*Gulf Coast Of Mississippi (2016)
(“Yeah, dere’s gators in dem waters!”)
“Gur-r-rl!” Why you walkin’ in this weather?”
“You need a ride?”
It could be raining, cold or hot.
It’s that good old, “Southern Hospitality.”
Yes, Ma’am’s, No Ma’am’s, Yes, Sirs, No Sirs,
Coupled with Good Mornings & Good Afternoons.
Greetings, worn as badges of respect,
Followed by smiles as wide as the Coast itself.
Lost communications from former connections,
Seem so far behind me.
Caressed by smiles that reach the eyes and compliment the Soul…
Yeah, it’s that good old, “Southern Hospitality.”
*Inspired by time (1 Year) spent on the Gulf Coast Of Mississippi. I met some amazing people & had some wonderful experiences. There were dark times as well, but in life, we all have to weather out a storm or two. While in Mississippi, I came across a few negative individuals (that’s anywhere you go), but the number of positive ones? WERE PHENOMENAL! I thank the people and friends in Mississippi that helped my family & I when we needed it. You all showed me some real love.
SHOUTS OF RECOGNITION – To the people of SawGrass Apartments (Gulfport, MS)! I can’t recall this woman’s name in the Management Office. She no longer works there, I think it’s Alvina. My 5 grandchildren, my pregnant daughter and I were walking a good distance in the hot sun. She refused to let us go another step unless she gave us a ride. I appreciate her existence, I thank you. Josh! (Joycelyn) This woman here? I love her Soul. Thank you for giving me those rides and helping my family. Tell those babies I said hi! A cool friend, Joe (Maintenance) – Nice to see part of the Staff being friendly & professional, My next-door Neighbors, BigMan & his Family who tried their hardest to bring me out of my shell, I was sick and nobody knew it. Nicest damn people I tell you, lol! I met an older lady upstairs from me, her husband transcended from cancer. She always offered me a ride. Bless you, Mother. To Lisa & Daddy, thank you for all of your help! I never did get my wedding invite, lol!, Can’t forget my Family – Experiences appreciated & love is everlasting, and all of those that I forgot to mention, I thank you on behalf of myself and my family. You made my experience there memorable.
Now, they say that you save the best for last. So I guess, this would be that time…I met many people out in “tha Sip” (slang form Mississippi). I fell in love with the sounds of Keke Wyatt, learned how to “Suck tha neck off dem crawfish!” lol, fell deeper in love, with the rhythmic waves of the ocean and natural scenery, saw Confederate living & mentality up close and personal – UGLY asf!, connected to my inner self and the energies of the South…I made a friend.
Now, anyone who really knows me knows, I’m particular about those in my circle. But I made an exception. This individual took me into her heart, her home, her family, and friends. She became a friend when I didn’t want one, but when a higher intervention knew that I needed one. It was as if she & her family adopted me. My girl Quita. Smh…She is a special individual. We lost contact, but I will NEVER forget her. Her children were the sweetest ever. They kept me laughing, lol! But Quita? That woman right there? She’s a dynamic force and doesn’t even know it. I thank you Quita, for being there when I didn’t know where there was. You my dear, are “PRICELESS!” Respect & Remembrance to Lorenzo (one of her brothers).
This poem was actually inspired, when I was walking and got caught in the rain. Now for those of you who are familiar with the South, you know those roads are forever long, lol! I got wet but had no choice but to walk. So, I did. A few cars honked, slowed down, and offered me a ride. But I’m from Brooklyn, NY…We don’t accept rides from strangers, lol! 5 minutes into my walk, thunder roared and it poured, lol! This white van kept trailing me. Finally, I stopped & became confrontational. Again, I’m from NY, lol! The driver pulled up beside me, rolled down the window, and it was an elderly woman. She had the most beautiful Black skin and white hair. She begged me to get in. I liked her vibes, so I did.
We had an interesting conversation. She told me about a recent lynching in Mississippi. I never heard about it, so I was shocked. She chuckled and asked me if I didn’t know that Slavery wasn’t abolished in Mississippi until 2013? My jaw hit the floor. It was frickin’ 2016! She said, “Go on that Google. You’ll find it” (I did and my eyes rolled – I wrote a poem about it “2013 Equals 148 Years”). I chatted with Mother and listened to her wisdom and experiences. She took me to my front door and honked her horn as she drove away.
People offered me rides, they offered me food, clothes, every and anything they had to assist me in being comfortable and happy. That’s that Love.
That’s, “Southern Hospitality.”
© Maxwanette A Poetess (a.k.a. M.A.M.), All Rights Reserved.