One of my favorite Southern things is what we call a Three-B night: bullets, beer and barbecue.
Of course, the beer and the barbecue follow the shooting of the bullets at the gun range. Alcohol and gunpowder are a dangerous mix. But Three-B is a social activity I highly recommend. Good friends, a little target shooting and then a repast of spicy barbecue and cold beer is a fine, fine way to spend an evening.
God, I love the South so much I can’t stand it.
I’ve been thinking that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get one of those recreational vehicles and then just travel from one bluegrass festival to the next. Traveling around the South is like a never-ending feast. It’s jammed full of beauty and interesting folks. And down South there’s always a gun range not too far away — or, for that matter, a gun.
I’ve no doubt that God created the South for the sole purpose of the good life, and it’s too bad that the devil came along and made us all have to waste so much time working. You do remember, I hope, that when that foolish Eve listened to the snake and the even more foolish Adam listened to Eve, the punishment was that they would have to go to work. And us, too.
In the morning, when you’re hauling yourself out of bed to go to work, just remember that it is Eve’s fault. She had paradise, but, being the mother of all women, she was, of course, not quite satisfied. It’s one of those traits that is both annoying and charming at the same time.
I knew a fellow once whose wife was like that. He would buy a house and live there for no more than two years before his wife would be on him to move. Fortunately, he ran some waterfront bars and a bail-bond business and made a good bit of money. But I swear, I think the poor man must have bought six houses and moved seven times in the same city. A divorce would have been cheaper.
At any rate, true Southerners resist the curse of work as much as they can. I had some kin who just quit whatever job they had when the hunting season opened. I guess they figured they could always find another job, but a day missed hunting is a day missed forever.
A friend of mine in Louisiana who works on the offshore oil rigs said that the foreman, a fellow from Ohio, came up one morning and said:
"You guys could be earning all the overtime you want. We’ll let you work 60 or 70 hours. How come you guys only work 32 hours a week?"
"Cause," my friend replied, "we can’t get by on 24."
If you’ve ever been to Cajun Country in Louisiana, you’ll understand. Those are people who know how to enjoy life. They are famous eaters.
One of my favorite lines of history is the remark of a Virginia lady about the 10th Louisiana Regiment, which fought for Marse Robert in the War of Northern Aggression.
"The 10th Louisiana," she said, "eats everything in its path."
A more contemporary story some folks say is true is one in which two Cajuns, Mr. Hebert (pronounced "Abear") and Mr. Quibideaux, spied a flying saucer land in a swamp. The ramp came down, and a little green man walked out.
"What’s that?" inquired Hebert.
"I don’t know," said Quibideaux, "but get the rice started."
Well, actually that isn’t a true story, but it is a good example of Cajun humor.
I have to remind myself that folks up North have some fantastical ideas about the South due to those Hollywood writers who snort coke and love stereotypes. We are really the most normal people on earth, and as Hodding Carter once said, we will be polite right up to the point we get mad enough to kill you.
Note: Charley Reese is on medical leave. Until he returns, we will be running "The Best of Charley Reese."
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.