Journalist Marshall Ramsey wrote recently, “Mississippi is _____. You can fill a lot of words in that blank, but ‘dull’ isn’t one of them.”
Got to thinking about that, and he’s right. Here are some resulting musings.
Mississippi is …
… frustrating and fulfilling.
… grits and grittiness.
… heartbreaking, but nevertheless home.
… sophisticate and simpleton living side by side – or even in the same skin.
… immutable insights from illiterate people.
… four-wheel-drives that have never left pavement.
… hurricane evacuators and hurricane hunkerers.
… tornadophobes and tornado chasers.
… preppies and preppers.
… poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac and poison pens.
… atheist anthropologists who envy the believers they study.
… proof that there is no “civil” war.
… upper-class folks who see fireplaces as measures of affluence and middle-class folks who see them as remnants of poverty.
… foie gras and Vienna (vye-EE-nah) sausage.
… hungry people living atop rich soil.
… a red state that gave birth to the blues.
… backstabbers who hug you first.
… the clashing theologies of “Go to hell, LSU!” on Saturday afternoon and “Hallelujah!” on Sunday morning.
… poverty and opulence, each both aggravating and ameliorating the other in strange ways.
… people who love college towns as long as there are few college students at large.
… tin roofs pittering in the rain and popping in the sun.
… debutantes and Delta Dawns.
… front porches and back fences.
… majority-minority communities.
… “The Ballad of Archie Who” and “Who Let the Dawgs Out?”
… acoustic physics and playing acoustic instruments.
… artists and con artists.
… bling and blight, together.
… soccer mamas and sugar daddies.
… full of “Driving Miss Daisy” stories.
… good will and Goodwill.
… the Gospel come to life.
… people who love Jesus but wish he hadn’t been so adamant about loving their neighbor.
… people who embrace “Southern culture” but wish it were more like New York.
… undertows and overtones.
… shallow graves in deep woods.
… yes, moonlight and magnolias. OK. We said it.
… twin opponents of legalized liquor: bootleggers and Baptists.
… “crazy checks” and casinos.
… the adolescent desire to be someone else, somewhere else, and the later recognition that this is where you’re most truly you.
… proud humility, or humble pride. Take your pick.
… three tribes of the woods – the Chickasaw people, the Choctaw people and the Chainsaw people.
… world-class athletes and world-record obesity.
… hating the race and loving the individual (per William Faulkner).
… two kids, from the same neighborhood, sitting in the same classroom, staring at the same cracked blackboard, struggling with the same problem – one with utter despair and the other with unstoppable determination.
Contact Daily Journal reporter ERROL CASTENS at (662) 816-1282or email@example.com.