10.20.2008

In trouble wif' The Law


"Sarah Jean, youse out early aint'cha? Is anything the matter, Sugar?" I asked the pretty college girl whose Basset puppy, Festus, was sniffin' round mah porch steps when I went to open the front door to a cooler Fall mornin'.

" I am, Aunty, an' I was hopin' you'd be up early too. I'se in trouble wif' The Law."

Sara Jean is the dream chile of her Daddy. The boys got their mama's stumpy laigs, but Sarah Jean is long-legged filly with a mane of dark molasses colored hair like her Daddy had afore he went to silver. She is one of our brighter young'uns, an' she went off to Sewanee. Now her was workin' on a Masters at Vandy in somethin' worthless like Social Theory.

I smiled an' said, "Yore Mama is the onliest lady in these parts whose straighter and stiffer than me. What in the world has ya' done, Puddin', to rile up Louella? "

Louella Mae Morgan had a reputation fer stickin' to the letter of the law. Behind her broad backside, folks call her The Sheriff. Even her kids calls her "Louella the Law" in the same sing-songy tone as "Cruella DeVille."

"All I done, Aunty, was to say the truth that ever'body knows-- but nobody will admit it out loud no more. I mean, I came home fer Randall's engagement party, to meet his in-laws-to-be, ya' know? When I could be knockin' out some work at school. An' all I have to show fer mah pains is Mama-Law gunnin' fer me ever move I make." The chile' hung her haid low.

"Well, Darlin', c'mon on in heah an' let's unravel yore vexation. Aunty cain't stand in the door in a nightgown frightenin' the squirrels. Cawfee is made, let's git'cha cup."

"Aunty," Sarah Jean as't, "ain't I a pretty good edition? Mama ain't got no cause to take a shame over
mah name. Why does she nit pick ever' thought I have? "

I jes' held quiet an' patted her shoulder. She took a biscuit, slathered on the mayhaw jelly that Uncle loves an' sighed.

"It all got started when I mentioned I knowed how this economy got stuck in a ditch because I'se studyin' Charles Murray's book, Real Education. Murray say that plain good sense oughta tell us not everbody is equal in ability. All I said was thar' warn't no point in sendin' the bottom 50 % of the Stanford Binet off
to college since all it did was drive up the cost of edoocation fer those that can learn college material. An' Aunty, I din't even SAY that Randall was in that lower 50%.
I. Did. Not. Say. It."

I jes' nodded mah haid, sipped mah cawfee and waited fer her to continue.

"I said to mama that some folks thought it were--but it ain't!-- their natural born right to go to college, have a mortgage that the gubmint will guarantee and a car in ever garage. I said the numbers ain't never gonna add up 'cause it jes' ain't enough filthy lucre in the world to put golf carts in ever
three-car garage and buy three hunnert dollar sunglasses. Somebody is gonna have to do wif'out they 'calamari mojitos.' An, yeah, at that moment, I mebbe I did glance over at Randall."

"Calamari mojito?" I frowned.

"Randall means caramel macchiato," Sarah Jean explained.

Randall ain't a thorn in his fambly's side or nuthin', it's jes' that he ain't interested in workin' hard. His tenure at the state college were short, his fling at sellin' sport water was shorter, an' now he had settled in to dressin' in Hawaiian shirts ever'day an 'goin' out to hotels to sell folks airboat runs and helicopter rides. He say he's in the entertainment field.

Sarah Jean swallowed a gulp of her cawfee and continued, "I said I din't know how a body thought they could git no mortgage on a golf villa if they's only makin' ten dollar-fiddy cent an hour. Reckon youse heered how folks wif' no money down got loans they ain't got a prayer of payin' back. After Randall got his villa, he tole us'uns all he was waitin' on now was Chevy-Mae and Fordy-Mac so he an' Belinda could git new cars!"

Uncle came round the corner an' I seen him smirk at that.

"Mama-Law tole me to watch mah
attitude. Now how did I rate that? Next thang I knowed, I'se feelin' heat creep up my neck. I said there was a conspiracy to pretend all folks worked equally hard when ever'body knows it's a lie. I realized I was latherin' up, but I couldn't hep myself an' I also said how these pig knuckles was draggin' down those who could and would do somethin' more.

