Categorized | Opinion

Plain Southern Brilliance

By Otis GriffinOtis Griffin pose

Almost two score, a decade and one half ago we were finally blacktop rolling.  Bob Mitchum and Thunder Road would have been proud.  My dear friend James bought a Chevy station wagon located in the depths of a cycle clipped grown up Johnson grass patch behind Dr. Crenshaw’s vet office on Navy Road.  Totaling a wrinkled Benjamin, Andy and Abe this L and N sounding Detroit piston clammer was ready to eliminate some high topped Chuck Taylor scurrying.  Only one slight problem.  The sages at Mr. Ben’s proclaimed the motor was “locked up” which meant, “it was shut down.”
However this was not a major problem back then.  Believe it or not, but there was a time in our recent history if a brilliant redneck hard working farmer had an equipment problem, he personally fixed it. Two reasons; (he had self educated his own self but the major denominator of no finances)  Halted usually out in the middle of the whompy jawed dirt clods with the sun bearing down, no shade or air conditioning. (not invented) The tractor never broke down under shade trees or in the middle of creeks where there was some relief.  Naww Shuhhh!
My fellow American country farmers have you ever desired to interrogate a youth today on the assemblage of a Ford Ferguson.  Simple questions?  What are those little gray boxes welded on the fenders and why is that log chain dangling?  Do you see the block and tackle riding along with the extra hair pin and hook?  Ain’t no styrofoam coolers so just baling wire tie the to’ sack wrapped gallon water jug to the side in case you needed a cool swallow later on. Ever wonder about the answers from today’s brilliant intellectual computer user?  I’d probably be so skeered I’d run and hide under the bed, pull a Sears sheet down over the side to protect myself from all the ig’nurnce.
Although no one in the rest of the world will readily admit the smartest folks in the world are deep country Southerners.  Who could do so much with so little?  The farmers with a handful of tools could fix and repair a battalion of tanks.  Our Mommas could feed an overflowing church revival community gathering with just a teacup of beans, cornbread and sweet tea (with lemon) and probably have a smidgen snack or two left over.  In the Good Book it plainly states that Jesus fed a whole raft of five thousand folks from a platter or two of catfish and a few loaves of Colonial bread.  Since we know Jesus was a carpenter, this leads me to believe he was also a farmer that was raised in the South to do so much with so little.
We had so much to do trying to free up some wagon pistons.  In the South if it is stuck use coal oil.  If sick or hurts use a cure all.  Coal oil!  So we started pouring back and forth through the block.  Maybe the Rosemark boys invented recycling?  Just some old memories of rednecks using their heads for more than a hat rack…Glory!
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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