The Root of the South’s Downfall

“The first time I saw my father-in-law’s cotton, I though of the Original Sin, gardening being the root of the South’s downfall.”

― Michael Lee West, She Flew the Coop: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana

The McKinney Cotton Mill at Sunset, McKinney, Texas

A Month of Short Stories 2014, Day 19 – A Good Man is Hard to Find

A year ago, for the month of June, I wrote about an online short story each day for the month. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.

Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year.

Today’s story, for day nineteen – A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor

Read it online here:

A Good Man is Hard to Find

When I was a little kid and we had to go on a long driving trip I would calculate the odds of us not arriving at our destination alive. That’s not normal for a little kid – but somehow the actual act of doing the calculations were a comfort to me. I knew the terrible stuff was there and my thinking, research, and ciphering gave me solid evidence that there was at least a possibility of getting through alive and uninjured.

In A Good Man is Hard to Find Bailey and his family, especially his monster of a mother, don’t do a very good job of calculating the odds – and pay for it.

What a great story. What horror.

I don’t know what is worse – the thought of the murderous Misfit and his henchmen out there waiting for you, shirtless, armed, merciless. Or the thought of being cooped up in a car for hours and hours with that Grandmother.

She didn’t want to go to Florida. In the end, she didn’t have to. Be careful of what you don’t wish for.

This is a story about the two sides of evil – real, horrible evil… and the small evil of self-centred ignorance. It is a story about grace – which seems to always come too late. And it is a story about the world and the doom that it presents.

Above all, it is a story.

They stopped at The Tower for barbecued sand- wiches. The Tower was a part stucco and part wood filling station and dance hall set in a clearing outside of Timothy. A fat man named Red Sammy Butts ran it and there were signs stuck here and there on the building and for miles up and down the highway saying, TRY RED SAMMY’S FAMOUS BARBECUE. NONE LIKE FAMOUS RED SAMMY’S! RED SAM! THE FAT BOY WITH THE HAPPY LAUGH. A VETERAN! RED SAMMY’S YOUR MAN!

William Hawkins CSA

The other day Candy and I were walking through Uptown Dallas on our way to the DART station at Citiplace when we passed by an old cemetery. It’s Greenwood Cemetery. Like most old cemeteries it’s a peaceful historic place.

As we walked by, I turned and shot a simple photo of a simple veteran’s tombstone.

Everybody is used to seeing old cemeteries and everybody is used to seeing veteran’s graves. But unless you live in the southern states you aren’t used to seeing tombstones marked CSA.

Here, of course, Confederate graves are all too common.