Tag Archives: Coke

What is the South?

16 Jan

This semester, my colleague is teaching Southern U.S. History, and, on the first day, he asked his students to answer a simple question – what is the South? As it turns out, the question is not as simple as it appears, and the students have been trying to answer it for a couple of days.Question

I have been listening to the discussion as it takes place outside of my office door, and it has brought to mind a blog that I recently read. The person wrote about how they wanted to visit a southern city because they had never been to one. They had been to New Orleans but did not think that counted. The Big Easy was too diverse to be truly southern.

I was taken aback by the blog because New Orleans is one of the most southern of cities. Apparently, the blogger thought that a southern city should be a place where people put on their camouflage caps and rebel flag t-shirts; hop into their pickup trucks; and crank up the country music station.

Of course, those people exist. However, the South is more than that. It has different geography. It had different foods. People speak with different accents. In short, the South is a diverse region, and New Orleans is a perfect example of that.

However, that does not answer the question that was asked of the students. What is the South? Well, it is a matter of perspective. It depends on area. It depends on race. It depends on the person who is answering the question.

Obviously, people have different opinions about the South. Some think of its faults, and others think of its more positive qualities. I can only think about it from my point of view. When I answer the question, this is what I come up with.

The South is:

drinking sweet tea.

having people from other parts of the country make fun of your accent when their accents are just as strange.

the Blues.

reading Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner.

not being able to live without air conditioning.

eating black-eyed peas and hog jowl on New Year’s Day.

driving on country roads on a Sunday afternoon.

being washed in the blood.

hiking the trails of the Great Smoky Mountains.

eating baloney on crackers with a little hot sauce on top.

growing up as a non-football player in a region that worships football players.

going to college football games and worshipping players on a Saturday afternoon.

listening to the Allman Brothers and the Marshall Tucker Band.

feeling shame when watching film of Bull Connor’s forces using fire hoses and dogs on protestors.

saying I want a Coke when ordering a soft drink and knowing that someone who calls it pop is from somewhere else.

attending a NASCAR race and thinking I could do that.

driving the Natchez Trace from Nashville to Natchez.

going to church and having a “dinner on the ground.”

walking in the footsteps of Elvis at Graceland.

drinking Jack Daniels.

eating at a locally owned Meat and Three.

greeting strangers as you walk past them.

knowing that the region has had some serious issues.

being proud of where I live despite knowing about those problems because there are some great things about it, too.

To me, that is the South.

George Taylor, the Robinson Family and Me

13 May

As I mentioned in the last post, I was put under anesthesia. The medical staff stuck a needle in my arm; put oxygen in my nose; and said that I would soon fall asleep. For a few seconds, I laid on my side and stared at a monitor. I wondered if this was really going to work.

Then, I was waking up in the recovery room. Someone asked me how I was doing and brought a Coke for me to drink. The rest of the time was a little fuzzy. My wife came in, and we talked to the doctor. They loaded me into a wheelchair and took me to the car. As we drove home, my mind began to clear up, and a name came to my mind.

George Taylor.

You may not recognize the name, but you may know his story. George was an astronaut sent on a deep space mission. To complete the trip, he and his crew had to be put into deep hibernation.Planet of the Apes

At some point, their spaceship crashed, and they were awakened from their sleep. To make a long story short, they got out of the ship and discovered that they were on a planet controlled by talking apes. George Taylor was Charlton Heston’s character in Planet of the Apes.

I started thinking about George because he must have had the same feeling that I did. He was placed in hibernation and, in his mind, immediately woke up. However, time had continued. I did not wake up in a world ruled by monkeys, but I did wake up after some time had passed. An hour passed for everyone around me, but, in my mind, it was only a few seconds.

Then, I started thinking about the Robinson family. You know the ones – John, Maureen, Judy, Penny and Will. They were placed in deep hibernation for their trip to Alpha Centauri. Oh yeah, Major Don West was put in there, too.Lost in Space

Anyway, things went awry when Dr. Zachary Smith tried to sabotage the mission and woke them up.

I bet they felt the same way as George. John, Maureen and their brood fell asleep one second and woke up the next. Instead of apes, they had a terrorist and a screwed up robot on their hands.

I say all of that to say this. Going under anesthesia made me think about time travel. Would placing people in hibernation for years work? Would they feel like that only seconds had passed instead of years? Here is something else. Is being put under anesthesia a form of mental time travel? From my point of view, it only took a few seconds for an hour to pass.

I have no idea, but I know that I did not wake up with a bunch of apes hovering over me.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

18 Aug

Yes, I lifted the title from a classic song written by Kris Kristofferson. It’s a great song made popular by Johnny Cash, but no one sings it like Kristofferson himself. Anyway, this post is not about the song. It’s about a regular Sunday morning at our house.

Necole always wakes up first, and her internal clock makes it happen. I have never had an internal clock that works like that. Mine always tells me to keep on sleeping. Mornings are the usual time for her to get things done around the house while everyone else is out of her way. However, I get the feeling that this morning was different and involved coffee, a chair, a blanket and the television.

Daisy Dog was the next one to wake up. I could feel her start to shift around on the bed. Then, the scratching began. That’s always the sign that she is awake. At some point, she will jump from the bed, and I get up to open the door for her. The rest of her morning has been filled with more lying around and looking out the window for rabbits.

