Sweet Home Alabama
One or maybe two of you noticed probably the longest void of postings in nine years atÂ Fragments. Time was, I would have been getting emails after the first missing post, with regular readers wondering if I was okay, since in those early years, if I didn’t blog, I was injured or unconscious. The google surfers that comprise the majority of daily visit stats don’t seem to have noticed myÂ absence.
I have just returned from Birmingham, my home town until 1975, and fetched my mom back with me to spend Thanksgiving holidays in Virginia. We left the big city yesterday, heading north and east just ahead of a strong cold front that passed over us with great fanfare overnight.
The rare return “home” to Dixie always prompts a running inner dialogue of “then and now” and the “good ole days” while stalled in bumper to bumper traffic in places that were, in those times, “the country” and now, the worst examples of American suburbia. My lord, what have we done?
I came north with racial ruminations that could fuel a long essay, prompted by seeing “the Help” on Monday. Then I had dinner with a high school friend who has since been involved in racial justice issues in Birmingham, and who resurrected memories of the “minstrel show” tradition at my high school. Driving through our old neighborhood I remembered the black-white “wars” in 1964 between naive kids of both races who did not comprehend the seriousness of their mock battles on the power company land behind our house that year.
It struck me more than usual just how different our lifestyle choices are from most of those we knew in high school–and how the opportunities for adapting to the challenges of the coming decades differ between a locality engulfed in large-scale urbanism and our chosen and current home county devoted to small-scale agrarianism. I fear for my city friends in the years to come more than for my neighbors in Floyd. Herein, another long thread of thought, for a future blog post. Or not.