Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Fresh My Farm
Spurred by that fleeting summer feeling, JP and Sister Bernice and I bolted down to NC for a mad-dash, last-ditch surge of desperation in search of sun, familial festivities, slow-cooked meats and yet another excuse to sip on bourbon and water. What we learned, or what we already knew (having lived in the northeast now for near 10 years) and were reminded of, was that people there are simply nicer. Or, at least, they act nicer, which is basically the same thing. Flying in on Friday afternoon and out again on Sunday morning, we had a mini checklist to start x-ing off. First stop Gus Sir Beef, home of the most righteous fried squash anywhere, also the restaurant with perhaps the best Greek-redneck-argot slogan around: "Fresh My Farm." Within minutes of our convergence (sister, three nieces, grandmother, brother-in-law) the waitresses were hanging out around our table, stroking babies’ heads in a way that our Massachusetts neighbors would think a presumptuous, inappropriate, and possibly unhealthy (germs) violation of personal space (not that I don’t dig Yankee aloofness). I switched from Bud to sweet tea, which seemed like some kind of divine one-two beverage change-up/sucker-punch.
I’d been meaning to post Alan Jackson’s "Gone Country," mostly just because it’s a great, funny, funny song. I must have forgotten how caustic it is, really; I almost doubled over laughing listening back to it and realizing that one of the verses is basically a dig at Bruce Hornsby, or Bruce Hornsby types, with that patented Hornsby piano articulation flown in for full effect. It’s brutal. On the one hand, the song ridicules all the wannabe rednecks (you know who you are), and those who think that cranking out a country tune is somehow easier than anything, but at the same time, it’s also sort of understanding, too. Of course they’ve gone country, why wouldn’t they? This, I know, is fraught territory, and JP, Dewey, Lefty and I have hashed it out before. But, in keeping with Lefty’s recent endtimes jeremiad, I’ve decided that swampy, humid, new south living may be the alternate universe to my universe’s ass. I’m just waiting for the right pair of boots.
Other things learned and relearned: slow-cooking meats on the poolside grill while sipping beers, playing with the little ones and occasionally taking a dip is a sacred and preferred form of disassociation. That’s what the Bobby Bare is all about: beer, kids, cooking. Also: the cicadas at night sound like the Tarheel State version of the Balinese monkey chant.
"Gone Country" - Alan Jackson
"Singin’ in the Kitchen" - Bobby Bare