- Hi Friends,
- Update on “Arabella.” The book is finished, and I am making the rounds with literary agents. Wish me luck, and happy reading.
- My Best,
- D. R. Bucy
I will be a guest on Dr. Jen Lowry Writes show on May 7, 2019, at 4pm EST, 3pm CST, to discuss my work, and all things related to the writing world. I hope you can listen in.
D. R. Bucy
If you haven’t gotten your copy of “The Dark Side of Dixie” you can order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from Goodreads.
Hi Friends, I want to take a moment and wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The young child slid from her seat on the bench and dashed to the window where she gazed intently outside. The startled woman stopped reading the story. “What are you looking for?” she asked the child.
“The girl,” answered the child.
“What girl?” the woman inquired, and stretched her neck trying to see out the large picture window without getting up.
The child raised her small hand and pointed with one tiny finger. “The girl hanging in the tree,” the soft reply comes.
The woman rose and walked to the window to look out at the tree. “I don’t see any girl in the tree,” she said. “I don’t see anyone out there at all.”
Check out my recent online radio interview with Artist First Radio Network. Go to their website-www.artistfirst.com and listen to the hour-long show that aired on 3/12/18.
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today: And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year. From, “A Prayer in Spring,” by Robert Frost Chapter 1
“Grandma, what’s a Camel Light?” It had been a hot and humid typical midsummer’s evening in the great state of Tennessee. The wood door was open with the hopes a cool breeze might find its way through. I sat on the back steps and gazed up at the night sky watching for shooting stars while I waited for my bath water to heat. In the kitchen behind me, it suddenly became deathly quiet. I glanced over my shoulder through the screen-door at my grandma. She had paused in the middle of taking the big, iron pot of boiling water off the stove, and stared at me over the top of her glasses. This was never a good sign.
“Where in the name of all that’s holy, did you hear that?”
From the living room I heard a snort of laughter. That’s where my grandpa sat listening to the radio. “Henry Lee Evans,” I replied. “He said we thought we were better than other folks and gonna be the only ones in heaven, ‘cause we were Camel Lights.”
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“Well, you have to consider the source darlin’. Them little kids haven’t had much of a chance, what with their daddy bein’ the way he is and all. Lord knows their sweet mama has tried. She shore led her ducks to pore water there.”
I had heard the stories that circulated in the community about “Ole Man Evans.” He was the personification of the Boogey Man to me. Never mind the fact he was a real flesh and blood person, and the father of some of my closest playmates. It was said he was mean and worked his older boys like mules. If they didn’t do to suit him, he would whip them with the plow lines. If their mama tried to intervene he would then turn on her. It seemed the entire neighborhood knew of the situation, but no one ever tried to do anything to help. Child abuse and domestic violence were not house-hold words back then. What a man did in his own home with his family was his business. There hadn’t been many folks around who would interfere. There was a time in small isolated areas like Johnson’s Bend, a man such as Mr. Evans, might have gotten a late night visit from a group of, concerned citizens. The other men in town would come together and mete-out a good old fashion “butt whuppin’.” People in these backwoods places liked to handle their own affairs. They didn’t take kindly to strangers snooping around in their business.
“I would bet, if I were a bettin’ woman,” Grandma said. “Course I’m not, that Henry Lee hasn’t been to church a half-a-dozen times in his life. He’s probably heard someone else say that and thought he could insult you by callin’ you a ‘Campbellite’—and there is no such thing. Only mean spirited people who don’t know any better use that word. When you’re older I’ll explain all of it to you.”
Another one of those, ‘when you’re older things,’ I had thought. Sure would be a lot of stuff I would know when I got older. I figured I might end up as smart as Grandma.
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“Anyways, Bobby Ray told him to shut-up,” I said. From the living-room I heard the Carter Family singing ‘Beautiful Home’ on the radio, but the music didn’t drown out the sound of Grandpa’s laughter.
Grandma poured the last pot of hot water into the tub. “Shuck them dirty clothes off and get in, mind you test it first with your big toe.” I peeled off my clothes and climbed into the tub and sat down. “Here, lean back and let me wash your hair, then you can do the rest,” Grandma said. “Where’d you get all this sand and mud in your hair? You been in that creek again?”
“You’re gonna get snake bit child, if you don’t stay outta there.”
“Yes mam. Grandma, what’s it like to have a baby?”
Grandma stopped scrubbing my head. I looked up at her and she looked down at me, over the top of her glasses again. “Now what brought that on?” she asked.
