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Just Good Enough

2008 Cricket Diane C “Sparky” Phillips
Cricket House Studios

Southerners are a little suspect, I suppose, since they talk different and act funny. But, the Southern families I know had a war that was fought from their kitchen tables and out in their own fields and yards.

In fact, I think its why a lot of Southern families seem to demand a nice stretch of mowed grass in their front yards. They “wanna see ‘em comin’.”

Having been born essentially a Southerner from several generations of Southerners on both sides of the family and both sides of the War, I was an insider with two feet outside the door. I wasn’t born in the South and we lived a lots of places but we always came “home” and behind closed doors, ours was a little bit of the South for all intents and purposes.

There’s a lot of military people in the South and throughout my life, I’ve hovered around their dinner tables more than a time or two, both in my own family and others. Now, I’ve been to some other family dinner tables for comparison and I’m here to tell you, its different.

Probably because their War was fought from here and the kitchen table and dining room table served as a workbench, gun cleaning shop, ammunition reloading spot, boardroom for planning, kitchen table science and invention worktable and a place to sew tents, quilts, socks, blankets, pouches, belts and saddles, these rules I found were understandable.

When I go in someone’s house that has a kitchen table, dining room table or coffee table that is empty as a magazine picture – my first thought is, “don’t live here – they don’t.” And I know, they don’t have any Southerners in the family or they’re trying to pretend they don’t. And, it can really be either one, but it does mean that there are skill groups that they don’t consider to be activities done at home, for whatever reasons.

I’ve noticed too, that because I’m an “outsider” and a Yankee to boot, the ways I look at how Southerners handle things are not really to be trusted. And, I wouldn’t ask for that trust anyway. I was taught growing up to be trustworthy to the greatest measure of my ability but discourage others from offering a blanket trust to me, not to expect it nor to ever demand it. This just makes common sense really because sooner or later, my being human will get in the way and even once, I will let them down in some way. They may as well expect it and stay on their toes so it doesn’t cost all of us “too much.”

This may not be an actual Southern thing, but I sure did find it in the bootlegging families of the South and in the North Carolina mountain families of Southerners we had come from. After the government marched off with the Cherokee Indians and sent revenuers up into those hills, Southern families there didn’t see the US government the same way. And, “war is where you have it.” “You haven’t got to go find it – it will always find you.” They explained that to me pretty accurately from where they are sitting.

Anyway, I had noticed some similarities over the years and decided that maybe some folks don’t know the “Heroes’ Welcome” that some military, police folks and our guerrilla fighters, SWAT team members, bomb squad bunch and sniper specialists get when they’re at home.

I thought I’d share it with you in honor of Memorial Day 2008. And its just as true today in the twenty-first century as it was in 1953, (or 1932, I suppose.)

Note – if I get run out of Atlanta for the writing of this, how ‘bout remembering I was here and come get my children and their families out of shooting range . . .

They showed me the hanging tree when I first got here, and I sure don’t need to see it now.

The Southern Gentleman’s Guide To Warfare –
“A Heroes’ Welcome At Home”

1. You can kick the shit out of our enemies but don’t you do no “talking ugly.”

2. Do not expect banana pudding after dinner, if you’re talking blood and guts at the dinner table.

3. There are some things you best not tell anybody, but you damn sure better not keep from family.

4. Blood is thicker than water – the military didn’t bring you into this world and they’re not the ones going to come get you outta some mess. Your family comes first, its your birthright and your blood goes all the way back to Jesus and Joseph and Mary. So you better keep it in mind.

5. Don’t talk ugly – if you can say it, you can say it in a nice way because that reflects on your family and your upbringing.

6. The family’s reputation is everything. We don’t need the “neighboors” or them church people hearing about what you do for a living.

7. Its alright to tell it – not to detail it. We all know about guts and glory – just say you work for the government and leave it at that – everybody will know what you mean.

8. “If I’ve seen a John Wayne movie once, I’ve seen it a thousand times” – you don’t need to tell us what we’ve already seen in them movies.

9. If somebody’s arm got broke off – its up to you to put it back on unless they’re dead already. There’s just no excuse for sloppy. It’s ‘bout derelict. Doesn’t matter how it got that way.

10. All discharges of firearms, guns and other stuff you gotta use for your job aren’t to be done in the backyard up near the house. Don’t get down by the dawg pen neither – you ain’t shootin’ my dawg with your nonsense.

11. Guns, knives, machetes, shotguns, rifles, m-5’s and anything else that looks like a rocket launcher are not to be cleaned on the dinner table where we gotta eat later (unless you’re gonna clean it up good once you’re done.)

12. Don’t put gun cleaning products and stuff for your bomb squad on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinets where we got the aspirins and doctor medicines.

13. If anybody from Church, asks if you are related to us . . .
And you better tell ‘em no and if they say anything, tell ‘em to come talk to me.

14. Don’t you say you know us to anybody ‘round here. We got a reputation to protect and we don’t need anybody to go messin’ that up any. Just say, you “ain’t from ‘round here.”

15. Well, just don’t say that I didn’t warn you, we done told you to stay out of the military in the first place. We don’t need to hear about it now that you’ve gone and done it. We done told you the government don’t never get it right whenever they do anything – the only hope they got is that they got you working for ‘em now.

And, don’t be taking the maps out of the glove box in the car, we need those when we go up to the mountains – surely, them military people gave y’all some maps you can read . . .

and don’t take the camp shovel that collapses on itself neither. If they hadn’t got one – they sure don’t know what to do with it.

You don’t need ours to get the job done – you need to send them shopping for some of the right stuff to get the job done. We can’t help them with everything –

them military geniuses up there in Washington need to get their ears on and do something about it. They can buy damn near anything in the world but can’t get a collapsin’ camp shovel that works good? Who hired them damn people in Washington anyway?

Written by Cricket Diane C. “Sparky” Phillips
Cricket House Studios, Atlanta, Ga., USA1
“Creating the Tangible from the Impossible Every Day.”
(“The Illuminati of One.”)

And – yes, this is funny and no, it is not. That is just the way it is.

There is a day when I will learn why other people think they have the right to tell me how to express those experiences that I have lived in the way I have lived them. That day is not today. Where the Constitution mentions my Bill of Rights, there was no mention of a caveat about my Rights to my expressions and my experiences only surviving the opinion and judgement of others. Maybe it was there and I missed it.

However, these experiences that I have had do not distance themselves so greatly from the experiences of many others. And, I refuse to accept that they cannot be told, cannot be believed and cannot be tolerated as fact. There are many ways to experience life in these United States, and not all of them include what it is “supposed” to be like.

Thank you for your patience and sooner or later, when you can find some humor in this writing, we will all know you have healed beyond the measure of today.

_”For the Winds of Change are vast and unstoppable. The truth may set you free but the reality will restore you to wisdom.” – direct quote from Cricket Diane C Phillips, (Sparky) – lifetime, patron member, Illuminatis.