Pretty Little Girl

A day in the life….

Archive for the tag “Gulf Coast”

The Southern Paradigm

“Here at the Mississippian’s southernmost point of native soil, one had to recall what inland Mississippi was like, how people in its small town (or even in larger towns like Meridian and Jackson and Columbus) related inward to family life, kinfolks, old friendships and hatred. How hospitably newcomers were welcomed but how slowly accepted. Once I heard this remark: ‘The H—–‘s haven’t lived here but for thirty years, but look how everybody likes them!’ In talk of the outside world, not much was to be accepted, nothing could be trusted to be ‘like us’. There were Yankees ‘up there’. “

Elizabeth Spencer’s account of small town life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Very much like most areas of the South. Litlle ole’ Pensacola or even Cahaba Heights. It was all the same. People knew each others’ stories and family history. There were no secrets in these towns. Every event involved one or more members of the town and one or more had a story about the event—no matter what it was. Pretty soon a story somewhere in between the variations would be accepted as common knowledge. We were all open books.

As crazy as it sounds today, it was refreshing. It kept people aware of their reputation, standing not only their own but their families. What kept you from acting a fool was the story to be told the next day. Today, we all keep our doors and mouths shut. The skeletons are all buried as deep as possible unless they are big enough to be drug out in a scandal someday. People can’t be gauged by their appearance or their activities as they are hidden under facades. Progress?  I don’t know about that.

PS Check out my blog for justice…..Conjuringjustice.com or Conjuringjusticeblog.com

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The Gulf Coast

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I have been reading short stories by Southern writers. I came across a story by Elizabeth Spencer, “The Gulf Coast”.

“The first visit I made to this spot was during the summer of 1951. Already it seemed part of my own personal geography. Everyone had been to Ship Island. Picnics were talked of, summer days recalled.

On the first time for me, I walked ahead of friends (a man I went with, two friends of his) straight south, taking the walk through the dunes. Then, cresting, I saw before me what I’d come for without knowing it: the true Gulf, no horizon to curb its expanse, spread but infinite and free, restless with tossing whitecaps, rushing in to foam up the beach, retreating, returning, roaring. Out there, I thought, astonished, is Mexico, the Caribbean, South America. We are leaning outward to them. Everybody back on land, all along the coast, feels the presence, whether they consciously know it or not. What was it but distance, the leaning outward, the opening toward far-off, unlikely worlds? The beyond.”

To me, this embodies all the things I felt at Pensacola Beach. Being alone just after the dawning of the day, I used to go to Fort Pickens to lay out in the sand of a desolate and peaceful landscape. I could here cars passing behind me on occasion, not true traffic of any sort. No one as far as the eye could see. The bliss and freedom represented being in the company of divinity. Those days, in my late youth, were priceless and in describable. It was my church. It was my point to access God without interruption.

This was Daddy must feel when he goes fishing. The peace. The centering effect of being in the presence of all living things but no humans to spoil it. No noise to taint it. My mother would say, “come hell or high water, on Sunday, your Daddy was on the river.” Why on Earth, wouldn’t he be? It is serene.

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