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Southern Raisin': You got to live somewhere

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Have you ever noticed in our wonderful South when you meet someone for the first time invariably they question, “Where you from?”  Of course, when you try to talk to someone that talks through their nose, you know right away they ain’t from around here.  Could it be these foreign folks from up North gurgle it out off the top of their noggin?  It really don’t take long to mumble, but us Southern rednecks are proud folks.  

Neighbor, think about it, because when we talk, we make sure they understand.  Our communication starts from the soles and goes straight through our entire body.  Could that be why we are accused of talking so slow and the Northerners can’t understand us?  That is fine.  Without a doubt, us rednecks do not, I say do not, have any problem whatsoever understanding one another.

When someone spouts off, “I am from Gilt Edge or Silerton” right away, one realizes these are good ole Southern rednecks.  If an individual from a foreign country, such as New York, New Jersey, New Rhode Island or New ‘Bawstun’, inquires, “Where is that?”  The answer is “o’vere.”  Possibly one may be asked in some high tech language, “in close proximity to what varying locale?”  Deciphered, it means, “What’s it close to?” ... “Well, it’s close to everything.” ...   “However, you may not be able to get there from here, ’specially, if’n you ain’t from around here!”  

Further, I have been asked, “Is Rosemark really on the map?”  My intellectual answer is, “I don’t know for sure, naww suhhh, probably not.  However, we usually take a sweet gum limb and draw up the directions in some dirt at the end of a cotton row if some folks really want to come over and pay us a visit.”    

Everybody needs a place and it took a lot of hard work, planning, looking, studying on it to finally come up with a place.  Think back to what your folks went through to locate a homestead.   Decades ago it was not easy to point it out and delve upon a little ground.     

Friends, didja’ ever stop and wonder why you grew up where you did?  Oh well, it just happened.  Naww suhh, things happen for a reason.  A great Southern saying is, “What goes around, comes around.”  Think about it, as that’s how we got to Rosemark.  

Daddy had been working at the Powder Plant west of Millington and was boarding with Mr. “Ches” and Miss “Kitty” Parkinson in the metropolis of downtown Rosemark.  Probably all youngsters have never heard of room and board.  In most cases the texture of this negotiation was the owners of the property would rent a small room, usually by the month, which included a bed, access to a bath and normally one meal a day, probably supper.      

Beloved, some of my dear senior citizens can relay some different versions of room and board.  Why is this important when today this is a relic of the past?  Simple to me.  There was such a definitive struggle for “pore ole”country folks just trying to make ends meet.  

Some modern geniuses shake their head and comment, “Well, I wouldn’t do that.”  Maybe not, but probably you would have starved to death and what would you do with the chill’un?  They just don’t get it, but our forefathers were tougher than a double hickory knot.

How does this tie the “bobber” to the string wrapped around the fishing pole?  Funny how time slides along!  Seems like the house where daddy had earlier boarded happened to be near the house purchased later.  

You never know where you gonna’ end up ... GLORY!

Griffin is the author of the book “Southern Raisin.” He was born in  Charleston, Tenn., and attended Rosemark Grammar School and Bolton High School.

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