Within the next few months the communities around me will celebrate mules(mule days), pigs(swine time), and snakes (rattlesnake roundup). This seems to be the way we usher in the holidays.
And by celebrate I mean sell crafts, guns and funnel cakes. Ever the sportsmen, we in the deep south, honor and celebrate in ways I'm still discovering.
I write about this as if it is foreign to me, though I grew up in this nature -based region, but frankly it is a re-introduction to me. My family only attended a few of these festivals as I grew up, I suppose on most Saturdays we were at swim meets or reading, an introverted family's weekend.
I caught a glimpse of this type of gathering at our county fair this past week. Again something I never attended before. It was purely southern; from the nods, the denim, the ball caps and the ever present T-shirts. If I didn't know someone they wanted to know my family, to place me within reach. People strolled around together; family clans, neighborhood circles, church groups.
Lots of God Bless' and see y'all soon. Hard-earned dollars buying cotton candy and ring of fire rides.
Sometimes I forget what a grounding a small town is; yes, its an inability to see beyond but its also a solid sense of connection, a genuine community.
I can appreciate the oddities, see the charm a bit more now. I think in areas like this, where poverty covers half the population, celebrations have to be created, to be beacons of joy, guideposts through the year. I assume most families here have never taken their kids to Disneyworld, or even Six Flags, but I bet they go to the fair ever year. I bet they first got cane syrup and fried Twinkies at Swine Time. I bet they pass those memories down through the generations. They value animals, feel comfortable with anything wild.
While we will always have our rednecks and racists, we will also have our friendliness and our need to gather. We will celebrate random days because our grandparents did. We will get through the year, with cakes along the way.
And yes, I started out with I and grew into we.
I'm still discovering.