The world has officially fallen off its axis. I’m convinced of it. That, or we’ve slipped through one of those black holes and everyone is having a hard time regaining equilibrium.
I didn’t discover this latest disaster until early the wee hours this morning. Sleepless and bored, I tuned the TV to a program taped by the Mississippi wildlife organization. I have zero interest in hunting and fishing but what caught my attention was the intriguing lead-in.
It was a poem written by Paul Ott several years ago. I thought it was beautiful, poignant and a perfect depiction of the most maligned state in the union. It brought tears to my eyes and fond memories to my mind.
In his distinctly southern accent Ott related the following:
I Am Mississippi
I’m the land of the Choctaw
The hills of Vicksburg, and a cross-cut saw
Dinner on the ground and a muscadine vine
I’m a longleaf pine, and Mississippi’s on my mind
I’m a banjo pickin’ and all night sings
Azaleas a ‘bloomin’ in Ocean Springs
I’m a Gospel Singer and the old folks at home
And I’m the eagle on the top of the capitol’s dome
I’m coffee in the morning and an ole smoked ham
Cathead biscuits and blackberry jam
I’m a Mississippi moon, a dusty Delta Dawn,
B. B. King, Magnolias in bloom
I’m an antebellum home on the Natchez Trace,
A rusty plow on the old home place
I’m Walter Payton catchin’ a pass, Elvis Presley,
Coon hounds and bird dogs and tea of Sassafras
I’m Miss Mississippi and all her glory
I’m William Faulkner as he writes a story
I’m Jimmie Rodgers, the Singing Brakeman
John C. Stennis, a southern statesman
I’m the Mississippi River as it rounds the bend
I’m Gone with the Wind, y’all come back again
Well, I’m everything good you have ever dreamed about
Hush yo’ mouth, I’m Mississippi
I am the South
Pretty sweet, huh. It was unanimously passed by the Mississippi Legislature as the official state poem around 2006.
But wait. Not so fast. The intellectuals from that school up north felt the little ditty wasn’t worthy of a state that produced many literary giants. But even worse they misinterpreted the line about cathead biscuits. They thought the crazy Mississippians were making biscuits from poor homeless kitty cats. (Educated idiots are the worst kind).
The poem passed into the black hole of all that is good and precious to my generation. But I’m getting it printed up and framed to sell at junk sales where you can still find good stuff like well loved black iron skillet, antiquated farm implements and rusty tricycles. Betcha I’ll make a fortune IF I can get Paul’s permission.
Poem by Paul Ott copyright 1990. Published by Dixie Springs Music.