by Joe Goodell
In Mississippi, “hot” refers to that time of year when the sun behaves as if it were a hammer, and we are its own private anvil. When nerves wilt under that horrific sun, partnering with humidity in an assault of elevated double digits. When even the soundest grow neurotic, and rational thought absents itself.
A place where we like our tea sweet and our chicken fried, where we start our summers in April, know that macaroni and cheese is a vegetable, like our porches wide, and our words long.
Where we think that y’all is the only pronoun, have made hospitality an art form, have cornered the market on charm, and believe in monograms, mason jars and mindin’ manners.
Where we swap tall tales and are always blessin’ someone’s little heart.—Anonymous
“This land, this South”
with woods for game and streams for fish and deep rich soil for seed and lush springs to sprout it and long summers to mature it and serene falls to harvest it and short mild winters for men and animals.”—William Faulkner.
A northern admirer was visiting Eudora Welty in Jackson one morning several years ago and asked, “Why are all those people headed for church?” Eudora replied, “Well, it is Sunday!”
After God had made the earth He found that there was some water left over. So he just threw it down, telling it go wherever it wanted. It formed the Mississippi River and has been doing just that ever since.
“The Mississippi Delta is big houses and abandoned shacks, endless vistas of cotton, soy beans, rice and wheat, white cotton bolls that fall from trucks during the picking season and line the highways, dare-devil crop dusters buzzing overhead, catfish ponds, half empty hamlets where black men, women and children sit on the stoops of forlorn dwellings.”—Willie Morris