ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Living On The Dark Side of Dixie

Updated on June 28, 2014

I kin hear the music and angels chime

Source

Dad and daughter living best they can

Source

Where'd I come from?

(Writer’s note: Writers, both of book, essay and song, have tried to capture just how deporable the living conditions were in the early south. This is “my” attempt to capture those painful feelings that came to visit those downtrodden people everyday of their lives. If I have failed, I do not mind. At least I tried. Kenneth).

Yeah, I came from a shimmed-up, beaten-up shanty a sharecropper would call “heaven.” It had a roof with two leaks, the wooden-floor has ants, other men’s pants, snakes and splinters, yeah, mama, I was proud to be from the south. Iron skillets and greasy pans, my mama’s soft skin was blisters on her hands, but papa, bless his soul, stayed on the dirt five days, and in the dirt the other two. Yeah, mama, Jesus loves me. I still have one shirt, and can write down my name.

Devil whikkey, demon in glass, hard rains, old pains, painted eyes and ice. That was papa’s life. Swearin’ Monday he’d quit ‘til Sat-tidy, yeah, mama. I am from the south—Greenville, Delta, Greenwood Springs. Vardaman, Hauca, and Indianola Springs. White, black, B.B. too--hungry for Blues, and soles on my shoes.

Modern shacks is all that's changed

Source

How'd we live?

Raised dem swine, sucked my wine, lied to girls livin’ in pine. Yeah, mama. She left me whilst it was dark—never seed it comin,’ she smelt like my pillow and two days back, we laid in the shade of my willow. What a gal. Wanted my scratch and an open latch. Yeah, mama, can’t leave my south with Big Pink rollin’ from inside my mouth.

Plowstock, city block, what does it mean? Work, die, live and sing. Funeral pyres, pusher’s jar, and papa’s drunk again. Sunrise six, bacon raw. Fire’s out, mama, where on earth did your girlhood go? Drag my bones against the coals, sinning my time, working the sod, crying for God and brother ain’t here anymore. Sweatin’ my love to early death—getting’ my meals in poison seed, oh Lord, if ye’ hear me, take me quick, for my tongue can barely lick.

Yeah, mama, I know the song—are ye’ listenin’? I wanna sang . . .

Saddness thicker'n darkness

Source

My song. My words

“Wish I wasn’t in the land for-gott-en . . .we use-ta’ grow wheat, corn and cotton . . .what a day . . .what a day . . .what a day . . . Memory Land.”

“Oh, I wish you were the Dix-ie, to-day, to-day . . .In Dix-ie, man, I sell my stand . . .to fall and die in Dix-ie . . .to-day . . . to-day . . .away from poor man’s whi-kkey.”

Pretty good, huh, mama? I missed one verse, but you know, mama, why’s that hearse ridin’ gravel roads to us with loads? Can ye’ tell me that? I sits on the porch--you cook and hum . . . count ‘em . . .one, two . . . three . . .Delbez, Dixen, Poor Lily too . . .why the hearse drive so slow . . .mama, please know! Mama, please know! My sun’s down again, mama. I sleep in the dirt in the shade of “the cross” at night . . .yeah, mama. The dark part of the south is mine. All mine.

Hate the dew on my sore feet, mama. “Jake,” is getting’ too old to pull dis plow and I can’t tend these four-acres by my lonesome, mama. Nobody seems to “neighbor us,” with fatback, beans, and cornpone . . . some plague hit ‘em I guess. Come up, “Jake,” let’s break some clods. And iffen ye’ gets tired, gest stop an’ nod. Hey, mama. This is the south. The crueling South.

Mama, don’t scorn me so. My feet’s dirty, I know, but the plowin’s done. Got dinnuh ready? Mama? What you mean, no water? Ol’ Jess’ll fetch ye’ some. Mama, reckon I’ll ever get me a woman? Oh, I need to live heah. Mama, I’m a naturally-growed man with needs my life . . .oh Lawd, just to have one dime, and wouldn’t ye’ know it, the rusty ol, beat-up pump is needin-a prime.

Sharecropper heaven

Source

Mama, pleeze lemme go!