I am the next person to arise, and this morning I arose earlier than usual. It was a combination of Daisy Dog and my knowing that tomorrow I will have to wake up early for real. Inservice begins. That means a day full of listening to people talk and a spirited game of Inservice Bingo.Bingo

Like I said, this morning came earlier than usual. With Necole all the way across the house, I texted her about the plans for the day. We had discussed trying a new church this morning, but that plan changed. Due to her mom’s birthday luncheon, the early service was the only one we could attend. We just didn’t see that one happening. Why?

Isabella is still asleep. She spent yesterday at the county fair and is probably to pooped to pop. Our county fair is the largest fair in the state. It’s really something to see.Wilson County Fair

Anyway, this has been a slow-moving morning. After getting out of bed, I got into the shower. I’m not someone who can be comfortable while feeling dirty. Once I am up, I need to get clean and get dressed. I usually don’t listen to the radio while in the shower, but, this morning, I was up early enough to catch “Big Orange Sunday” on 104.5 The Zone. It’s a show all about the University of Tennessee. It’s getting close to football season, so I need to get all of the information that’s out there.

After getting ready for the day, I wasn’t sure what to do. Usually, I head out, but there’s nowhere to go. Necole was watching country music videos. Daisy was looking out the window. Isabella was sleeping. I got on the computer. I hit all of the usual sites, but there’s not much to read.

That’s when I delved into the world of WordPress to see what was happening. That’s also when I decided to write this post. Now, I am in my office with crap piled on the desk. It is hard to understand how so much stuff can be accumulated in a short period of time.

Necole brought her bowl of cereal to the office and hung out for a few minutes. She’s big on breakfast. I’m not hungry when I first get up. Most times, I get a chocolate milk when I first get to work. At least, I used to. I think they have moved the snack bar from my building and put it somewhere else. That means that the only liquid available in my building is coffee. Wait, there is Coke. If there is one thing about caffeine, then it’s the fact that it’s better cold and carbonated than it is hot and in a cup.

That’s the morning so far. Now, let’s go out and see what the rest of the day will bring.

Cheeseburgers, Clocks and Albert Einstein’s Wife

21 Mar

Sometimes we have to search for something to write about, and other times subjects just appear. Today, I was struggling with ideas for tonight’s installment until I realized that it was happening right in front of me.

In my morning class, I brought out an activity that I have been using through the years to break up the monotony of lectures – for both me and the students. I ask them to list five people from history that they would like to have dinner with. When they are finished with their lists, I go around the room and ask who they wrote down. Then, we discuss one from each list. The parameters of choices are pretty wide. They can pick someone dead or living (living people have affected history too). In short, they can pick anyone famous. I allow this to show that history is not made up only of political leaders and other people who deem themselves important. Everyone takes part in the story of history. I also allow this to see what they are interested in.

As we went around the room, the usual suspects popped up. Jesus and Adolph Hitler have always been popular choices. (I wonder how often those two names have been used in the same sentence.) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln came up as well. I also get a lot of celebrities and athletes, but I was surprised to have a girl who wanted to meet Megan Fox. Some new names emerged, like William Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin and Super Tramp (you know, the band).

However, I was really surprised to hear someone say Albert Einstein’s wife. I know that there was a stunned look on my face as I asked, “Why Albert Einstein’s wife?” The following conversation took place.

“Because she is the one who did all of the work. No one would listen to her because she was a woman, so she put everything in his name. He was dumb. He didn’t even know how to tie his shoes.”

“I have never heard that. Where did you see this?”

“A friend told me. It’s like a conspiracy.”

“I’ll have to look into that. It is true that women did not have as many opportunities in those days, and I am sure she was an intelligent lady.”

I quickly moved on to someone else because I had nothing else to say. I did not want to quash a student’s interest in the subject, but I have never heard this theory before. Instead of making the student look bad, I said that was a very interesting idea that I wanted to investigate and would like them to investigate as well. Diplomatic, huh? I haven’t looked into this yet, but if you guys have ever heard about this please let me know. In the meantime, here is a picture of Albert Einstein’s wife along with Albert.

That was fun, but, as they say, the fun wasn’t over yet. I was starving when I left school. Rotary had corned beef and cabbage left over from a St. Patrick’s Day party. It was served with potatoes, and I wondered if the Irish started eating this beef and cabbage stuff when their potatoes went bad. If so, then serving them together is pretty ironic. Anyway, I was hungry and went into a drive-thru. The following happened.

“What can I get you today?”

“I would like a cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, pickle and lettuce. I would also like fries and a medium Coke. (In the South, all soft drinks are called Coke.)”

“I have a cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, pickle and lettuce. Fries and a medium Coke. Would you like cheese on your cheeseburger?”

Silence as I pondered that question and the origins of the universe which Albert Einstein’s wife theorized about.

“Sir?”

“I’m here.”

“Would you like cheese on your cheeseburger?”

“Yes. That would be good.”

“Drive to the first window please.”

After getting my cheeseburger with cheese, I headed home. At a red light, an old school station pulled ahead of me, and I noticed something strange in the rear window. There was a clock – a round clock that should be hanging on a wall. And it was keeping time. Next to the clock was a sticker that said, “I’m a Lover.” Perhaps, he was timing himself because he was, as The Dominoes would sing, a Sixty Minute Man.

I went home; ate my cheeseburger with cheese; thought about Mrs. Einstein and the Sixty Minute Man; and knew I had my blog post.