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Tiptoeing on decorum


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  • Tiptoeing on decorum

    My underground fence wire alarm went off again. Knowing now what it sounds like, I ran outside and gathered up my dogs from hither and yon. I saw a tractor fading off east and knew I'd never catch him. As I scrambled to get dressed, I saw the tractor u-turn and head back toward the back field.

    I put on some houseshoes and tore out the door. I got to the edge of my property and plainly see the old farmer driving the tractor. I dropped the tee'd off expression, wave my arm high in the air until he returned the greetin' and hiking up my pants legs, I scooted back toward the house.

    Crap. This is a whole other kettle of fish right here. Southern decorum, particularly small farm communities, dictate a whole other slew of appropriate behaviors. A tap dance that shall be done for the betterment of the community AND our status in it. This has been drilled in my head since I was knee high to a grasshopper. The easiest way out [for me] is to send in my husband. He's not here.

    I ran BACK in the house and grabbed a glass of sweet tea and a pack of nabs. Because I didn't have Pepsi and a moonpie. Don't laugh because I ain't even kiddin.

    Farming communities (here, that is) are run by the farmers. They are the men that gather at the corner store. They are the foundation of the community. This isn't about money because NO ONE here flashes that stuff. This is about respect, status, the changing of the seasons, the polite talk, politics, way of living in this area. The ONLY thing those men answer to is the apron-wearing tight-curled white headed little ladies in the kitchen. There are VERY clear pecking orders here and I HAVE to follow them. Not just for me and my kids, but my husband. Add to that his political position as one of the Sheriff's boys and I would have preferred that ANYBODY have cut this line but the farmer.

    The old farmer cut the engine and climbed down out the box. I offered him the tea and nabs and introduced myself to him. He controls the conversation and I'm sweating bullets trying to figure out how to tell him that he just cut my wire. He asks about my husband and I tell him what he wants to know. He asks about my 'people.' Now some of you probably don't understand the ins and outs of our society and it would take a month of Sunday's to tell you, but I'm not from here. Meaning this county. I'm the next county over. On the heirachy of things, I'm Southern, so that's okay, but until there is a connection made (ie-my people) I teeter on the line not far from the reserve given to "yankees"

    My people. Here we go. Now I'm from the next county over, but I have a grandmammy from here that worked the land until SHE married in WWII and moved one county over. Now, her downfall was not marrying local, but it's a blight, not a damn curse, thankfully. There goes Grandmammy's name. Down here, y'all, we drop family names like some people do famous people. They are our "famous" people. You are your people. You are your kin. Now ain't nobody gonna mess with you when that one bad apple goes nuts, so long as the rest of your kin are good people. He's the same age as my Grandmammy and NOOOWWW we have the connection. He relaxed and I've got one foot in the door.

    Some people might think we're slow down here, but that's far from the truth. It's hard to find a smarter group of people than those that spent their lives around simple farming folks and animals. They know human nature like nobody's business, but there are 'rules' here to be followed. That's all.

    So we talk about my people. There goes my Daddy's name. I'm in like Flin. Didn't matter, he knew who I was before I opened my mouth. He's judging me is all. I politely ask about his family (of which I knew, too). We chatted. All the niceities just to tell him that he accidently cut the wire. So. I get to it after awhile.

    He smiled at me. And the last escapade of my wire being cut flashes through my mind.

    "Now, little miss, this ain't the same place where them there gas people cut your line is it?"

    You know damn well it is. Nothing gets past them men at the corner store. OBVIOUSLY the gas line foreman was someone's son and my behavior that day is coming home to roost. You see, the corner store is where we get our eggs and meat from. We don't drive to town. We patron the local stores. It's where lazy talk of the election goes. It's where the Sheriff stops by to shake hands and talk about issues in the county. You don't have their support, you have NOTHING and you'll be treated (not rudely) like the crazy cousin from up north. The Sheriff answers to them. That's the way life rolls here. *I* don't stop and chat with these men because I'm a female. I'm answerable to their wives. My husband chats with these here men. BUT he's younger, so he's got his own tapdancing to do. I know my role. He knows his. It's not a good thing when your wife shows her hiney and embarasses her husband and HER people.

    There ain't nothing I can do but own it. He knows. And I'm pretty sure he knows the Foreman's version which probably ain't far from what happened.

    "yes, Sir. I suppose I was a bit upset that day, what with it comin' on a surprise like that."

    He waited. Didn't say a word. Obviously, I hadn't said enough.

    "I wish I had handled that better. I know my mama and grandmammy wouldn't have like the cussing I laid out. I sure do apologize that I didn't act my upbringing, Mr. Rodney. I sure do wish my husband had been here to handle that."

    BAM. Right words. I just apologized to the entire community.

    "Well, Nelson's boy (ie-the forearm) did say you'd said you was feeling under the weather, young lady. I reckon that flu would get just about anybody out of sorts."

