Whispering Pines

WRITING 02

One thing I’m going to miss up here. Have you ever heard the expression, “Whispering Pines”? It’s a real thing. The wind makes a distinctive sound when it blows through a forest of Southern Longleaf Pines. Listen long enough and you’d swear they were talking. There are evergreens here, too. Maybe one day I’ll find a grove and try them out, but I don’t think it’s going to be the same.

Still adjusting to life in central New York. In some ways it’s a lot different. In others, not so much. For instance, “redneck” is apparently a lifestyle choice. Now, in a sense I’ve always known that. Wherever I’ve been in the country, I’ve run into them. Remember, I’m from Mississippi, where the dichotomy was much simpler—you either were, or you weren’t. And birth, education, economic level, etc. had almost nothing to do with it. Like the alleged Progressive/Conservative split, it had a lot more to do with how your brain was wired than any well-reasoned philosophical position. However, I had always thought that the particular manner in which it expressed itself in the South was, pardon the expression, our own saltire to bear. So imagine my surprise the first time I saw the Confederate Battle Flag proudly displayed on a local pickup truck.

I have to admit, my gut reaction was WTF???

I figured it must have been another transplant from my general area, shrugged, and went on my way. Then I saw it again. And again. One? Okay, sure. Two? Maybe. Three? Hmmm. I’m seeing a pattern here. Granted, there were not nearly as many around as I was used to, but it was throwing me for a loop that I saw any at all. After all, this is New York. I mean, aside from New England, could you get more Yankee? What could the Battle Flag possibly mean to the people here?

Where I come from, people have given lots of reasons for flying the flag. Other than the real one, I mean, but “Heritage” is the favorite these days. So? From that standpoint it really is my heritage. I own that. I respect the people who fought and died for a cause they believed in. The Cause itself? Not so much. Bigotry and fear convinced a bunch of poor whites to ignore their own best interests to protect the livelihood of a bunch of rich slave owners who, to be charitable, didn’t give a tinker’s damn about them. Looking at the current political situation, you start to see that not a lot has changed. So that whole “Heritage, not Racism” thing? Yeah. Gonna have to call bullshit on that.

Unless by “Heritage” you mean “Got Fooled Again.”

Advertisements