Alabama Reel


  • Even though I had to yell “Watch out for that goat!” making Seth swerve quickly to the left as we were driving to the Mall, for the first time since leaving, something in me wants to move back home. I used to roll my eyes at all the bad grammar and write a prissy “Take that!” with every essay I handed to a university professor, but now I let double negatives slip on purpose. I am wrong sometimes. And I know that I am wrong. And I like it. 
  • There are many confederate flags waving across the Alabama sky right out front of double-wides with plastic covering the windows where glass should be. They afford their pride, and many that can’t afford it wish that they could. Alive and well is this divided country – and not by North and South. 
  • Isaac knows what a pasture is. He’s walked across them, listened to them, and picked their berries. We came back to the big-A house in this perfectly sodded neighborhood, and I thought it was so nice, so safe. We don’t have to watch our step here – to watch for rattle snakes or poison oak. We don’t have mountain laurel creeping up from jagged rocks bigger than houses. We can’t hear a creek raging below the bluff. There is no unfenced cliff here and no fresh water spring with crayfish as big as my feet.
  • Knowing that my brother is married to a woman who deeply adores him and seeing how aware they are of each other makes so many things seem small. There is no greater, overwhelming thing than knowing that you and your family are loved – not one thing outdoes that. 
  • When I go to Alabama, we have an unspoken eating contest, and I always win. If I ate one blackberry, I ate 4, 378 blackberries – and right off their devilish bushes at that.
  • Squash (after my husband and Jesus) You are the love of my life. 
  •  I called Mama before we hit the road, and she told me that she hid a key under the Mama Squirrel. If you aren’t from Alabama, you don’t know how boring your life really is.

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amberhaines
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3 Comments

Meredith
Reply July 3, 2008

If you're looking for poison oak and water snakes, come on over. My backyard is like our own little Alabama--no bluffs or rushing waters though. No blackberries either. Hmmm... Maybe not like Alabama at all.

brooke
Reply July 3, 2008

From one Alabama gal to another, I agree. Out here, I proudly tell people I'm from the south. My favorite stories are the ones where I tell people I went to a school whose mascot was Johnny Reb and whose women's volleyball team was the Confederettes. While I am ashamed that we once held them, it is also a perverse point of pride to mention that my freshman year was the year the Student Council Slave Auction (a fundraiser where we rented student council members for a day) was banned from campus.

Out here, quite suddenly, a twang I never once had growing up has started showing up in my speech. And I'm doing things like stealing blackberries and making preserves out of 'em, which I never once did in my suburban, middle class neighborhood. Make jam, that is. I'm sure I stole a berry or two. But my mama remembers making jam when she was growin' up.

PS - Much to my delight/dismay, I discovered I can still do the entire routine to my high school fight song. I did it right in the middle of the street by my house. I hummed the melody really, really loudly. Our fight song was Dixie, by the way.

Seth
Reply July 3, 2008

From one Reb to another...

In dixie land I'll take my stand...

Fortunately, for me, dixie land is an idea that includes all--even those of you who now live in Cali.

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