Be careful where you say you’re from on Facebook

I no longer list Berkeley, California as the place where I’m from on Facebook because in “debates,” people say, “well, of course, Malcolm would say that, look where he’s from. We don’t need him telling people in Georgia what to think.”

I was born at Alta Bates Hospital, but don’t tell anyone.

My family is basically from California, with my late relatives living in Berkeley, Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Palo Alto. I think I was in high school (in Florida) when my father told me he could never go back because the farms and orchards had all been ploughed up and turned into developments, the places Pete Seeger said were houses like little boxes all made of ticky tacky and just the same.

I can’t go back either. For one thing, I can’t afford it. For another, I think the state has lost its connection to reality, a connection that always was fairly tenous on a good day.  Sorry, folks, but I really can’t support a state that says illegal immigrants should have a right to vote.

So, in these Facebook “debates,” I suppose people thought I support all the lunacy associated with California these days. During the Vietnam War protest era, I was part of that lunacy because (a) I hated the war, and (b) had an apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District while my ship was in port across the Bay and had trouble anywhere I went in a Navy uniform.

When I was told on Facebook that “they” (the people in the thread) didn’t need a person from a crazy state telling people in the South that he (meaning me) thought the state and federal governments had no right to legislate or otherwise mess up women’s health care, including the right to an abortion, I said, “ladies, I’ve lived in the South longer than anyone else commenting on this thread.”

Huh? I said that I grew up in Florida from the first grade to college and now live in Georgia where my wife was born. We live on a farm that’s been in her family for five generations. They were surprised. They were happy to see that I had changed the town where I’m from to Tallahassee, Florida, and appreciated the fact that I like boiled peanuts, collard greens, mullet, grits, and cathead biscuits.

However, according to their assessment, a California birth certificate meant that even if you left the state at an early age, you were more or less the devil’s spawn and couldn’t possibly go to enough church services to get even with the Lord. If not that, then I was probably dropped on my head in the hospital.

So there it was. Clearly, my identification with California was an albatross around my neck. In the old days (whatever that means) people said Florida really wasn’t truly Southern. My response was that North Florida was/is about as Southern as you can get and that unlike other states in the Confederacy, “we” weren’t conquered by the North during the Civil War. Okay, so we’re overrun by snowbirds every year and from Live Oak to Miami, the state’s been pretty much ruined by developers who’ve paved over everything there that used to be good and created endless sprawl.

But, I digress.

On the minus side, now that I’ve changed my Facebook hometown to Tallahassee, everyone thinks I’m a racist. When they push that view too hard, I mention that the biggest race riots in the country all happened outside the South.

Is there a safe place out there I can claim as my hometown?

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell has written a bunch of novels set in the South, or partly in the South, including the Florida Folk Magic Trilogy.

 

 

District of Columbia Secedes from Union

New Columbia, August 8, 2018, Star-Gazer News Service–In an announcement that came as no surprise to those who saw the writing on D. C. license plates, Washington D.C. seceded from the Unite States at midnight and named itself New Columbia.

“We did it for the same reason the colonies threw off the oppressive yoke of England in 1775,” said Interim head of state, James Otis. “And that is the tyranny of taxation without representation.”

New Columbia officials said the action was taken because petitions for voting rights have been denied, statehood attempts have been stifled, a more provocative slogan couldn’t be agreed upon for license plates, and Maryland refused to consider taking back the 6.34 square mile site.

According to informed sources, New Columbia now controls all the armed forces of the United States inasmuch as those forces answer to the Federal Government.

“Unlike the Secesh of 1861,” said Otis, “we have the military power to stand our ground.”

To emphasize New Columbia’s power, thirteen B-52 bombers carpet-bombed Fort Sumter with red, white, and blue water balloons, leaving Charleston area officials all wet. In a symbolic gesture from an earlier era, New Columbia officials dumped tea produced by American growers into the Potomac River

In related news, California seceded from the United States at 12:01 a.m. since, as officials in Sacramento said, “we’ve been ignoring Federal law for years.” They were quick to point out that they were not allying themselves with New Columbia.

Political analysts believe that Congress will be disbanded soon because it is now made up of officials from outside New Columbia. “It’s largely a money sink anyway,” said Otis.

As of press time this morning, world markets were reacting favorably to the action.

Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

 

Mexico empty as entire population moves to SoCal

Sacramento, November 21, 2017, Star-Gazer News Service–California officials confessed early today that they were “thoroughly gobsmacked” (completamente sorprendido) when the entire population of Mexico moved into the state’s sanctuary cities for “a brand new life” (vida maravillosa).

Wikipedia graphic (Most people don’t realize California is a red state.)

