Wednesday, August 04, 2010

from whence come I

Thanks to Christine for this one.  I played with what it asked for as I suspect most people do.  I didn't mean for it to be as negative seeming as it seems to seem, but maybe I'm just looking at it the way I tend.  At the same time, if does come across as negative I have to remind myself that I didn't want to spend too much time with each line.  I wanted this thing to come out of me in a way that I felt was being honest.

And then I remember and must accept that I over analyze everything, that I edit a lot, that I want to present things in a way that I'm at least okay, if not happy, with.  I'm never altogether happy about it.  But it's done, and that's all I can say for now.

And all that being said, I give you the thing below.  It's called Where I'm From and is basically  a set of writing prompts.  It wasn't really fun, but if you want to play along go HERE.

I am from old toys from older brothers and out of style clothes.
I am from the white ranch style house where in the summer, if you would just lie still in bed you wouldn't be so hot and could get to sleep.
I am from the dogwood, the red clay, the pines and kudzu.
I am from setting the table and sitting down as a family for sandwiches and listening to Larry Munson on the radio while watching the game on tv with the sound turned down, from being one of many brothers so that we're all always and forever a Hullboy.
I am from the not really talking or being heard.
From because I said to.
I am from the same pew every single service, Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night, and missions conference and revival, men's prayer meeting.
I'm from South Dekalb and iced tea being the first thing I ever learned to make in the kitchen.
From only ever really knowing as family my parents and brothers, a couple of cousins and their parents, from a grandmother I never really remember liking as much as I liked that a night spent at her house meant a certain freedom.
I am from a random assortment of pictures at my parent's house as well as the new collections on the internet as the family I have moves into the twenty first century.

1 comment:

JJ Ross said...

Sam, I've seen several of these lately but yours finally pushed me over the edge to joining in. I just finished this and may not share it anywhere but here, dunno yet, but since it's southern, I thought you particularly might enjoy:

I am from the flickering black-and-white tv set showing The Wizard of Oz once a year, from Holdie's Singer sewing machine and the black Remington my mom typed my dad's dissertation on, late at night in the next room. I am from dime store Silly Putty and the Funk&Wagnall encyclopedia bought with installments especially for me before I even started kindergarten. I am from fresh library books every Saturday morning.

I am from boarding houses and student rentals and air force bases, from neat and clean and white walls with no nails because company or the next move could be coming at any moment. I am from being shooed outside until suppertime and then sent to bed before I was sleepy, from sharing a room until high school and sprinkler bottles for ironing shirts, from ladies' sheer stockings lumpy with apples and oranges and nuts on Christmas morning.

I am from long hot summers in small southern towns, family-style roasts and rice and gravy after church, from the backyard cucumber and crabapples and bearded irises named Birthday Cake and Top Hat, from Peggy's peach stand and walking a dog named Peaches, barefoot in the red clay, up to the post office where we still had box number one because Granddaddy was once the postmaster, then past the old high school up to the deliciously shuddery air-conditioned drugstore for comic books.

I am from stepping on bees and rusty nails and a metal garden border that nearly cut off my big toe, from casts for broken bones and a horse stepping on my foot, from braces and basketball and my best friend Julie. I am from fat people referred to as "stout" and "poor thing."

I am from a ridiculous first crush on Edward Booker, the doctor's son across the street whose mother insisted he take me to a James Bond movie in Greenville when I was 13, double-dating with his older brother Robert who drove, and then social duty done, mercifully left Edward's love life to him, which was no doubt best for us all.

I am from babysitters and parade floats and not being without a girdle much less in curlers, from Crescent Beach sunburns and Gone With the Wind worship, from ice cream churns and Gator football and road trips to Cypress Gardens and Six Gun Territory, from thank-you notes and chafing dishes with sterno.

I am from Cool Springs and Clemson and Stribling Shoals, from the fish camp and state park, Clayton and the Dillard House, from Ira and Alice and childhood sweethearts Johnny and Suzie, from watching my dad watch cousin Jimmy Orr from Seneca catch passes from Johnny Unitas.

I am from knowing how to behave and delayed gratification and rising above, from ma'am and sir and first names preceded by Miss. I am from land and education as the only things that last, that no one can take away, from teachers' pets, team captains and community service.

I am from polite, restrained country churches where everyone's parents parent you, from advent wreaths and casseroles, singing alto in the choir and playing my acoustic guitar for sunrise services which seemed radical at the time. I am from no politics in prayer and no prayer in public.