Din't folks unnerstan' that if they made thangs impossible
fer the doers and knowers by taxin' and takin', that them doers is gonna STOP doin'! An' then whar'will the takers be? Whas' the point of mah studyin' and workin' at the hospital at night, iffin' Hawaiian Shirt works jes' four hours and gits a golf villa?
Who is payin' fer that??? "

Me and Uncle stared at poor Sarah Jean. We knowed Louella musta blown a socket when she heered that.

"Lawdy, chile," Uncle say.

She cast her eyes down and shook her haid.

"Mama said I was an embarrassment to her. ME?

She said I was puttin' on airs, an' ain't I ever learnt about
noblese oblige? She say it were mah duty to make a space fer those who was dealt a sorry hand. She say mah pretty face and brains was not to mah own credit. It were jes' an accident. She said the one thang that I could git credit fer was if I chose to do good. Plenty beautiful smart folks doan make that choice, she said. "

Me an' Uncle exchanged looks over Sarah Jean's haid.


"Well honey..." Uncle began, but Sarah Jean went on.

"Aunty, I ain't proud to say it, but I could not let it go. I pushed back hard, 'Mama, iffin' the noblese has duties, so do the obliged.' An' I said how short boys din't demand to play fer the Lakers, or tone deaf girls sing at the Opera. We has no trouble sayin' plain that they's differences in athletic ability or artistic ability, why not say it plain: Not ever'body is equally smart either. Why cain't we be honest an' jes' say so?"

Uncle drew in a breath. "Sweet Pea, yore mama din't mean that ever'body is all the same. She likely meant since youse been so blessed to have beauty and brains, it's more important fer yore own sake not to fergit that the way ya' shows gratitude fer such gifts is by bein' gentle wif' others."

"Aw, Uncle Aloysius, thas' real nice of ya' to say. I know youse tryin' to make my mama sound milder than she is. No. What she meant was, "looky at all them smart college edoocated, good-lookin' rich folks, financiers an' CEOs an' Congressmen who chose to use they smarts to do evil, not good. To loot our country and sell the rest of us the empty bag. Thas' what she meant. The Randall's of this world? Mama say they cain't do that much damage since they's jes' happy pawns fer the elite crowd."

Festus was gettin' restless out on the porch, the sun wuz heatin' thangs up so.

Sarah Jean accepted a jar of the Mayhaw jelly fer her Daddy an' went off to make amends wif' her mama. I stood in the door watchin' the girl and the dawg amble along under the trees.

Uncle as't me what I thought of all that had been said.

After a moment I said, "I reckon Louella the Law makes a real good sheriff."

18 comments:

Big Shamu said...

OK, I'll give and ask the question, what's mayhaw?

TROLL said...

Okay, I'm sold. I will try Mayhaw Jelly and I will read Mr. Murray's book. "The Bell Curve" rocked.

NYD said...

Hallelujah! Shine the light, Aunty.

Shine the light of truth!

moi said...

We need your book in the schools: The World According to Aunty Belle.

Now, I need to go find me another supply for mayhaw jelly. Mine's no longer in business. Any recommendations?

Aunty Belle said...

Heh...well Shamu,

that mayhaw is a fruit what grows in the southern swamps--think of it as a berry-ish apple. I mean, berry flavored but grows more like apples. The habitat fer mayhaws is limited so they's a delicacy.

Moi, Ms. Presidentia,

We git ours from Cajuns. The same place we order us up some Tasso and Andouille--an' they'll ship ya some live crawfish too. Ya find them at the Louisiana crawfish company http://www.lacrawfish.com

Iffin' ya need weird cookin' contraptions they have it all.

Troll-Man

and NYD,

thanky--yep, shortest way to decent life , society and peace is by way of truth. It's when we try to pretend we can ignore realities that we git all tangled up in knots, ain't it?
Murray makes jes' good sense.

MOI, heh. Thang is, I'se so aggravated with current events that the book I wanna write is Blade Runner meets No Country fer Old Men!

