Watching some movies set in Georgia, you’d think a screen writer has never visited the South.
By reading only digital editions, I have been missing out on great stories layered deep in the pages of the newspaper. It made me recall all the stories and conversation created between my parents and others because of what they had read.
Sticking together 150 years later
Something the other day took me back to a time, many years ago, when I followed the tight, winding roads of the mountains to present myself at the door of my maternal grandmother’s house.
In the South, having a truck is akin to being free.
It happens all the time. Tink will meet someone new around where we live and, invariably, that person will mention my daddy.
There were several of these coaches who I found admirable, albeit sometimes gruff and rough-spoken. All refused to suffer fools or encourage them. I suppose it isn’t fair to single out one, but Jim Lofton always stood out.
My grandmother had a little, black, homemade pouch that stored carefully folded money. Daily, she tucked it inside her bra. “This oughta be enough to bury me,” she’d say.
Out of the hundreds of columns I have written, that one is, without question, a top 10 favorite. Especially for Southern men. In that essay, I wrote that the sexiest men drive pick-up trucks and carry pocket knives.
Occasionally, sleep will sneak away from me in the middle of the night. I will try not to get my mind going because once it takes off, it will wear me out with all its thinking.
The only thing that really scares me about dying, is thinking of all the good books yet to read.
It was at lunch after a morning revival service last summer that a few of us sat around, munching on Southern casseroles and talking about one of the most memorable mothers any of us had ever known.
Don’t try to outwit a Southern woman when not properly armed for the battle.
Many times not only bloodlines, but stories overlap. It’s an ongoing puzzle of which story pieces fit together.
I love shopping that is easy and requires no effort or gas. It is because of us that bookstores, built from brick and mortar, are disappearing. Especially the small, independent ones.
When I was 6, the boy with hair the color of cotton and eyes tinted sapphire, came to live with us. He was the same age and size as I but more timid and less secure. Depending on the day, we were either best of friends or the worst of enemies.
In all the years I have written this column, I have, unfailingly, dedicated my Easter column to the frills, fluff, and fun of the holiday. Today, though, I write of the true meaning of Easter.
Southerners tend to collect stories. And, we tend to talk to anyone who will talk to us. The latter tends to lead to the first.
One morning I went for a run, boldly planning all that I would write that day.
Life’s little lessons passed down from mothers to daughters.
Wisdom and NASCAR philosophy.
I’m always suspicious when Yankees talk about rednecks because they’re bad to clump all Southerners into that category.
Old, proud men are more worried about pulling their own weight than getting something for nothing.
It is, I believe, a distinct and unique trait of the South the way we carry on long conversations with people we are passing in the loaf bread section of the grocery store or in the checkout line.
I loved those old sports writers. They were rilliant at that their craft, and each was kind to a young, prissy girl thrust into their midst.
My ancestors were taught to shoot first and ask questions later.
For some reason, Southerners, more than any other region, love nicknames. It’s really a show of affection when we care enough to bestow a nickname rather than call a person by his Christian name.
You probably think that this story is about my citified husband from California learning to milk a cow. It is not. This is about how a Southerner makes an introduction, especially when there’s a connection of some kind.
For at least 20 years, maybe 25, Mama planned her home-going to heaven. Not a week – and sometimes not a day – went by when she did not use her impending date with mortality in some way.
The early part of our lives seems to drag. Christmas and birthdays are too slow to come and are the only days that pass too quickly. High school math class is a preview of eternity and a week of being grounded for some teenage infraction feels like six months.
As the new year approaches, I’d like to take a minute and reflect on the lives of three people who impacted me deeply.
There aren’t many things that thrill me as much as getting and enjoying my Christmas tree.
I went barefoot as a girl and still like doing so today.
Many people have crossed the path of my life but only one crossed it from three different directions. Don Light, one of Nashville’s most admired powerbrokers and star makers, was meant to be part of my life. I said this repeatedly because I encountered him through friends in country music, Southern gospel and NASCAR racing.
Sometimes a man, despite his best efforts, doesn’t find his destiny. Try as he might, down through the earnest years of his life, he chases it and can even believe he has it, only to awaken one morning and discover he doesn’t. That what he has is an illusion, a mirage that he tried to turn into reality.
It started accidentally. Some good ideas and memorable moments are like that. They aren’t planned. They’re born, bringing with them an ability to nudge a way naturally into our lives and become a tradition.
There’s nothing like gossip to get the phones rining and get people talking.
RICH: Children are often the best teachers
My people, as I have long said, were raised up on hard times in the Appalachian foothills. I don’t know that I had a grandparent who ever saw the sum of $500 at one time or even held a hundred dollar bill in hand.
It was over Sunday dinner that my sister told me what I did not know. A childhood friend, the red-headed, freckle-faced girl with laughing eyes and the brightest sense of humor possible, was sitting vigil with her husband as death crept close.
My husband is like a relentless teenager. When he wants something, he persists until it’s easier for me to say “yes” just to get him out of my hair.
It was hard not to see the ghosts in the blacken ashes, to hear their whisperings, or to recall the wisdom plied like a fine whiskey upon the ones who would listen and take note.
It often amazes me how many words of kindness and encouragement I receive for the stories I tell. Often, a reader will write, “You don’t know me but I feel that we are friends.”
That is the gift of enough trials – you either break-down or learn to cope. But when you get old enough to be wise enough, you realize that everything works out, if you let it. Many of the things that are breaking our backs today won’t be remembered on down the road.
You may be surprised to learn that people sometimes disagree with me. You may be equally surprised that sometimes I see their point in the disagreement. Sometimes I agree with that disagreement.
Sometimes, I look across our yard and sigh somewhat woefully, “Too much of that stubborn red Georgia clay shines through.” I think, “Oh, one day….”
Hollywood, more often than not, gets it wrong about the South in movies and television. When they do get it right, we Southerners are both amazed and appreciative.
I’ll eat leftovers from the same meal for a week. Doesn’t bother me. As long as it’s in the refrigerator, it’s fine. In fact, I love leftovers.
One of my friends called the other. One of my best friends. There was both urgency and distress in her voice.
A few years back, someone I knew ever so slightly died. Though I didn’t know him well, I knew him to be mean, egoistical, and quite a bully.