Thursday, April 03, 2008

Where Lincoln Walked

[Totally Optional Prompts asked us to think regionally and the place in my poem is imprinted in my DNA. You can see other regional works here.]

Where Lincoln Walked

Put that bacon back!
We don't need no crawdads
and you'll get filthy down by the branch.

Warsh your hands, now!
We'll go downtown to Cain's Drugstore
for Mrs. Cain's chili.

Don't dawdle and make us late!
You know she only makes chili once a week
and it sells out early.

She never gives out the recipe to no one.
I know there's meat and kidney beans
and elbows, but the rest is a secret.

After dinner lets drive down to
see the folks at Farmer's Cemetery,
and then we can stop and see Leila.

I don't know why she don't fix up her plumbing.
The pump on the kitchen sideboard is alright,
but the outhouse is hard on my old behind.

While we're there we'll drive past our
forty acres. There ain't much to see yet,
but if it stays dry the beans will go in soon.

When we get back I'll make sausage and biscuits for supper.
I'll make cream gravy and I already baked angel
cake this morning. It's resting upside down on the porch.

I'm so glad it's spring. The nekkid ladies are up
in the side yard. The pink is so pretty!
You know after they die down, the greens come up.

Soon the lilacs'll bloom and after that
the piney bushes. Hey! Are you listening?
Climb down out of that redbud tree!

[I played fast and loose with the time line, drawing from what I remember & also from stories I was told so many times. Here's a glossary, for those who need it:
= crawdads are crayfish, a freshwater crustacean that kids were fond of trying to catch
= branch is the "town branch" of a small river, a creek
= warsh is how "wash" was pronounced when I was growing up
= Cain's Drugstore had a lunch counter in it
= Mrs. Cain was famous for her chili that really was a secret recipe for many, many years
= elbows are elbow macaroni
= dinner is the mid-day meal
= "the folks" at the cemetery were all buried
= I think Leila was my grandmother's cousin
= 40 acres is nothing down there, but it was farmland
= the beans to be planed were soybeans
= angel cake is angel food cake. It cooled upside down on a wooden rest someone had knocked together
= nekkid ladies were "naked ladies" a kind of flower with a pale stem and pale pink flowers and the greens really did come up later, as if it was a separate plant
= piney bushes are peony shrubs
= redbud trees are weed trees, but there was one giant one that was great for climbing!]


paisley said...

this was classic.... i am wondering because of the lincon reference if you are from kentucky as that is where he was born.. and i know if you were anywhere near cincinnati,, they have a chili fetish up there!!!!!

Stan Ski said...

Kinda reminds me of the Bevely Hillbilies, and the sort of expressions they would use.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Paisley. Southern Illinois, actually.

Hello, Stan. Thanks for the laugh. And you are not far off on the sounds, in some ways.

anthonynorth said...

Wherever it is, it's perfect.

tumblewords said...

I sure get a Midwest feel for this - visually appealing!

sister AE said...

Thanks, Anthony.

Hi, Sue. Thanks.

Greyscale Territory said...

Always love reading of alternative lifestyles.

You have created an utterly fascinating picture. I have learnt heaps too!


Linda said...

I love this! All the specifics are done so well!

sister AE said...

Hi, Gemma. Thanks.

Hello, Linda. I'm glad you like it.