Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sometimes You Just Need to Hear Dixie Part 1

When Papa Joe and I married  he imported me to Mainline Philadelphia  where I felt like an onion in a petunia patch.

No sweet tea, no Ginny's Diner -- home of the 16 oz.Sweet Daddy Burger (and yes that is Ginny with a "G".) and forget tomato sandwiches or calling cards.
Homesick doesn't even begin to describe it.
I went to a Southern friend's home one day and almost cried over the pimento cheese.
All of a sudden I found myself so sentimental about my roots that I would extol the benefits of living in the South to anyone who would ask me what kind of an accent I had. Wish it were Dixie Carter but alas it's closer to Loretta Lynn.
One fateful day a car parts catalogue was delivered to our house by accident. I flipped through it and discovered that a woman could actually buy an air horn to be installed in her car with a variety of songs.
Lacuca Rocha didn't call my name but  I saw way down the long list of Lawrence Welk favorites the option of "Back home in Dixie."
Very reluctantly Papa Joe allowed me to indulge my obsession.
The stereo installer wasn't even familiar with the tune so after he first put it in it didn't play anything familiar just beep honk squeak honk.
Imagine the intense afternoon I spent while we stood in a greasy garage and sang it over and over until he could hook up the horns in proper order?
Finally my car Big Bertha was retrofitted and with the push of a button she played Dixie.
From that day forward when someone blew their horn at me before the light changed or the checkout woman at the Acme scowled at me when I said "Hope you have a nice day" or any other un-Southern behavior was exhibited.....I blew Dixie upon my exit.
"Oh, I wished I was in the Land of Cotton....."
And now I am.
I would never play that horn down here because down here it has become a symbol of white prejudice.
I wonder what goes through a black mother's mind when she hears that song. Does she fear for her child and his future?
It is a sad loss but I can live without that.
Back in Philadelphia it was like hearing The Star Spangled Banner when you are out of the country. That song in that place was my Olympic, standing on the winners block, moment.
My way of saying; "Can you hear me now?"

1 comment: