Somebody axed me yesterday where'd that bluegrass stuff come from anyhow, and instead of giving the usual blah, blah, blah, I fired off the shot below because it was something I've had lying around for years in my mind that I'd thunk up and writ down for something and left lying figuring sooner or later somebodied axe me again and I'd have it ready as an explanation of how I ever got the bug in me and what it all felt like and stirred up in my head when I took to thinking about it, and it promptly earned me the title some years back of the resident redneck at Carnegie Mellon, an honor I place right up there with Dr. Stanley's degree and such, and looking back at it now, ain't nothing much changed even though I did set out to get above my raising and become a high muckety muck til I figured out that weren't much to nobody's advantage after all.

Way Backest Mem'ries

by Purvis Mount Jackson

Sat'dynight Fords with babymoon hubcaps screem down the mountain, storm through the streets, discharging thunder from under the hood, radios screaching out tinnythin bluegrass and "Martha White Flour: Goodness gracious, it's good!"

Off in the valley neath tinroof's snowcover, a jarful of whiskey contagiously clear fires the wanton in a worldweary woman who's waiting and wanting the life of a wife: No thought of childbearing from absence of knowledge; no time between drinking and shedding sweated clothes.

Spring sounds accenting the faraway humming of ridge running hounds hoarsely chasing the coon; a trail cleft with darkness yet followed on instinct except for the here and there patches of moon.

A next generation of tall rawboned features bed beehive hairdos and start out anew, repeating repeats of the ones who went last amid wallmounted antlers and photos unfocused of relatives passed.

Mornings are mooing and milking in predawn with kitchens of grits mixed with drippings from ham, whose hocks flavor cabbage gently boiling in the pot, curled like a shoe put by the fire and forgot. Oldman drags biscuit through syrup from blue cans with cream the ma'am ladels from the red-rimmed white basin neath the faded print dress dampened at the pump on the stomp.

Sundays mean blessings with damnation mingled in minds neatly familied in rows left and right while the preacher's fat daughter with all of her might bounces and bangs salvation from the yellowed keys of an untuned piano and sings falsetto with every head lowered and every eye closed: "Ye who are sinners come home."

© 1982, Purvis M. Jackson

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