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By Tim Oliver:
Gene’s closet-drinker theory made perfect sense to me. This was the history of a domestic drama that you could hold in your hand. “This whole thing is really about people, isn’t it ?” I asked. “Yeah, it sure is,” Gene nodded. “From the people who let you dig, to the people you dig with, to the people who walk up wondering what we’re doing, to the people whose past you’re uncovering.”
Suddenly, he looked uncomfortable, and looked around before wincing and saying “I’ve got to talk to you and Mark” …
“We need some fresh meat in this hole !” John hollered. No, it wasn’t the shouted orders on a porno movie set. The fresh meat was going to be me and the hole was a privy we were digging in downtown Savannah. We were hoping to find some antique bottles, specifically, those of the mid-19th century. Obtaining permission to dig, we had pored over the 1852 fire insurance map that showed the original layout of the lot, and where the privy should be. It was, usually, in the right hand corner of the lot. City code, even in the 19th century, required that privies have brick sides and bottom. By pushing spring steel probes of various lengths into the ground at four different angles, these long-buried structures could be found. The probes had not revealed much on this lot, but, we pressed forward. So far all we had uncovered was a sizable pile of brickbats. A brickbat is a piece of a brick, existing as nothing until it is thrown like a “missile”, and then it becomes a brickbat.
In the realm of dark, guilty pleasures Donald Ray Pollock is literary crack. His characters wander the margins of society, walking into, or, unable to escape hellish existences. Few, if any of them have redeeming qualities, indeed, they are the lumpen terrible, folks you wouldn’t want to meet in a well-lit alley. Yet, Pollock’s rendering of these people will not let you put the book down, you absolutely must see what happens.
I remember the first time I ever saw a coyote in the state of Georgia. It was the fall of 1975 in the wildlife lab at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. As taxidermy jobs go, it wasn’t a particularly good one, the eyes a bit wonky, the fur looking shoddy and secondhand. I was surprised to see it had been killed just up the road on a farm outside of Ashburn.
“Looks kind of poorly,” I remarked to department head, Jim Marshall. He laughed and said, “Well he never did catch that roadrunner !” I’d been an avid hunter since I was eleven years old and thought I knew a thing or two about the woods.
“I’ve never heard one,” I ventured, doubtfully.
“You can, if you get real quiet, right after dusk,” he answered …
Sights & Sounds
Driveby Truckers have been promising fans a soul record for a couple of years. Why wouldn’t they?
After all, they backed Bettye Lavette on her Grammy-nominated comeback album, “Scene of the Crime,” and Booker T. Jones on his “Potato Hole.” Bandleader, Patterson Hood’s father, David Hood, is one of the legendary Muscle Shoals session players, the Swampers, having backed Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Percy Sledge, among many others. So, it’s more than an obligation, it’s a birthright.