DELTA DAYS, TALES OF THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA
I have wanted to write about growing up in the Mississippi Delta most of my adult life, but raising kids and earning a living kept getting in the way. I retired a couple of years ago and found the time and motivation to do it. I spent the first six years of my life in Ruleville, Mississippi, a small town in Sunflower County in the heart of cotton country. When I was nine my family moved to Cleveland, Mississippi, a slightly larger town just ten mile away.
These stories are set in a fictional town I call Cumberland, which is a composite of both of the little towns of my youth. Most of the characters are composites of several people that I grew up with. The stories themselves are what I describe as fictional truth or truthful fiction. There is an underlying element of fact in each of them, but I have taken literary license and embellished each to make a more interesting tale.
The first story is A Christmas Tale and tells of my earliest memories of Christmas in 1944. Lights on the Levee tells of my first duck hunt and touches on the post war period in the Deep South. In Bobbie Jean’s Boobs, I deal with that angst filled period of pre-teen puberty that tends to baffle most adults. How quick we forget.
In Burning the Boats, I try to convey the a sense of the systemic changes that were taking place in the early fifties. Sharecropping was giving way to mechanization and the greatest peaceful migration of people took place as millions of black sharecroppers left the farms and sought jobs in the industrial north. It also will give you an idea of how quail hunting was in Mississippi prior to creek to creek farming.
Royal Ambassadors is a tale of pre-little league baseball and down home religion and August 15th tells about that all important Southern rite of passage, the first day of high school football. The equally important Southern rite of passage, your first sip of bourbon, is the theme of Hello Colonel Lee.
Teen age pranks that escalate to a much higher level than intended, and thus result in unanticipated consequences, are the subject of Bombs Away. This tale gives the reader and idea of how our world was virtually unsupervised and how much freedom we enjoyed compared to kids today.
When the Mississippi National Guard returned from mobilization in the Korean War, we were able to lie about ages and enlist. Weekend Warriors tells about fifteen and sixteen year old infantrymen heading for summer training. An Evening with Marvin tells of playing high school football against a future All American. A Liberal Education and Geronimo deal with College life in the 1950’s.
My hope is that the reader of the tales will have an opportunity to share for a moment the magic and mystique of a place and a time that has faded into our memories. The Mississippi Delta was a great place to grow up.