Friday, June 26, 2009

Robert Stacy McCain: "I’m Going to Beat You Today"

From Robert Stacy McCain's moving essay on family and Southern heritage:

My two brothers and I grew up in a handsome brick home on a large tree-shaded lot in Lithia Springs—now a booming Atlanta suburb, but then still a relatively sleepy small town—where our middle-class status was always haunted by the shadow of our parents’ childhood poverty. We were constantly reminded of how fortunate we were, a message reinforced by frequent visits “down home” to Randolph County, where my father’s mother still lived in a four-room farmhouse, hoed her own garden, and drew her water from a well. By the early 1970s, with her health beginning to decline, Maw McCain consented to let her children pay to install plumbing at the home place. For most of my childhood, however, there was not even an outhouse at Maw McCain’s, where one attended to calls of nature at a designated area behind the dilapidated old barn.