Friday, May 11, 2007

My Morning Wooten: Common Edition

If you want to read the whole damned thing, go here. Because today, on the eve of one of the most special weekends in the hearts of all who call the south home, I only want to talk about one.
When my band of right-wingers take over, women who weigh more than Rosie O’Donnell will not be allowed to wear miniskirts outside the bedroom. Some things should not be seen in public.
Jim, you and I frequently talk about the same things. Biscuits, grits, pigs, chickens, the fog rising off a pond when you throw out the first line. Most often we approach things from a different perspective but always through the eyes of a couple of southern boys. So today, I want to talk about the one thing I am sure we both hold dear.

Today, I want to talk about mamas.

We all have mothers. But it is only in the deep, in the special place of our heart, where we cleave to our mama.

My mama raised four kids on her own. By the time I came along the rest had figured out most things and the things they hadn't figured out, they at least figured out how to get away with.

It had to be hard for a working woman to come home to one more grinning, dirty faced child. She patched my jeans, wiped my face with a washcloth, cooked supper and if there wasn't much left to do at the end of the day, sat in her chair with a sip of whiskey and watched over her youngest as he puzzled over the latest magazine her employer would have thrown away if she hadn't squirreled it away in her handbag.

She grew up the hard way. Born on the cusp of the depression, she spent her childhood days barefoot, in overalls, chasing chickens across a dirt yard. Daddy selling a hog for shoes was not just another line in a country song, it was most every fall. The farmers market was not an excursion to find the latest exotic ingredient but a trip made to get just a few dollars more.

She was married in the front room of her grandfather's house; in her best dress with veiled hat cocked just so, because like most country people she had a saucy side.

She always carried a handkerchief in her purse because mama could solve most problems with a quick wipe. Sometimes it smelled faintly of peppermint. Because after the handkerchief, the next best solution was to pop a piece of candy in a young boy's never quiet mouth.

Sometimes she stretched the paychecks a bit too thin and we would come home to cut off lights. She would then shoo me away, hand the lineman a check she swore was good and apologize for causing him so much trouble.

Because through all the struggles, even in the times when pride had to be swallowed for necessity, she always had one unfailing lesson for her children. Don't be common.

Common didn't mean poor, because the good Lord knew, we had seen plenty. Common didn't mean working class. It didn't mean plain. It didn't mean not good enough. You could be the poorest person in the county but when you passed by, people should be able to say, they ain't common.

Common was the false pride. It was when you elevated yourself through the putting down of others.

I'm just a tiny voice. I hope if I am ever graced with the power to use the printed word to communicate daily with thousands of people, I will remember the lessons of mama. I hope I will be able to avoid the temptation of being common.


Anonymous said...

Very nice. Heartfelt, and very nicely put.

When I read Wooten this morning, I also was struck by that item. It was mean, and unnecessary, and it picked on people for being nothing more than who they are.

Your mama would be proud.

Amber Rhea said...

This is wonderful.

Wooten should read this and be ashamed of himself.

Grayson: Atlanta, GA said...

Call me trashy, call me common, but the thought of Jim Wooten anywhere near a bedroom is laughably pathetic.

Call me an eye for an eye kinda gal.

Sara said...

There you go again, being brilliant. Lazermike is right, your mama would be so proud.

Wooten should be ashamed because that sort of dig is beneath even him.

Anonymous said...

Yo Grift. Monroe sent me. Again. It's 1:45 Sat am, and Wooten's comments aren't working right now.

Wooten's looking for a new job. I don't think he's got the gut for it. And that's a compliment.

Unknown said...

Very well written, brother.