A.B. said...

Praise the Aunty and pass the Mayhaw Jelly!

I wish I could come sit on your porch on those days when things are confusing.

We could both scare the squirrels.

Al (the inventor) Gore said...

I invented mayhaw jelly.

Big Shamu said...

Has anyone tried Contessa's Face Butter and Snacking Slather? Just the thing for sitting on porches and scaring squirrels.

(Is anyone running the pool on how quickly Al Gore, the inventor, will claim to have invented it?)

K9 said...

dont knock hawaiian shirts aunty. it allows us to spot randall from a distance. by the way, randall is "nephew's" (from chickory's blog) akshull name.

Aunty Belle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aunty Belle said...

A.B., girl-chile,

c'mon down heah an' yore Aunty will fatten yore skinny self up on mayhaw and biscuits! AN' we'll rock on the porch and give them squrirels the pip. Uncle will charm ya--I have to warn the ladies of that--such that, heck, ya' might even try his venison scallopine.

Uh, Al( the inventor) Gore,

I reckon you invented swamps too.

Big Shamu, Sweet thang,

"Snackin' slather? Oh ho! That is ripe...whas' in it?


Dawg, darlin'

Youse got a Randall too, uh? Nice enough, but I give 'em wide berth.


I does appreciate ya'lls thoughts ...but what I'se wonderin' is how ya'll feel about this edoocation thang--

I reckon I'se an anti-egalitarian cause I doan see no used fer what passes as edoocation exactly cause we's dumb it down so folks could all say they went to collich.

Thang I'd like to see is the the return of ole timey schoolin' like
logic and rhetoric. Latin form the mind fer logical thought. Rap and rock don't.

Any teachers out theah??

Big Shamu said...

Funny that you mention education. Was in a store buying some gloves, hats and scarves for a charity donation to one of our clients. The cashier was complaining about computers. I told her I loved them but she was ready to chuck all of them because any high school kid she was trying to hire couldn't do basic math especially without a computer to do all the figuring for them.
It's not the colleges I'm worried about it's all the levels before college. Remember Christine Pelton, the teacher who failed some kids for plagiarizing a biology project? Who resigned instead of changing the grades because the school board voted to force her to do so? Our educational system is one big freaking mess.

Anonymous said...

Problem in schools is the Outcome Based Education model. Feeling good trumps acquiring basic skills.

A.B. said...

I remember a great line from the Soprano's.. Mrs. Soprano is pressuring a teacher to give Jr.Soprano a better grade (not deserved) so he could go to college (not deserved) the teacher said "The world needs ditch diggers Mrs. Soprano"... of course I think he was ultimately "convinced" to give in, but the point is.... I worked my ass off to get into college, to pay for college and to graduate. I had a job in admissions and one day started looking into the files (bad, I know) of the football players who had been admitted.... their grade points were lower than my dog's IQ and yet there they were and some of friends weren't. I was 18 and remember standing in the office when I realized it was all one big "game."

Now off to order some jelly and plan my airline miles so I can sit my boney arse on your porch. I'll bring the Pegasus Coffee.

Aunty Belle said...

Big Shamu,

yep--why worry about plagiarism when yore whole academic life is a joke, huh?

ANON,
Outcome based education--thought that has died out, but mebbe jes' was given another name. Ridiulous. Ever hear of outcome based basketball? No? Diidn't think so--the horror of the discrimination against those poor short boys. There oughta be a law I tell ya'!!

A.B.

heh heh...ya mean Tony soprano made the teach an offer she could nto refuse--hooowl!

Sorry fer the shock ya had in the deadn's office-- but think--it do explain a lot of thangsd huh? I mean why they's so many DAs ruinnin' things (er, thas' Runnin')

I is REALLY lookin' forward to that Pegasus cawfee an' its delivery agent.

moi said...

Thanks for the source! Going now . . .

Big Shamu said...

I think the squirrels have let their fame go to their heads...

Doom said...

I know who to go to, now, when my 'sargent mom' acts up! There is no fighting that woman when she has her back up.

Ooh, and food links. I must have some creole in me or something... food!