“This is a form of CalExit that, frankly, wasn’t on our drawing boards,” said state planning director Frank Smith. “All we tried to do with our sanctuary cities initiatives was provide neighborhoods for the cheap labor our agribusiness companies need in order to survive.”

Mexican officials, who say they are no longer Mexican officials, said that the country chose a “free and reasonably lavish” California lifestyle over the stress of fighting poverty and drug lords south of the border.

“Some will criticize us for leaving our culture behind,” said a man who identified himself as Mr. Fox. “But that’s not true. We brought it with us, and that it includes real Mexican food (verdadera comida Mexicana) rather than the Taco Bell faux variety.”

While lettuce growers are applauding the fact that their workers will no longer have to fight border guards–and the proposed wall–on their morning commute, they admitted that most companies will shift their corporate headquarters to New Jersey to escape probable tax increases.

“Just think, we used to laugh about the once-famous government money grabs in Tax-a-chusetts,” said iceberg lettuce manager Jonas Wilkerson. “Now, the tax-and-spend experts have moved out here.”

Informed sources (personas informadas) believe many native Californians, who have been staying solvent by taking frequent trips to Las Vegas, will simply move to Nevada so reduce household expenses and state taxes.

“Hell (infierno),” one of the sources said, “just look at the state’s proposed pot taxes. They’re going to be so high that buying weed off the street will be cheaper than buying legal weed–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Wilkerson agrees. “I read in the newspaper several days ago that the legislature passed a law that allows the unemployed to form a union that gives members the right to not work along with the right to put up homes in other people’s yards without being arrested for trespassing.”

Smith said that he thought the Mexican population’s move occurred as soon as a district judge blocked the administration’s plan to cut off federal funds to sanctuary cities.

“I’m somewhat amused at the historic karma operating here as California returns to the days when Spanish was its official language,” Smith told reporters at an emergency press conference on the governor’s lawn, adding, “Este es un gran día para California.”

–Story by Jock Stewart, special investigative reporter

 

 

Book Review: ‘Goatsong’ by Patricia Damery

Each chapter heading of Patricia Damery’s beautifully written novel Goatsong begins with the words “tell me about.” Sophie’s daughter Stacey is asking her mother to tell her the old and ever-changing family stories about the days she spent as a ten-year-old child with the three Goat Women on Huckleberry Mountain and was reborn into the fullness of the world.

Young Sophie’s single mother works as a waitress at an all-night diner and sleeps all day, sometimes alone and sometimes with the man she brings home: “Ma didn’t want me making noise during the day while she slept, so I left the house and did all kinds of things most kids would not have the opportunity to indulge in, you might say.”

That summer, Sophie meets Nelda, Dee and Ester on the mountain above the Russian River in northern California, and in the process of learning about herding goats, “logging in” garbage dumped alongside the roads, and dancing naked in the meadow, she discovers love and acceptance from her ad hoc surrogate family. Among other things, Sophie learns to see and acknowledge that which others often miss, roadside trash included.

Wise, practical and nurturing, Nelda knows the Goatsong. Strong, persistent and dependable, Dee takes exception to those who dump garbage on the mountain as well as those who won’t lift a hand to stop it. Forever taking notes as the women do their daily errands, the relatively silent Ester is a witness, logging in the garbage. She finds, for example:

“1 beer bottle, label torn and unreadable, green.
1 plastic freezer bag, Safeway, good condition.
1 16 oz. paper cup, 7-11, good condition.”

The three Goat Women, who know they are “undesirables” from the townspeople’s point of view, accept Sophie as one of their own during their daily adventures on a mountain that Damery describes with the prose of a poet. The novel is a hymn to nature and natural living as well as an eternal and memorable story. Original, unorthodox and wise, the Goat Women provide Sophie with an unfettered, practical and loving worldview that is absent at her home and school.

In their own way, the goats (Natalie, Boris and Hornsby) are also Sophie’s teachers. The author, who has run a biodynamic farm in the Napa Valley for the past twelve years with her husband, said on her blog this past summer that “Walking the goats is truly an art.” Damery brings her knowledge of that art into her novel, creating goat characters who are as three dimensional and essential to the story as the women.

In the introduction, Damery writes that “Goatsong is the mysterious combination of humility and that essential ability to climb above, like a goat, or a song. To know the Goatsong of tragedy, Nelda told me, is to be reborn.”

When you read Goatsong, you are breathing in fresh air off the Pacific ocean, smelling the sweet scent of the bay laurel, and cooling your tired feet in sacred streams flowing through old redwoods in the company of wise women who, without agenda, may well change you as they changed the ten-year-old Sophie in those old family stories about the town of Huckleberry on the Russian River.

Malcolm

a young woman’s difficult journey