Georgia's Vidalia Onion Museum opens April 29 in homage to the state's famous vegetable.
By Erin Z. Bass
Visitors to Vidalia, Georgia, expect to see Vidalia onions. In fact, they expect the streets to be lined with them and their sweet smell to waft through the car windows as they enter town. It’s an expectation that former reporter and marketer for the onion farmers Wendy Brannen understands well. And it’s why she felt the town needed a proper museum dedicated to the vegetable.
It used to be that upon arrival to the Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, visitors saw a sign out front advertising a “museum.” Brannen says the term was quite generous, as the museum consisted of a few posters and brochures. “It broke my heart when you had these people from faraway places who were so fascinated with our state vegetable and came all this way to see something,” she says.
Brannen decided to do something about the problem and now, five years later, has a new sign and a new title to show for it. As executive director of the brand-new Vidalia Onion Museum, she’ll be welcoming visitors starting April 29 to a 1,300-square-foot space filled with educational exhibits that
by David W. Landrum
in memory of Earl Wade Beckwith
At the sleepy station
where lizards grey as dust scurried,
fleet-footed, over berms of baking stone
and tracks gleamed in relentless sun,
the car pulled up, the Russians disembarked—
grey uniforms, red stars, red epaulettes
and smiles and handshakes;
later you would learn they were
in training at Fort Smith and would
be shipped back to contested steppes
to use the skills (whatever the skills were)
they had learned here.
One gave you his red star.
Neither you nor he could speak
except by smiles, except by attitudes
that indicated friendship.
They climbed up when the whistle blew
and went into the distance
wavy with heated air,
fragrant with tar-smell from ties
soft-warmed in sun,
the caboose fading off
far past the spot imagination’s line
drew to a point, beyond experience.
David W. Landrum is originally from Arkansas but lives and teaches in Michigan. He says this poem is a part of his family lore. "My cousin met Russian soldiers who had come to train in Fort Smith, Arkansas, during World War II and had the artificat mentioned in the poem - an encounter he related that has always intrigued me," he says. David's poetry has appeared in such journals as Gloom Cupboard, Small Brushes, The Formalist, Clapboard House, and many others. He also edits the
A Southern architecture fan's dream, 'Gone' remembers the South's once magnificent historic structures.
by Kati-Jane Hammet
High in the dark, eyes closed and stretching to listen,
Listening, then, for something inside to be reflected
Outwards, light flashing through the bamboo shades and the shades
of eyelids, tight, moving with the tempo of tentative touches
on the tin roof, skin melding with the worn leather of the couch,
Slipping sideways, stuck, breath rising through the cage of ribs—
Up to the ceiling, or further out, and in, then where sight stops,
Even in the dark, and the gathering concussion of air and water
Displaced by sound, ripping through the night.
Then the silence.
Kati-Jane Hammet, a graduate student at the University of South Alabama, lives in downtown Mobile, which she has added to her collection of Southern port cities. She attended the College of Charleston and grew up making regular pilgrimages to Savannah to shop at the mall in the years before her hometown of Bluffton, South Carolina, got known and swoll up with newcomers.
How to survive heat, port a potties, dust and more at the South’s slew of summer music festivals.
By Tara Lynne Groth Summer in the South is hot, but full of good vibrations. Music festivals are a literal hot spot, and a handful are celebrating big anniversaries this summer. Their longevity is a testament to their ability to retain festival goers, offer better lineups and keep the atmosphere comfortable.
According to North Carolina’s MerleFest, which celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year, “one-fifth of American adults now attend festivals while on vacation, with music festivals being the most popular choice.” With tickets selling out way in advance, it’s becoming a feat to claim a spot at one of the South’s notorious music events—and find a spot in the shade once there. Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival in Richardson, Texas, now offers shade shelters, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo boasts air-conditioned tents (one that screens films), and misting tents are popping up at more festivals like Wakarusa, held in Ozark, Arkansas. When there’s no shade, make your own. At camping music festivals, you can pitch your tent right next to your car. Bring an extra tarp and rope and create a breezeway between tent and vehicle by tying
by Heather Wilkins
There is a swing upon the boughs
of a snow-laced southern oak tree,
and painted on its seat does smile
a red-faced strawberry.
The stark contrast does give away
its hiding place in white;
to catch a glimpse of such bright red
is quite a lovely sight.
What gentle bout of loveliness
this little fruit does shed—
to sit alone against the cold
and still to burn so red.
So keep your smile every day
until the summer you see,
and watch the ashen snow give way
to the red-faced strawberry.
Heather Wilkins is a native of Alabama and currently a graduate student at the University of South Alabama in the English program. She enjoys writing poetry dealing with animals and environmental concerns.
by Erren Geraud Kelly
there's nothing sadder
than looking at the paper
and seeing a picture of brown pelicans
covered in progress
this summer, kids will collect tar balls
like they collect seashells
the flood that came to new orleans
came to nashville, too
but it was just god's tears
he cried in anger
as he exacted his revenge on us
karma is a bitch
and she always wins
so, taste this toxic gumbo
and enjoy it
we won't care if
the headphones from
our cell phones give us
cancer in a few years
it's just a small price to pay
for keeping up with the joneses
isn't that what cancer is
anyway, a growth that doesn't
enjoy your oyster po-boy
while you can
A year after the oil spill, is Gulf seafood really safe to eat, and can we trust the people, like celebrity Chef Alton Brown, who tell us it is?
by Erin Z. Bass On April 20 of last year, news broke that more than 3 million barrels of crude oil were leaking into the Gulf of Mexico after an explosion on a BP rig offshore. On April 24, the Coast Guard announced that oil was leaking from two locations at a rate of 42,000 gallons a day. On April 25, that estimate was increased to 210,000 gallons, and BP announced that a third leak had been found. By April 29, the oil spill stretched 120 miles and had become a threat to the Louisiana coast, as well as the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Ten days later, only the smallest leak had been stopped, and engineers seriously discussed stopping the leak by stuffing in trash. Meanwhile, nearly 46,000 miles of Gulf waters became closed to fishing. By May 27, more than a month after the initial spill, the disaster was declared the largest spill in U.S. history and surpassed Exxon Valdez from 1989, which leaked about 11 million gallons into the Gulf.
by Nicholas Ward
for Mark Edmundson and the Homeric heroes
At the University they call it narcissism.
But pride tastes like metal
And blood. Smells like gun powder
And gasoline. Sounds like hounds
On a scent. Granddad said
He could listen to dogs run
Forever and die a happy man.
It looks like nothing, eyes
Closed kissing. Feels like
Sweat burn, true grit, victorious.
And I won’t even mention
That where I’m from, they
Can’t even spell narcissism,
Or care to. Neither could
Achilles. Nature only cares
For strength and beauty,
And some can’t spell beauty
Either. But they know pretty
And they howl righteously,
Free from chains and shame, collars
Gnawed off, wolves not yet forgotten.
A native of Greene County, Virginia, Nicholas Ward currently lives in Charlottesville, where he is finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia. His experiences in rural central Virginia influence his work, and he is interested in bridging the gap between the world of academia at Mr. Jefferson’s University and the nearby rustic foothills of the Blue Ridge.
Southerners and fans of Kathryn Stockett's bestseller "The Help" received exciting news last night when the trailer for the movie version of the book was released. While movie details have sort of been kept hush hush, a release date is scheduled for August 12, and excitement seems to be building. We'll keep y'all updated as more details are released and premiers planned across the South. And in case you missed it a while back, we do have a story about the movie filming in Jackson with lots of photos!