Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Where I'm From

(preface: To reiterate, despite the blog name, I've never been to Hattiesburg, much less lived there. I'm sure it's a fine city though.)

Since there's (deliberately) no "about me" link on this blog, I decided to try my hand at a "Where I'm From" post. Inspired by a Texas Trifle, who shares quite a bit of the same background as me but is a much better writer.


I'm from old Europe, mostly from England via Germany & Scotland. I'm from Texas, starting in Tarrant county and returning twice. I'm from flat land that's white with cotton just before it's white with snow. I'm from oil-filled mesas and pine-filled lowlands. I'm from cities that defend America and from towns that clothe America.

I'm from allergen to allergen and dust to dust. I'm from 1 to 6 feet of rain per year, and from -14 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, with gusts over 100 mph. I'm from 11-mile-high thunderheads driving 200-foot rust-colored walls ahead of them. I'm from goatheads, tumbleweeds, devils claws and dirt clods. I'm from irrigation ditches, and the motors that fill them six days a week.

I'm from barbershops that have Koken chairs, no music, drowned combs, and a globe full of candy from the Lions Club. I'm from diners where the adults all know each other, the kids get their heads patted, and the paneling has never been replaced. I'm from stores like Perry's & Woolworth's that have affordable non-branded toys and clothes. I'm from highways where passing isn't always possible, but speeding usually is.

I'm from 8-tracks of Floyd Cramer and Danny Davis and The Carpenters. I'm from the Charlies called Daniels, Pride, Rich, and Angels. I'm from Price Is Right, Hazel, and Ultraman. I'm from Hee-Haw vs Star Trek. I'm from Three Dog Night, Ted Nugent, Van Halen (not hagar), Devo, Styx, Boston, and Thin Lizzie. I'm from KLOL, KY99, KTRU, and the old KOMA. I'm from people who remember back when entertainment didn't have to be morally and intellectually offensive.

I'm from JCPenneys, Chess King, Vans, Ocean Pacific, Levis, London Fog, Converses, & Sears. I'm from Victorian to stucco to brick. I'm from tractor pulls, air shows, and art shows (some of which don't even show windmills or canadian geese). I'm from 2, 7, 1-9 and 10-4, 10-2-4, 22's, the I's of 27 30 35 40 and 45, 42*, 44oz, C64, 66*, the 77s, 81, 84*, 91, 242, 287, the V's of 289 351 400 and 460, 464, 806 and 817, 2068 and 2112. (* in multiple senses). I'm from the ghosts of Alzheimers, Camels, pesticides, arteriosclerosis, Aspergers, SIDS, and various carcinomas. I'm from avocado appliances, dark paneling, gold carpet, credenzas and divans.

I'm from panfried porkchops, goatmeat tamales, ranchstyle beans, iceless tea (and the accompanying odd looks), cornbread in castiron, elbow macaroni and government cheese. I'm from Burger King and Dairy Queen, Mr. Burger and Mrs. Bairds, Allsups, Furrs, Toot-n-Totum, the Pandas called Lucky Golden Happy and Szechuan, and the tacos of Bueno, Bell, and Villa. I'm from (some) people who like peppers hotter than habanero.

I'm from church dinners featuring brisket or casseroles, and community suppers featuring kolaches or chili. I'm from six-man football, accompanied by mosquitos, noise, wind, painful seating, cold, wasps, and mud. I'm from hymnals (with occasional shape notes), quiet prayers, and happy doxologys. I'm from offerings in the velvet-lined plate followed by special music every week. I'm from sermons that were about training you right and making sure you didn't get left, rather than hyping you up or casting you down.

...and I'm sure of where I'm going to, but I have no idea what will happen before I get there.


Cowtown Pattie said...

Hatless,(I have no other name),

Glad to read your "Where I'm From" entry. It is a different sort of free-association writing, isn't it?

I wonder, do more southern writers relate to this sort of writing?

The Localmalcontent said...

Hatless, that is sheer poetry. Outstanding. Heartfelt.

Thank you for writing this, for this post allows us to get to know you, your fine upbringing, your foundation.

The Localmalcontent said...

Imagine my pleasant surprise!

Coming here today to once again read "Where I'm From", planning to suggest that you add this to your blogroll of honor, the Hall of Fame....

seeing that you already have~!

This is still marvelous reading, Hatless.

Hatless in Hattiesburg said...

i'm glad this was so warmly received by those who commented here and elsewhere.

localmalcontent - it was the aforementioned comments that made me think to put it in the sidebar.

pattie - i'm not really that much of a writer (i'm still surprised that i've kept with blogging this long), but reading your version hit me just right and this post came together quicker than most. it seems a good way to tie together that free-association into something readable, keeping me from chasing those tangential rabbits into incoherent oblivion as i tend to do...