Sunday, 11 December 2016

2 Worlds

by Charlotte Hamrick

The outsiders blew into town drivin’
just a little too fast in their fancy foreign
car laughin’ at our roadside yard sales
and our little café, Lita’s Chicken Shack, where
you can get a blue plate special of turnip
greens, sweet potatoes, cornbread, your
choice of three meats, sweet tea and a
slice of Lita’s caramel cake every Friday of
your life for $5.95. They stopped and nosed
around the 45’s and the LP’s thinkin’ we
wouldn’t know a “vintage” Blues record if
it hit us in the face but, truth is, we’re the
ones been singin’ that tune since
we sat in the pea-pickin’ basket along side
our mothers in the fields, daddy plowin’
with Ole Daisy pushin’ up clods of red earth
getting’ ready for the next crop to be planted.

They rifle through the clothes on the line makin’
faces and actin’ like we might have cooties but
then they set their city asses down in the
best corner booth in Lita’s, the one where the
boys from the shirt factory in Pontotoc
usually eat on Friday’s – they gonna be
fit to be tied when they come in and find
outsiders in that booth. But, bein’ brought
up with good southern manners, they’ll
just tip their hats to ‘em and take a table in
the middle of the room where they have to
watch out for the young’uns playin’ on the
floor with their legos.

Seems like they don’t much like the menu
but, bein’s this is the only place in town
to eat, they ask for water (probly don’t
know it’s from the tap) and eat most everything
but the greens, makin’ their funny faces again, I
guess they don’t know what real southern eatin’
is (like they don’t know real blues) but they sure
did eat up that caramel cake, well, you’d have
to be crazy not to like Lita’s cake anyway. They
pay the check and flounce outa the café, get
in their shiny foreign car and drive off, just like

that. Us, we just smile and talk amongst ourselves
‘bout the funny ways of city folk, always livin’ life
in a hurry and thinkin’ the blues is just “vintage music”
played by some old black men in the country, never
thinkin’ any day they could be singin’ that tune too.

* * * * *

 "2 Worlds" was first published in Dew On the Kudzu, a zine specializing in southern writing, in 2012.

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