VUI has been writing about some serious, or as the late Lewis Grizzard once put it, “searus” stuff over the past few months. Perhaps it is time to be a little more light hearted and look at the lighter side to small town southern life in South Carolina.
First, of all, we got to eat. It seems everything we do in the South revolves around food. We want to watch a ball game with people or socialize, we got to cook something. A friend or neighbor dies; we have to carry the family food. If we don’t we are shunned by all that know us. The comedian James Gregory had a line in one of his routines that went, “Sorry about your brother in law, here’s some baked beans.” That remark sums up the South and food. If there is a major event, we got to eat.
Of course, while we are eating at those major events there is always the gossip spreader. It can be a man or woman. These are the people are who are still ticked that a speech from President Reagan knocked off the Peanuts Special in 1982 and think their friends and neighbors were part of the plot to do so. They find fault in everyone, and stories about everyone. They even make them up. It is great entertainment to some and downright outrageous to others. The more gentile among us simply say, “Bless their hearts” when confronted with the gossipers’ tidbits. The less gentile called them crazy nutcases. We who live in Anderson County, SC, have to call them Anderson County Council. However you see them, those passive aggressive, tall tell tellers are a big part of Southern culture. We in the South seem to eat their bull manure up. We all seem to be like Olympia Dukakis’s character in the move Steel Magnolias in that “if you don’t have anything good to say about anyone, come sit by me.”
That brings us to the redneck bragger and bull manure artist. I dub him Joe Dale. Joe Dale is typically about 60 years old and still likes to parade around with his shirt unbuttoned or off. The Joe Dales among us offer the purest bull manure and the highest form of entertainment. Here is how a typical story from Joe Dale will go after he has a six pack or so in him.
“Yeah, I rebuilt that truck of mine from scratch. Put it all together myself. Then I drove over to Joe’s house and whooped his ass and then I did his wife. She wanted it. She keeps wanting it. I was drunk that night, and wrecked that truck. But the law knew better than to deal with me. I know them all and they ain’t gonna mess with me. I got connections. I got Joe to pick me up and take me back out to where I wrecked that truck and I pushed it back over on all four wheels and drove it home. Then the old lady started in on me about cutting the grass. I told her to cut it her damn self.”
The someone dares to ask, “Joe Dale, weren’t you out cutting grass yesterday?”
That sets Joe Dale in a rage. “ I will whoop your ass, you sunnabich!” If there is anything worse than not presenting food at a major event, it is questioning Joe Dale’s exploits.
At least a friend of mine is honest enough to tell it like it really is. Let’s call him Billy Bob. Billy Bob told me once, “yeah, I lied about some things, but don’t go telling my wife, because that woman has a CWP. This rooster would wake up a hen if that woman knew all I talked about.” Even mama and them can’t instill that type of fear. But, it does give the gossipers something to talk about, especially in the down time at church on Sunday morning or while they are waiting from their grits and eggs at breakfast.
(For you Lewis thanks for the inspiration.)