Yesterday my Mama and I went to take my children strawberry picking at a little
patch off the Black Road.
There are all these brothers and their last name is Black and they have always lived on that road
and that is the Black Road.
So, we went to pick strawberries....
Now, while we were there something happened b/t a customer and the farmer that made me think
of this passage in the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver.
Here is the passage:
The only useful generalization I'd hazard about rural politics is that they tend to break on the line of "insider" vs. "outsider." When my country neighbors sit down with a new social group, the first question they ask one another is not "What do you do?" but rather, "Who are your people?" Commonly we will spend more than the first ten minutes of a new acquaintance tracing how our families might be related. If not by blood, then by marriage. Failing that, by identifying someone significant we have known in common. Only after this ritual of familial placing does the conversation comfortably move on to other subjects. I am blessed with an ancestor who was the physician in this county from about 1910 into the 1940's. From older people I'll often hear of some memorably dire birth or farm accident to which my great uncle was called; lucky for me he was skilled and Hippocratic. But even a criminal ancestor will get you insider status, among the forgiving. Not so lucky are those who move here with no identifiable family ties. Such a dark horse is likely to remain "the new fellow" for the rest of his natural life, even if he arrived in his prime and lives to be a hundred.
So, I thought of that passage when I was witnessing the misbehavior
of a yankee on the Black road trying to purchase her quart of berries.
1. She could not wait her turn.
2. She grumbled aloud when someone would not hurry up.
3. She was not minding her own business.
It seems like people of the northern persuasion who move here just cannot get it.
We really --and this is mean--do not want to make friends with you until you
AT LEAST PROVE YOU CAN BE FRIENDLY.
I mean the lady wanted to buy a quart of berries, and she went to the table. The farmer
--who has known my family for a very long time--and I were visiting. We were having a chat--
just a small one (30 seconds or so), and this lady kept butting in....my berry price had to be adjusted
b/c he charged me the amount for people who buy the already picked ones...you could see
it all over her face that she suspected him of giving me an undue deal..
well, he was not, but if he were that would be --NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Then we kept talking and right in the middle of it she wanted to pay--and then
she interrupted AGAIN for some cellophane.
The farmer never even looked up at her.
I mean around here we do what is called --stand there and shut up and wait your
turn. No grumbling. No interrupting. Just wait.
If you do not play by that rule--you are a bother. We don't look up.
She walked away from the table very sassy like and grumbling and the farmer
never even commented or batted an eye--not worth it.
That B. Kingsolver quote is sandwiched in there b/c I think all of this ties together.
That lady did not get it.
AND--she does not even know to stand back a bit and try to figure it out....
After I wrote this post I realized that in B. Kingsolver's book her distinction is mostly made b/t the urban folk, and the rural folk. I think this is a fallacy in my thinking that is permanent--that Yankees are urban and Southerners are rural--and that is not the case.
One can travel in our state of N.C. and find the urban mindset---the inpatient but in folks--and
I am sure that one could travel mas arriba del mason dixon line y find la gente bien paisana.
So, in an effort to not sound--well, to not misuse a wonderful quote that I can certainly relate to, I felt I should divulge my treadmill revelation! :)