“Henry Lee says havin’ a baby is like a chicken shootin’ an egg out its butt, that so?”
Grandpa continued to laugh loudly from the other room. I wondered what was so funny on the radio. Grandma got up from her knees and went and closed the door between the kitchen and the living room. I didn’t understand why she had done this. Grandpa never came in while I was taking a bath. He said I was a young lady now and it wouldn’t be proper.
“It appears Henry Lee was an over-flowin’ fount of information today,” Grandma said dryly, and went back to washing my hair.
“Ow Grandma, too hard,” I yelled.
“Sorry. You know, you may have to quit playin’ with the Evans kids, if Henry Lee can’t
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keep all his worldly knowledge to himself.”
“Yes mam, well, is it?”
“Is it what?”
“Grandma!” I exclaimed in exasperation. “Is havin’ a baby like a chicken shootin’ an egg out its butt?”
Grandma had thought for a moment. “I suppose there’s a similarity of sorts, but you don’t need to worry ‘bout that now. When you’re…”
“I know, I know, when I’m older.” Down in the bottom, a whip-per-will called. A few moments later from farther away, I heard another one. It had seemed like a good time to change the subject. “Grandma, why do the whip-per-wills make that sound every night ‘bout this time?” Finished with my hair, Grandma sat back in her chair watching to see that I washed everything else to her satisfaction.
“They’re talkin’ to one another,” she said. “When they get home at night they like to sit on their tree branch and tell each other about their day. Like we set on the front porch and visit with neighbors sometimes.”
I looked back at Grandma and thought she was only funning me, but she looked serious. “But they all sound alike,” I replied.
“To us maybe, but not to the other whip-per-wills.” I had guessed Grandma was right. I knew she did know everything, Grandpa had said so every day.
Final teaser before the book’s release later this summer.
My story begins on a hot August day in 1941 in the upstairs bedroom of the family home. I became the third generation of Carson’s to be born in this house and the sixth to be born on this la…
This novel is dedicated to all my neighbors, the hard-working God-fearing people of the South.
The Bible says there’s a time and season for every purpose under heaven. This is the way I think of my life growing up in the South, like the seasons of the year, each new phase important and necessary in order for me to grow and move on to the next one. Some people view the South as portrayed through the eyes of Margaret Mitchell, in what is in my opinion, one of the greatest novels ever written, Gone with the Wind. Perhaps the novel isn’t totally realistic, but a beautiful story of a much simpler time when the hearts of men swelled with chivalry for their fair maidens pure and fragile as a Magnolia blossom in bloom. A time when family had meant everything and people willing to lay down their life for the land they loved. That time, if it ever did truly exist, is gone with the wind. Reality is rarely ever that beautiful or romantic, and along with it had gone the innocence of a people steeped in family traditions and a false sense of entitlement due to the color of their skin. The Civil War had put an end to the atrocity of slavery, but what remained in
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its wake, a dark side of Dixie many would like to forget. It heralded the beginning of reuniting the country, but for the people of the South, a precursor to years of devastating poverty, racism and illiteracy, and sparked the re-birth of something there all along, the making of “moonshine whiskey.” This ancient art had gotten its start in the mountains of Appalachia in the 1700s when the Scotch-Irish began pouring into America. The regions of Tennessee and Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina were well known for the practice. Making moonshine and being poor wasn’t the only thing these mountain folks had in common. They had despised anything to do with the federal government. They were a proud and a tough lot and never gave up or gave in, and when prohibition was passed in 1919, these rugged mountaineers found for once they had something the rest of country wanted, alcohol. They dug in their heels and began making this illegal potion to sell for cash. They were simply trying to survive the best way they knew how. I believe they may have drunk a lot of their product too. Alcohol has always been the most abused substance known to man, and unfortunately, it seems to be passed down from one generation to the next. Not all the people involved in the illicit whiskey business were “good ole boys” or poor farmers trying to provide for their families. Prohibition brought about a considerable increase in the price of alcohol, and anywhere lots of money is to be made, you’re likely going to get a large criminal element, and more often than not, that spells trouble.
Some people have said the South would never rise again, not after Lee surrendered that April day at the courthouse in Virginia. That’s a matter of opinion also, and according to which side of the Mason-Dixon you reside. For the people who lived through it, and for the ones of us born into it, we cannot forget—nor should we, it’s our heritage and in part, our legacy. We must change the things we can and learn from those things we cannot.
Keep watching. In the next few weeks the Prologue to “The Dark Side of Dixie.”