Categorized | Opinion

Southern Raisin’: A Long Time Coming

By Otis Griffin
Otis Griffin poseGrowing up in our wonderful South was graduated in several stages.  I can remember when I was so proud as Santy brought me a three legged tricycle.  I wheeled inside the house until I got brave and ventured outside like Lewis and Clark on a sightseeing trip.  The wooden front porch presented a course similar to the West Memphis dirt track speedway.
Several times I sideswiped the leaning columns, flipping over and sliding off the edge of my sagging, splintered runway.  After landing on the hard, crusty dirt, flailing among the shrubs, bushes and concrete block steps, I decided I had better downshift from road gear to gran’ma. This generated better control after trying several times to run a handle bar through my gizzard.
Most of my friends had tricycles as we would get together at Sunday School to see who could tell the biggest whopper of our ‘Evel’ jumping tricks.  I raced and beat the Green Hornet chasing mean crooks.  It was hard with my feet slapping the pedals, I breezed by Tim Holt headed to the canyon rounding up the cattle rustlers.  Smiley and Frog didn’t have a chance as I left them eating my dust.
As I got a little older, Momma allowed me to visit my friends at their house or up at Mr. Ben’s store in downtown Rosemark.  Cast among the congregation of the brilliant philosophers I decided I was too mature to continue to straddle a child’s tricycle.
Friends, we were too young to navigate a bicycle although my day is coming, so what did we do?  Why like any country boy we used our personal resources and walked.  Ain’t Rednecks smart?  Remember the heart wrenching times when you were too old for a bicycle, but too young to drive?  I can just imagine when previous generations would actually try to explain to the current era some of our simple ways, but brilliant means.
The present day society would have no idea what in the world grandpa would be expounding upon.  Junior would probably ask, “did all that happen here where we are today?”  Grandpa proudly answering with, “I’m afraid it did, but that was ’fore you were born.”  Maybe the next question would be an astounding, “well, have you have lived here all your life?”  The truthful would be, “nupe, not just yet, but I’m working on it and adding to it everyday.”
Now if you really want to muddy up the creek and kindle the brainstorm of knowledge, proceed with incorporating the picture explaining that smokehouses existed, clotheslines, sheds, barns and outhouses were parts of the domain.
Neighbor, some folks that have been under a silo for centuries might wonder where did we go when we did all this walking and visiting?  You must understand there was a lot to see.  However, each gully jumper had chores that must be completed before rambling around.  Chores sounded better than calling it work. (Which It Was).
We had no choice but to attend Sunday School affording us the opportunity for communication.  Most of us did not have one of Mr. Babes’ telephones as future endeavors were scheduled between Sunday School and church.
We dressed in today’s terms as casual.  Our haircuts measured the length of a full grown mosquito’s left hind leg.  Our britches were worn out, faded jeans with the legs cut off and the length designated by all our Momma’s.  The frayed strings would hang down and flow in the summer breeze similar to Jingle’s rawhide coat when he was galloping while assisting “Wild Bill” round up crooks in the badlands and hem ’em up in a pass.  Shoes?  No way brogans would incarcerate our tootsies and be called a sissy!
So Many, Many Changes for a Young Country Redneck………….GLORY!

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