Oh, mama, that’ll be fine . . .I kin hear thu music and angels’ chime . . .Lemme stand heah, mama, no harm in dat, I can feel “his” dark hand ‘round me . . .brittle, cold, and flat. Mama Hard tack’s good, mama. Red peaches in the pie was Okay sumthin too. Supper? Oh, just hush myself, bathe myself and sleep. Oh, mama. Why is life suh bad? I be blind if it wuz good. Oh, Lawd, why we still living heah? Tell me! Lawd don’t talk tuh sinner folk, that’s what a radio preacher spoke, but all we knows is sufferin,’ starvin,’ beggin’ and broke.

Run heah, mama! Read to me . . . Blues man Hopkins and Howlin’ what? Com—ing to . . .Green—wood for one s-how . . .tonite, mama! Tonite! Canst I go, mama? Oh, Lawd, mama, I needs tuh go---lissen to some songs, talk to Sissy Jean and fuhget who and whose I be. What, mama? Lets it be? Sin’s on foot—walkin’ at me, Mama, pleeze! They ain’t no getting’ fuh me! I gives dirt my blood, you my love, the Lawd my soul, look, mama! Muh hands, eyes, and back’s-a getting’ old! And look, mama, the leaves is gone, and time’s getting cold.

Gest one time, mama. Gest once, let’s me be uh man, standin’ sure, an’ holdin’ “her” hand . . .I don’t’s wants the front uv his stage, out da fence will be gest fine . . .mama, pleeze! Can I git papa’s old hat? I ain’t wore city clothes since the day we lay him flat . . .pleeze, mama! . . .

, I’ze goin’ . . .little at a time . . .a measured life with bloody twine . . .ne’er knowin’ what wuz mine . . .see that muh seed gets thu sun . . .for mama, “Ol’ Jess’ work in dis natchel hell is done.

Got wooden floors with splinters, ants, and snakes

Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, sheilamyers,

      Sharecropping was a noble work and my dad was a sharecropper. We did not know how poor we were even in northwest Alabama during the mid-50's and early 60's, but once I sat foot into the city school system having been thrown from the rural schooling system our state used to support, I knew I was in a culture shock.

      But oh what good times that were interwoven into the bad.

      Thanks, Sheila, for your friendship and following.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      PegCole17,

      Thank you, dear friend, for the sweet comments. I have told you and others that I was the son of a sharecropper and those memories do not leave.

      But this was about the lands of the Delta toward Clarksdale, Miss., Indianola and that region in the old south.

      It was by the grace of God that people even survived.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Treasuresofheaven,

      Thank you for your kind words. They moved me. And I agree. We do not know how blessed we really are.

      Thanks again. Things like this piece grieve me to depression.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Ann1Az2,

      Thank you, dear friend, for the sweet words.

      You and your comments mean so much to me.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      tirelesstraveler,

      Thanks for the insightful comment, but this wasn't about Hispanics, but the poverty-stricken places over in the Delta lands of Mississippi a few years after the Civil War and when our nation was still one race in dominate positions.

      Still, it could be interpreted as what you viewed.

      But your line, "beautiful piece of work," put a lump in my throat.

      My sincere thanks.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Except for the hunger, ants and splinters people are trying to live in tiny houses and have only one pair of pants again calling it minimizing and sustainable. Strange what people think.

      Must confess I thought the little houses guest workers lived in during harvest in the central valley were neat. There was nobody there after harvest. The workers all went home to Mexico the rest of the year. Those houses looked lonely when they were empty. This is a beautiful piece of work.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 

      4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I think you described conditions pretty realistically. Well done and the photos are perfect.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 

      4 years ago

      My mom has told me stories about the people you describe. She was raised in Tennessee and knew many of the sharecroppers and other poor people. I love how you wrote the hub using all of the words as you did.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This was awesome, Kenneth. You've captured the language and rhythm of Dixie along with the tribulations of the poor. I recognize many of these terms from my southern roots and from my Daddy who was raised by a sharecropper in South Georgia. These pictures truly speak volumes.

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 

      4 years ago from Michigan

      You did an amazing job capturing the language and the photos to go along with the story-line. Living in the South wasn't easy long ago - just don't know how blessed we are.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)