say to you is anything near what they'll really do.

I had a friend named Bobby (I thought). Younger than I, he claimed that he wanted to change his life. He came from poverty and the inner city. Abuse and addiction were his suckling teat. Gangs were his family.

He claimed he wanted more. I offered my hand, my advice, my counsel. Even my money.

Now I know. He wanted more from me.

These things I can forget. Harder will be forgetting that he was too much of a coward to admit that to me.

Tangles and tendrils wind their way around my soul. They are hard to unravel, impossible to avoid. Slowly I try to pull them away and move forward.

1 comment:

Pablo said...

Sounds idyllic, and a hell of a lot better than the way things are now.