Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Southern storytellers



The joys of this Southern life, we polish like old silver. We are good at stories. We hoard them, like an old woman in a room full of boxes, but now and then we pull out our best, and spread them out like dinner on the ground. ~Rick Bragg in My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South.

Rick Bragg paints a down home picture with a voice as smooth and warm as butter dripping out of a biscuit. That is when reading his written words, but when listening to his audio version, wow it is like y'all are sitting side by side on the porch in a hot summer breeze sipping sweet iced tea.

I recently discovered Mr. Bragg and his stories and have been smiling ever since. He tells about small town Alabama and other parts of the South. He defines piddlin' and loaferin' in case you don't know, and he talks about Alabama football. A lot. Roll Tide.

I also stumbled upon another Southern storyteller in the last few weeks, Sean Dietrich, On his website/blog, Sean of the South, he tells stories that are short and sweet and powerful. You can sign up to get a story in your email box every morning, or buy one of his books overflowing with Southern goodness, just enough for a quick morning e-mail at work or a long setting spell on the porch. And they get you right here (hand over heart). Every time. And they make you smile. Every time.

Sometimes grandpa Buddy will do that, pull a story out of his fading memory and tell it to the kids and grandkids, they sit around and watch him in awe, wondering why they haven't heard that one before. Like the other day when he told the one about the ashcan and the hole in the living room carpet, and the one about building a boat, and the one about building a dune buggy. He even told Madison and her boyfriend the one about jumping out off the second story balcony because, well he was where he shouldn't a been, because of a girl (before my time). So many stories.

Southerners will never run out of stories, unlike the Yankees, because, well like Mr. Bragg says:
I wonder if, north of here, they might even run out of stories someday. It may seem silly, but it is cold up there, too cold to mosey, to piddle, to loafer, and summer only lasts a week and a half. The people spit the words out so fast when they talk, like they are trying to discard them somehow, banish them, rather than relish the sound and the story. We will not run out of them here. We talk like we are tasting something. ~Rick Bragg

1 comment:

Gypsy Quilter said...

Well actually, it does get hot in the north and humid. Although, not quite as humid as the south. The south is the epitome of humid. Unless of course you live below the equator. And yes, Yankees do tell stories. But they do it over the phone, while loading the dishwasher, cooking dinner, starting the laundry, baking bread, and making the bed . . . all at the same time. Yankees work at a faster pace so they have to talk at a faster pace. There's little time for porch sitting because after all, there's a steel mill, factory, or transportation system to run. Which is, as you know, why they won the war.