A Southern writer reminisces about the South.
In these short essays, Poland (Classic Carolina Road Trips from Columbia, 2014, etc.), who grew up in Georgia and South Carolina, recounts the highs and lows of his Southern childhood and laments the loss of traditions that have disappeared since he was a child. He writes about the use of the joggling board as a courting method, when people swept their yards instead of mowing the grass, and how “no self-respecting society woman was without her fan [in church] when a hot and humid Sunday rolled around.” The author chronicles his wanderings of dirt roads in search of old corn mills and white lightning, or moonshine, explores the way kudzu has taken over vast acres of land, and analyzes why he doesn’t hunt but loves the idea of hunting. The essays are expressive and simple, like a brief conversation between a grandparent and grandchild in which elder seeks to impart a sense of the past to the younger generation before the memories and places fade away or are replaced by strip malls and factories. There is a sense of melancholy throughout the narrative, as Poland relates the history of the land and its people, their traditions, lifestyles, and general Southern culture. He urges readers to “cherish today, but never forget the past. It helped make us who we are.” For those who love tidbits about the olden days in the Deep South, Poland’s slow-moving prose will rekindle fond memories, and readers looking for a taste of what the South once was before industrialization and commercialization moved into the region will find pleasing moments to ponder.
Short, old-fashioned, descriptive memories of the South from one man’s perspective.