My dogs weren’t sure what to do when I started singing that little ditty yesterday. We were walking past a culvert when I noticed two huge crawdad holes in the water and immediately thought, “I wish the girls were home so I could show ‘em how to tie a piece of bacon on a line and catch those guys.”
Then I laughed at myself because, except for my annoying accent, I don’t think of myself as much of a country girl. Sure, I’d rather be outside than inside, I love the woods, I live in jeans and watching my hubby do ranch work is one of my favorite pastimes. I have idealistic dreams that consist of things like being great on a horse, growing massive amounts of vegetables and looking awesome without makeup but they’re pretty much just that – dreams. I’m much more of a City girl if the truth be told. (Or at least a Suburban girl.)
However, there’s one thing I hope I am…a Southern girl.
Most of the women I admire the most are Southern girls. Not Southern Belles… although I’m sure I might like a few of those. I’m talking about Southern girls that work like a man, clean up like a lady, defend those they love like a bear, fight for what’s right like a warrior, able to be gentle as a dove and strong as steal when need be and who live to serve like a saint. Yep, I would much rather be like those women than pretty much any famous woman you could list.
Maybe that’s why I can so easily be soothed by Southern things. On days that I’m angry, stressed, totally insecure or worried, I’ve found that certain things bring me back to a place where I can remember who and what I want to be. Somehow, they can stop a downward spiral or defuse an emotional rampage I might be on. They take me back to when I was a child. They ground me.
Things like beignets and chocolate milk, a crawfish boil, playing dominoes, a bonfire, wrapping up in a quilt on a cold night, country music by the water in the summer, roast and potatoes for Sunday lunch, and… the most effective kryptonite to the savage beast within….Black Water by the Doobie Brothers.
I don’t know why.
I was only 8 when it came out but I had the 45 and I played it a million times. When I was moody or mad or sad. I’d shut myself up in my room and play it over and over and over. There were a few other songs like Vincent, Ventura Highway, A Horse with No Name and American Pie but nothing touched my soul like Black Water. Maybe that’s because it’s about the Mississippi River. About the heart of what it means to be Southern and grounded to the land you’re from. Maybe it’s just because it’s got chimes blowing in the wind. I don’t know why, but I know it washes over me like anesthesia. Relaxing me, soothing my soul, calming my mind and stirring up something in me that wants to be a better version of who I am.
A Southern girl in all her glory.