After a late lunch of Black Bean Burgers and salad, my best friends from childhood and I shared a crème brûlée and a few cups of coffee while we exchanged stories and memories of growing up in Jernigan. We never tire of each other, and the stories never grow too old to repeat.
Part of the beauty of “maturing” with lifelong friends is that each of us has pieces to a puzzle that the other two may not have. Between the three of us, we can construct a past that is complex and almost mythical.
The Amsterdam Café rocked as we repeated stories about the formidable Miss Meddye. For all her elegance, she was earthy, too, and overcame some struggles that her graceful manner belied. I have a piece of her china that survived a trip from Texas on a covered wagon.
There’s also a story, before our time, of what seems to have been a case of election fraud. When the number of votes in the Jernigan ballot box didn’t match the number of voters who had signed the register, the poll watcher’s explanation for the missing ballots was that he “ate them for breakfast.” And those stories are mild in comparison to some of the things we remember or grew up hearing about.
Once the sheriff asked my daddy if there was something in the water that caused there to be so many characters in our end of the county. When I was introduced to Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, I felt right at home. We, too, had our Compsons and our Snopeses.
When I see people staring like zombies at cell phones and iPads, I pity them. There is nothing on Facebook or Snapchat or Twitter that compares with watching the tapestry of real life being woven in front of our eyes, even if some of the stitches are loose or flawed.
Marian Carcache welcomes
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