Wednesday, June 26, 2013
by LeMyra Young
Editor’s note: Te following is a reprint of LeMyra’s column from May 25, 2005.LeMyra has been busy taking care of her mom and asked that this column bereprinted this month.
MemoriesMemories are precious. Memories are something that cannot be taken away romou. Memories bring you great comort and joy. Memories can sustain you throughdicult times. Memories allow you to remember rom where you came and lookorward to where you are going. Memories are God’s gif rom thepast or the uture.
ruly Southern, ruly Wagener
Several weeks ago, I was reading an editorial in Te State paper; the gist o thecolumn was that all things southern are ast becoming “diluted and commodied,”resulting in the loss o the “authentic South,” again. I read the words “authenticSouth,” several times, mulling over just what encompasses “authentic South?” Now,having lived my entire 59 years in the South, I should be an authority on all that issouthern, at least Wagener southern.Te rst thing I thought about is how we place emphasis on kin. I can still hearmy grandmother Leila reer to “Cousin Jimmy,” or “Cousin Agnes,” or some othersuch relationship. She took great pride in knowing her amily and claiming kin tothem all. She passed this characteristic to my mother, who in turn has handed itdown to me. I like nothing better than to delve into a amily tree, whether it is my own or that o someone else. Most new-comers to Wagener are wise to quickly learnamily connections and then still be careul when saying something about someone,or invariably you will be speaking about someone’s relative.Another truly Wagener quality is the way in which we identiy people. Ann, my brother Charlie’s wie, (having been born and reared in Columbia) was in or a littleculture shock when she moved to Wagener twenty our years ago. For rom the rstday she moved into town, she has been known as “Little Charlie’s” wie, sinceGranddaddy Charlie has always been considered “Big Charlie.”However, the identity tags that we give to people are not just in Wagener. Iremember the last Christmas season beore Daddy closed the Red and White. Itwas several days beore New Year’s Day, and Daddy was getting ready to go to theFarmer’s Market in Columbia. It was unusually cold, and he was trying to decidewhether to go at his usual 3:30AM or wait until daylight. Te decision was soonmade or him. He said that the “sweet potato woman” had called and told him thatshe would not be on the market until aer 9:00AM; she was araid that the sweetpotatoes would reeze. Daddy said to her, “How did you know that I was planning tocome in the morning instead o my usual uesday?” She replied, “Te ‘collard man’told me!” … “ the sweet potato woman and the collard man,” truly southern. I think another truly Wagener trait is being on a rst name basis with the localundertaker. I remember when my husband Garry’s ather passed away, Garry’samily rom ulsa, Oklahoma was in Wagener or the uneral. And o course, onthe day o the uneral, the amily had been provided a very big dinner by churchand community riends. We invited Hubert Blizzard o Blizzard’s Funeral Home toeat with us. Hubert was seated at the table next to Garry’s mother. Aer eating orawhile, she turned to Hubert and said, “Hubert, go get me some tea.” And Hubertgot up and got her some tea. We all had a good laugh, including Mrs. Young. Garry’sOklahoma amily is still not too sure about our relationship with Hubert. And Ithink also that it is unique to the South that we celebrate the lie o an individualwhen he dies by congregating at the uneral home to not only pay respect to theamily o the deceased, but also to see old riends and share precious memories. And where else but the South can the truly southern dish …grits… be the centero any and every meal three times a day? A meal can be made rom grits and baconand eggs, or grits and milk gravy and biscuits, or grits and tomato gravy and cornbread or my most avorite: grits and butter and toast. And it is in the South thatdinner is the meal in themiddle o the day and not at night. Te night meal issupper. I remember several years ago that Garry and I were visiting in the homeo Capers and Pat Asbill in Ridge Spring, South Carolina. Garry and Pat taught atRidge Spring High School many years beore Capers joined them to teach there also.Garry and Pat were in their own conversation and Capers and I were talking aboutamily kinship. He and I could go on orever about our southern roots. Out o theblue, Pat turned to me and asked, “LeMyra, what do you call the meal in the middleo the day?” I immediately replied, “DUNNAH!” She said, “I can’t believe you saidthat. Tat is just what Capers calls it!” Well, actually, I do normally say “dinner,”however, I knew that Capers likes to sometimes put a little extra emphasis to his al-ready truly Southern drawl and that “dunnah” would be his choice o pronunciation.Now that I am thinking about ood and eating, what is more truly southern thanhush puppies? Hush puppies are like grits, they can be eaten with just about any meal. Garry likes my hush puppies so much that on more than one occasion whenwe have been eating out and have ordered hush puppies, he has inormed the “cook”and once the restaurant owner, “You should get my wie’s hush puppy recipe.” Ialways think, now that cook is really going to be impressed with my meal, four, andcold water concoction. However, it is not original to me but to Myra Fogle. Anothertruly Wagener, truly southern item is the boiled peanut. However, not all o thesouthern states are amiliar with the boiled peanut. One summer when Garry wasworking in Virginia, I tried to buy boiled peanuts and the people there thought Ihad lost my mind. But that is alright, because I know that i they ever tasted boiledpeanuts that they would soon discover what we in truly Wagener have been enjoy-ing or a long time the truly southern, truly Wagener boiled peanut. Why just up theroad we have the nationally amous “Pelion Peanut Party,” and they boil them by thebushels.I love my South, my truly southern, truly Wagener roots. I love my grits and my hush puppies and my middle o the day “dunnah” meals. But most o all, I love my truly southern, truly Wagener amily and riends. Tere is no place like home.