I’ve never been one that wanted to meet movie stars all that much. While I believe that many have great talent, I can’t say they have ever had a lasting impression on me.
Instead, I would rather be able to sit down with the people that can transport me back 15 years with one single sentence or verse – people like Dolly Parton or Reba or George Strait or Rick Bragg. The only thing that rivals my love for country music is my love for Rick Bragg and the way he can string together words about the south and our people.
And last Thursday night, I met Mr. Bragg.
I wore my HeeHaw Yacht Club t-shirt and red cowboy boots. It seemed fitting since I was meeting the greatest southern writer who ever lived. I also wore pants of course.
Standing on the stage, he didn’t read from any of his bestselling books.
He didn’t toot his own horn recounting the countless awards he’s won.
He was just a good ole Alabama boy who despite becoming a bestselling author hasn’t become too big for his britches.
What he did do was tell stories.
Stories about waiting out a bull behind a tree.
About buying miniature donkeys that, unlike he thought did not cost half of what a normal size donkey would cost.
About how much he loved his mama, but how she was still a pain in the ass.
He spoke of how his favorite thing about the south is the way we treat our dead – how even long after they are gone, they still live on in our words, in our stories, in the things we hold dear to us like old radios, strawberry candies and a little wooden box scratched all to hell.
For an hour, it was as if I was at the First Holy Church of the South listening to the Billy Graham of southern authors and we were all ready to rededicate our lives to the preservation of southern storytelling right then and there.
Ok, maybe that was just me.
And when I got to shake his hand, before I could even tell him ‘Hi’ or just how amazing I thought he was and how his writing could take me through time like nothing else I’d ever read before, he smiled real big and said, “You have great cheekbones.”
Just when I thought I couldn’t like him more.
And find more of my own stories here.
You know you don’t wanna miss any of this crazy.
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