On the Refrigerated and the Grotesque | Daily Prompt: South

I’m spending a few minutes every day with the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt. I’m not planning to publish every brainstorm, but will post a handful, for accountability and that weird stomach flip I get when I hit the publish button.

Daily Prompt: South

Thick sliced tomatoes dressed with salt and pepper, cantaloupe and watermelon and sweet corn and white onions from a roadside stand across the highway, behind the fire station and next to the field with the giant pivot irrigators sucking up the Ogalla aquifer, the sugar as translation of the hot days, unrelenting sun, thick air.

My grandfather, raised in what is now a ghost town, and his mother’s house with a persimmon tree in the backyard, the color of the ripe fruit taking up residence in my memory as a picture and not a word at all.

 

His grandmother, who chewed tobacco and once brought a tray of fried chicken and biscuits and a pitcher of tea to him at school, who leant us her middle name for our oldest daughter, who helped to raise my grandfather as he helped to raise me.

 

The origins of my family on their journeys both through the rhotic South to Oklahoma as immigrants and colonizers, and in their safe, still lives in Mississippi before their forced removal to Oklahoma.

 

A car trip to witness to the love of my dearest friend, across Oklahoma and east and south, into the non-rhotic South, in chaos and fear and change, and the desperate need to reframe that into something romantic and lovely. Its talons deep in the Southern and the Grotesque, chasing, literally chasing– through lengths of draping Spanish Moss while hiking up my taffeta skirt– a drunk man with the keys to my car and some weird power over me.

 

Another man, the one I chose, correctly, who chose me, who made our family, and then packed up that family into boxes and bins and a trailer and tiny car, and moved us south and west, to the high desert and the mountains, to light. Who spent weekends north, weekends south, weekends west, and a whole honeymoon across an ocean east.

 

Who never puts a tomato in the refrigerator, anymore.

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