    My wire isn't fixed. Mr. Rodney IS coming to help my husband fix it tomorrow. I am back in the good graces. I've been told to come and get Mrs. Betty's receipe for blueberry pie. My sweet tea IS acceptable and greatly appreciated. I did call Grandmammy and tell her about the blueberry pie. She told me not to waste my time making it because Betty's "crust is about as dry as the creek bed" but that I better go calling just the same. She told me to tell Mrs. Betty that MY granny needed her pickling jars back and couldn't I see if she'd get me Mrs. Willa's green bean caserole receipe because she's lost her copy (this, btw, is NOTHING more than a reminder to the other ladies of what stock I come from).

    Oh, and side note from Grandmammy, "Honey, I'd done heard from cousin Maylene that you were mad as a wet hen that day. They said you acted a bit uppity. I tole Maylene that she could tell Nelson's boy that he knew your husband wasn't home and should have called around before getting over there on that land. They know better." (See, reflected back on Nelson and his wife for their son not acting right. Grandmammy is an EXCELLENT politican).

    So. THAT is why nothing was said before now. The men said something to their wives, who called Grandmammy who had MY back and those little old ladies went to bat for me because of my grandmother and mother. *whew*

    Lord, have mercy. There is nothing in this world that compares to the small community politics. Nothing. I just want my daggone wire fixed.

    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

  • #2
    First let me say I truly enjoyed reading that, and it has nothing to do with my friendship/respect for you. I honestly appreciate you typing that up Smurfette. I have said this before you should be writing, it's a talent to tell a story in words and grab someones attention; You have that unique ability to do both!!

    Second there is too much pressure living in NC I wouldn't be able to keep up with the politics, roles, rules etc. But I love it if that makes any sense.

    In NY it would have went down like this.

    Yo Stevie Wonder who gave you a license? You snipped my fing wire with that contraption.

    There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.


    • #3
      That's one of the reasons I moved out of the south, NC in particular. I was on the outskirts of Charlotte so there was more "city folk" round those parts but any jobs with PD or SD were very good ole boyish and an outsider of mixed race who "won't born round here" had little shot of getting on or fitting in. Truthfully my personality didn't fit in the pecking order either cause I woulda told the old man if he knew that the gas man cut the line he shoulda known it was there and been more careful or got some better glasses.

      My kinfolk in Louisianna are quite known in their town but not in a good way. When you tell someone down there you are related to one of them you have to be very clear on whether you descended from my grandfather or one of his brothers as that will determine whether you are invited in for tea or run off with a shotgun.
      Originally Posted by VegasMetro
      maybe it’s me but I think a six pack and midget porn makes for good times?????


      • #4
        Great post Smurf. That is definitely how it works in eastern NC.
        (='.'=) This is Ninja Bunny.
        Copy and paste Bunny into your
        signature to help him gain world domination


        • #5
          Holy cow, Smurfette! I couldn't do that with a manual, lessons, and an acting coach to boot. My hat's off to you


          • #6
            Wow. As much as I miss being in the South, after reading that it reminds me why I don't miss being from the South...lol Great story telling, Smurf...
            Originally posted by Smurfette
            Lord have mercy. You're about as slick as the business side of duct tape.
            Originally posted by DAL
            You are without doubt a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle.


            • #7
              Wow. Where I grew up, the whole gas crew incident would have just been settled with a drive-by later that night. Civility is complicated.


              • #8
                Your posts have great insight, humorous and well written. Thought of starting a blog on the side? I'd fan and fave it.


                • #9
                  Excellent story. Very well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for the laugh!


                  • #10
                    That is certainly spot on. I'm further south, but it's still the same...
                    It's not the will to win that matters...everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters.
                    Paul "Bear" Bryant


                    • #11
                      Ain't it though, oldcop. I came home and husband told me he'd fixed the wire by himself. It'd been tilled up in about three or four places and it wasn't nothing to fix it. I said, "You best be calling, Mr. Rodney." He called immediately, of course. I hear him while I'm in there cleaning the bathroom. "No, Sir, Mr. Rodney, you let me hunt deer on this land so it's no bother at all, Sir. No, Sir." and it goes on and on. I chuckled when I heard, "Yes, Sir, she does make so good sweat tea." and a promise to drop by the store and talk.

                      Reiland, when it's all you've known from the time you could walk and talk it comes as a second nature. Truly does. You respect the elderly and know they run stuff. People don't flash money, though they have it. They measure a man by his talk and a woman by her manners...both by their upbringing and their children.....LOL

                      Dave, don't you know Mr. Rudy stopped by earlier and is going to drag the driveway for us. That's a big deal now. It's gravel and long. When the rains kick up, it can cause holes in the gravel that make it a mess bumping up to the house. Now this nice man is going to slide on over and flatten it all out for me. He'll have my thanks, a smile and a cool glass of sweet tea.
                      Last edited by Smurfette_76; 03-29-2011, 08:29 PM.

                      I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.


                      • #12
                        For those that are lost, this http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...-to-go-to-work the last incident with the gas line.

                        I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.


                        • #13
                          Pack of nabs? Pack of Nabisco?
                          This show is awesome, wrapped in supercool and smothered in bitchin. The only way it could be cooler is if he was riding a unicorn or something.



                          • #14
                            Funny to read how it is in other parts of the country, and I agree with erik...nabs?
                            For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

                            "Jeff, you are the best cop on this board"-Anonymous Post


                            • #15
                              Nabisco or preferably Lance.

                              I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.


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