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James N. Maples
Number of posts: 4
Email address: email
By James N. Maples:
a sweeter side of appalachia:
This morning, my friend Lusy stopped by my office with a nasty cold and a warm, sixteen ounce can of Surge; I gladly hugged him. As he sat the Christmas-colored can of heavenly proportions on my office desk, I thought to myself, “There it is. My childhood is sitting on my desk.” Waves of memories flooded my mind. I closed my eyes and remember frozen nights spent sipping Surge by the fireside even as the frost formed on our shivering backs. I recalled the punch drunk pleasure of all-night binge gaming sessions, playing Diablo II with now-lost friends and my seemingly endless supply of Surge cans.
Above my family homestead in the East Tennessee foothills is an old, abandoned cemetery. I admit I’ve never seen it, but I think about it often. I imagine the worn stone markers neck deep in leaves in the fall or peeking out of the winter snow like early hyacinths. In my imagination, I never bothered to name these people, much less engage in meaningful character development. I don’t know them in any sense of the word; I just know that they are up there, tucked deeply in an earthy hollow waiting for whatever comes next.
I possess a handful of wonderful memories of my grandmother Sarah. I have always chosen to keep my memories simple and unadorned; I remember us taking walks around the jonquils and crocuses in the spring and watching her fry okra and potatoes in an old cast iron skillet on Sundays in the summer. In all cultures, the simple things in life are truly all that matter.
Through hook, crook, and sleight of hand I came to possess one of my grandmother’s workhorse cast iron skillets.
a bumper crop
Southerners, it is that time of year again: be on the lookout for friends and neighbors giving away bountiful supplies of beautiful, green zucchini. Watch for zucchini peeking out of slightly ripped plastic bags left swinging on door knobs or sitting innocently in church pews. But tread carefully: accepting zucchini from friends and strangers alike may mean more than one thinks.