According to Webster — or whoever took Webster’s place on the World Wide Web — the word culture means “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.”
The arts — I guess that would be the music we admire and the kinds of shows we like to watch and the kind of pictures and paintings and so forth that we take to.
“Other manifestations of human intellectual achievement” probably means how we talk, how we think, how we dress and what we eat. And I am quite sure that “collectively” means how most of us do it.
For years I have made it my goal to do everything I possibly can to preserve our rapidly disappearing Southern Culture. I’ve written thousands of columns and a dozen books and talked on the radio and travelled across the country, standing up for our rapidly disappearing way of life. Sometimes I feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness and think that Debra Goss Pollard is the only one out there that hears me.
Well, sir — and ma’am — in a couple of weeks I am to do something about it. I am offering for only the second time in recorded history the Darrell Huckaby Institute on Southern Culture. That’s right. For all you folks that ain’t from around here — and those who are — I am going to explain a few things about the great American Southland — all in good fun, of course. Now I am liable to poke a little fun at our northern transplants, but guarantee to poke even more fun at my fellow rednecks, lintheads and other assorted Southern brethren.
We’re gonna talk about clothing — including everything from overalls to galluses to seersucker suits — and everything in between. We’re going to talk about food — grits, barbecue, catfish, lard and every other commodity found in a good old fashioned deep South pantry.
We are going to talk about how folks talk in the South as well as how folks in the frozen North claim we talk. We might even delve into some college football. Nothing will be off limits on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the St. Pius X fellowship hall. We are gonna have fun, y’all. I aim to make you laugh and to make you think. I won’t be by myself, either.
Elvis will be there. You can’t get anymore Southern than Elvis, I can tell you that right now. It was Elvis’s birthday Wednesday. He would have been 79. Can you imagine a 79 year-old Elvis? Be, either, but my friend Ben Mance will do his best to put you to mind of one.
If you like gospel music, we will have some of that, too — with a little country mixed in. My buddy Bruce Walker is going to sing. Bruce looks more like Kenny Rogers than Kenny does, especially after the last few surgeries. Bruce sings as good as Kenny, too. Of course Dennis Fifield will be quick to point out that I think Charles Pickett was as good as Willie Mays, too — but that’s my story and I am sticking to it.
So there will be Southern humor and little history and good music — we might even let you sing along on a few. What else could you ask for on a Thursday night in January?
Food, you say? And drink? OK. We’ll thrown in some Southern food with a little sweet tea and lemonade — and maybe a cash bar. But I warn you — there will be a test, to see how Southern you really are.
Why are we doing all this? I am glad you asked that question. We are doing all of this because there are ladies in our community who have found themselves facing the prospect of single motherhood without too many places to turn. There is a wonderful organization in this community called Phoenix Pass that helps to set those women up in safe and warm and comfortable homes of their own. They help them find jobs and training and child care so that they can re-enter mainstream society as quickly as possible, without having to depend on government assistance.
I believe wholeheartedly in what Phoenix Pass is doing. I would believe in it even if Marcie Howington wasn’t the director. But she is and I love her. I have known her since before she was born and helped raise her. She is one of my heroes, so I came up with this plan to help her raise funds so she and her organization can be of more help to more deserving people.
Here is what you can do for me. You can call 770-760-1020 and buy your tickets. They are $25 apiece and every dime goes to do the work of Phoenix Pass. Every dime. Why not spring for a table and take your friends. You can also purchase by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
But don’t just buy the tickets. Be sure to come on out, because we are going to have bookoodles of fun.
Come on y’all. Do me a solid. Surely I’ve given you 25 bucks worth of enjoyment over the past 17 years.
See you on Jan. 30. We’re gonna throw down, y’all.
Darrell Huckaby is an author in Rockdale County. Email him at darrellhuckaby.net.