Where I Come From

        Some time back I was a pen pal with some cool high school kids in Mississippi.  Their English teacher had assigned them to write up a short essay on “where I come from.”  I was fascinated by their thoughtful responses, and read them all.  They covered a lot of territory- everything from why their mama cooked the best to what kind of music they liked to thoughts on prejudice.

         Wednesday I ran across a new blog I liked from a chap in England.  (a John Chapman of all things.)  He just started his blog, the Pedlar’s weblog, but I’ve a feeling he has much to tell us ‘Muricans about his home in England.  My blog has brought me friends from up north, (Irene and the English Professor and the chilis) Scotland, (Dr. Bob Leckridge) the frozen tundra, (Ms. Pande) Oklahoma romance writers (Ms. Susan) and now a new friend from England. 

        With all this it occurs to me I like wordpress so much ’cause with it this ole country boy is gonna connect all the dots and figure out ‘xactly where he came from.  After all, we are all connected in some way.  With my Scotch Irish background, I find blogs like Dr. Bob and John Chapman to be very important.  

        So, I’d like to ask my readers if you’d go through the following exercise with me.  Just like my my young friends from Mississippi, how ’bout writing me about where you come from.  I’ll post my blip below to give you an idea of what format I’m looking for.  Like all editors, I guess we ought to have a word limit, so I”ll arbitrarily say 100 words.  If you’ll send your thoughts I”ll post ’em in the comments to this entry.

        Before I give you my “where I come from,” I hope you’ll indulge me one joke.

        A young boy asked his mama the question she had dreaded for years.

        “Mama, where did I come from?”    

         The mom had made up her mind when the question came, she was going to be open and honest.  Her son deserved that.  She went through her birds and bees routine in great detail, and then awaited a response. 

        The boy looked puzzled, and then said, “That’s funny, Joey came from Cleveland.” 

        Ah, communication is everything huh?  I look forward to your “where I come froms.”  Here’s mine.

                              Where I Come From

        I come from doctoring and bluegrass music.  Country churches and Memorial day picnics with long tables of fried chicken and deviled eggs.  Post Toasties and T.V. beauty contests with Grandma.  Trips to the library with mama and Orangeade drinks at Bolton’s drug store on my paper route.  Muni golf courses and cotton fields, swimming holes and Scotch Irish sunburned boys.  Country poets and the Beatles and Bluegrass.  House calls with my country doctor Dad.  I come from the South, and love it here.  I ain’t proud of all our history, but I am proud of the New South, where I come from, and where we are going.  

        Where do you come from?  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Dr. B

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28 Comments on “Where I Come From”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, New York City, a combination of Jewish intellectuals and investment bankers on one side and on the other a butcher made good. The suburbs and prep school, Pete Seeger and the Kingston Trio mixed with Josh White, Ella Fitzgerald and the Internet. Mix it all with two great kids, their families, a wife with her own worldview then, late in life, the discovery of bluegrass music, the south as a way of life, and good people everywhere willing to let us become a part of their rich lives. A new world opens daily.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Cool. See, I would be lost in your world, but with this exercise, I figure we can find folks who can guide us when on unfamilar turf. In the great Northeast, Irene and the English Professor are helping a country boy find his way.

    And when you are here in the South, you guys are welcome in my jam session any time.

    Dr. B

  3. banjobilly Says:

    Gibson banjers and Grascals is where I come from.


  4. I say I come from Long Island, New York — but once I moved back up there from being in Clearwater, Florida for 16 years, I realize I’m from Florida now.

    I come from two parents that couldn’t be more opposite. One has a heart of gold that would never want me to want for anything and would give her right arm to see me smile. And the other is a trust fund wielding asshole who likes to dangle the carrot right in front of me and make me beg for it, which is something I refuse to do.

    I come from a smattering of punk rock fused with techno and broadway, sprinkled with pop and hip hop.

  5. drtombibey Says:

    Punk rock techno broadway fusion hip hop pop meets bluegrass/country hillbilly jazz. The beauty of the blog world is the mix.

    Dr. B

  6. pandemonic Says:

    Where I come from is so far away from where I am now, it should almost be made into an epic movie, like Legends of the Fall. (Well, maybe it’s not that epic. But I do like the violin music in that movie.) In a musical sense, think eastern Mediterranean, Asian, jig music, and whatever the voyageurs used in their canoes. Closer to my generation, think Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, and CSNY. Mix in there Patty Loveless, Shania, Chopin and Mozart. And that’s just a drop in the bucket.

  7. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pande,

    I think the old saying everyone has a book in ’em is true ’cause we’ve all got a story, huh?

    It seems everyone on wordpress is eclectic in musical taste. Mediterranean is one I am not familar with. Any idea where I could go to hear a clip?

