Archive for the ‘Southern Gothic’ Category

When I was a kid, we used to chase these wild, flightless birds called guineas around my grandparents’ farm. There wasn’t much to do at the farm, and chasing wild birds was about as exciting as it got. No matter how fast we ran after those guineas, we never caught up to them. That was part of the fun. We just ran around and around. But the other day at the farmers’ market, I finally caught one.

Until I encountered guineas at the farmer’s market, I wasn’t actually sure that “guinea” was a real word that you were allowed to say without getting into trouble. Sort of like “chiggers,” those little burrs that stick to your clothes out in the country, “guinea” seemed like a word that–even if it technically acceptable on say, Wikipedia–was probably not something you should just throw around casually.

Michael Pollan writes eloquently in The Omnivore’s Dilemma about the virtues of knowing what it takes to bring a plate of food to the table. And particularly with meat, he makes a good case for getting more in touch with what you’re eating. Chicken isn’t just something that’s available shrink-wrapped or in buckets from KFC. It’s a living, breathing thing that has to die at some point in order for you to be nourished. But all of Pollan’s well-crafted prose on the matter is no match for this face, which speaks for itself.

Yes, the French poultry man at the farmer’s market leaves the heads on his guineas. He also informed me that he particularly enjoys roasting and eating “zee brains,” but I wasn’t quite ready to go there. So I chopped off the head before I stuck this once living thing into my oven. But it wasn’t easy. As you can see, she didn’t look too happy about being turned into dinner.

Ultimately, the guinea turned into a great, if somewhat haunting, meal. Any friend of mine or reader of this blog knows I’m a dedicated carnivore. Maybe staring a meal in the face once in a while is the price I have to pay for the privilege of eating another living creature. On the other hand, maybe this guinea was just particularly pissed because she knew I was not just a carnivore, but a guinea chaser, too.

Jeff Lynne’s take on this issue:


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Garden & Gun

I subscribed to Garden & Gun magazine a couple of months ago (after it was recommended by our friend Elizabeth) and was thrilled to receive my first issue this week. After finally finishing Ellen Gilchrist’s Nora Jane, and before diving into Dolly, I picked up the magazine and read it from cover to cover.


As Ben can attest, I am a bit of a magazine junkie. I think I subscribe to at least 12 and probably buy a few more at the stand each month. I have neither a garden nor a gun, but this magazine is definitely a standout for me. From the coverage of the Avett Brothers and scuppernongs to the piece about firefly conservation and the feature on Archie Burchfield and croquet, I think Garden & Gun is delivering on their “Soul of the New South” promise. Who knows? Maybe it will lead to a new hobby.

cabelas gun

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Shear Heaven

When we passed this sign in La Grange, Texas, I demanded that we turn around and go back for a photo.

shear heaven

Conveniently located just across the road from the cemetery, I have to wonder if Curl Up and Dye gets most of the funeral business in town. I imagine the beauty parlor from Steel Magnolias and the Truvy type carefully coifing and making-up the local dead.

When my Grandmother died, I went to the Statesboro Clinique counter in search of lipstick to wear to her funeral. She always wore lipstick and encouraged me to, so I thought she would approve. The woman working there quickly selected a berry shade and told me that it would be perfect. Then she leaned in and whispered that if I got up to the casket and found Grandma looking a little pale, I could pull out that same tube and give her a quick touch-up.

I suppose Berry Freeze is the perfect color for everyone.

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Pet Cemetery

I love animals. I’ve had lots of them over the years, and our dog Jaxon is one very special little lady. But every time I travel home to Statesboro, it seems there’s something strange going on with my parents’ animals. During college, I returned one Thanksgiving to find our beagle Molly had been put down several months earlier. After Mother backed over the neighbor’s cat with her car, people in town started to joke that if you had too many pets, you just needed to pay a visit to the Price house.

On our most recent Statesboro trip, Ben and I thought we’d be coming home to a pet-free house. Mother told us in advance that she had given away the two remaining cats. One was found dead on their porch a couple of weeks after that move, but I like to think that the other, our black Persian names Xerxes, is living the good life with a nice family somewhere.

Well, my parents’ house may be free of animals, but the backyard is full of feral cats.  Mother insists upon feeding them, and they have multiplied.

This orange tomcat was the mangiest of the bunch.

cat 1

He’s giving me the evil eye.

cat 2

He makes a run for it. Right in the direction of a busy street. That a boy!

cat 3

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