Across A Scarred, Blessed Land


July 11,2022, Grapevine, TX- All of my errands were tended, in a little mini-mall at Muscle Shoals, right next to one of the Blues hub’s many recording studios. I went there, briefly, after checking out of Budget Inn, in nearby Florence. Last night, I was swept up in love for some openly devout people. Quiet strength is an overwhelming force. The manager of Budget Inn showed the same determination and fortitude as that precious family. I will not forget any of them.

I had a mission: To get to my little family’s home, here in the northwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro area, before calling it a night. Crossing three states to get into Texas is an all-day affair, even with few or no stops. I find the scarred, blessed, lands of the South to be of particular beauty, both in terms of terrain and of their people. With all that came of following the doctrine of human ownership of other humans, of patriarchy and dominance-which existed in other parts of the continent and around the globe as well, just in other guises, the character of people and the force of faith have forged an indomitable culture of resilience-among Black and White people alike. That resilience is far from complete, but I saw a much stronger sense of self-worth, across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana today, than I did on my last journey in this area, in December, 2020. Black workers were not furtively looking about, when serving me, but were forthright and confident. White youths were not engaged in mocking and ridiculing me for “walking like a Yankee”, whatever that meant back in 2020.

I had a fine meal, at Country Pride, in Tallulah, LA, served by a an amiable woman, of regal bearing. The magnolias and pines of the Appalachian foothills gave way to the grasslands of the Delta, which in turn gave way to the pines of the Big Thicket, then to the short grass prairie. I am in my little family’s home now, for three days.

A better South is rising.