    Patty Lovelace and Mozart in the same sentence is enough to get my attention all by itself.

    I’ve heard Patty Lovelace was working at a Pancake House and doing local gigs 6 months before she hit it big. If true, that’s enough to give hope to all of us.

    Dr. B

  8. drtombibey Says:

    banjobilly,

    Good banjos and a good tune too.

    Dr. B

  9. mrschili Says:

    I come from New England, with its paradoxes of cold, rocky, gray coastlines and lush, cool pine forests; of stern looking men who don’t say two words to you, but who love their families and friends so fiercely that it embarrasses them when it leaks out; of tough, stout grandmothers who can start the tractor and plow the driveway while the most delicate pie bakes in the oven.

    I come from harshness and neglect and abuse and was delivered into love and kindness and acceptance. I come from a strong work ethic, and the belief that if you can do for yourself, you should also do for others. I come from an understanding that it’s better to be kind than to be wealthy, and that an education is a golden key worth sacrificing for.

    I could go on, but I think I’m over the 100 word limit already…

  10. drtombibey Says:

    mrschili,

    Aw, it was just a suggested limit and not a hard and fast rule. The teacher still gets an A+.
    I always admire people who come thru adversity and land on the other side not bitter but to use their experience to serve others.

    Dr. B

  11. bobleckridge Says:

    The hills, the rocks, Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument, an intense connectedness to the geography and the history of Scotland; a little school where everyone was different; laughter, jokes and that genetic Scottish sense of humour. Reading, books and libraries. Reading and writing, hearing and telling stories. At three years old saying I wanted to be a doctor and setting off on the path to become one.
    A lifelong, deep, deep feeling of being here in this world for a reason.
    First the Beatles, and on to Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Van der Graaf Generator, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Simon and Garfunkel. John Peel, Pirate Radio Caroline and Short Wave Radio absorbed by the accents and stories of people from far away lands, the signal late at night fading away and swelling back again like the surf on the stony beaches.
    Jam sessions in my teens with my friends. Lying on our backs on the grass at night picking out the constellations in the black, black sky, feeling overwhelmed by the Milky Way, and feeling very small.

  12. sshay Says:

    I’m from a small town, Dr. T. A place where everyone’s a friend until they prove otherwise. Where real friends know the meaning of the word and aren’t about to abuse it. Where a stranger lends a helping hand and the LMOTTP (low man on the totum pole) can walk right in, sit down and chat with the boss. Where grown children hug their fathers on a daily basis and aren’t embarrassed to say, “I love you.”
    I come from a colorful background in a state full of wild stories where most of them are true. I’m an Okie.

  13. Parson Bob Says:

    Teachers, teachers, everywhere there are teachers: my father was a school teacher, my mother was a school teacher, I married … you guessed it … a school teacher. I didn’t stand a chance, which is why I’m still learning …
    still learning about this church stuff,
    still learning about old time fiddle music,
    still learning about law school,
    still learning to live a day at a time,
    still learning to go see what’s on the other side of the next hill,
    still learning the mysteries of the web … so much to learn.

    Two of my teachers have passed on, but after 49 years and nine months I’m still learning from the other teacher.

    And that’s where I come from, and also where I’m going.

  14. drtombibey Says:

    Dr. Bob,

    I knew I wanted to be a Doc early on, too. I also spent a lot of time in libraries, just not as big as the one you had on your web site.

    I was in a bunch of those jam sessions too.

    I am of Scotch Irish descent. Some day I have to visit there to feel like “The Circle is Unbroken.”

    Dr. B

  15. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Susan,

    One thing about small towns- it seems folks grow up with a sense of belonging, and it never goes away even if you move to a big place.

    Dr. B

  16. drtombibey Says:

    Parson Bob,

    My wife’s folks came from a long line of ministers, and then all of them became teachers. I think the two kinda run in the same pack and do much of the same kind of work. (So do country docs.)

    Dr. B

  17. annaliserussell Says:

    I come from early mornings, where mist floats among the cypress trunks to greet the dawn and the air is thick with damp, where the crickets sing so loud your ears hurt, and night holds a dark magic. I come from the danger and beauty of dark waters, from a natural cacophony where children run barefoot on summer days laughing as they duck beneath the vining limbs to shelter in the hugs of shady willows. I come from the simplicity and complexity of rural life.
    How ’bout that Dr. B? Do you know where I’m from?
    ~Annalise

  18. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Annalise,

    That is so good, and so descriptive. It paints such a pretty word picture. I can see how you became a writer of romance.

    It is interesting, but I notice a lot of art people grew up in a rural setting. (Or maybe it is just my weblog attracts that crowd.) It does make me wonder, though- if you get to run barefoot in the summer as a kid is it good for one’s imagination as an adult? It seems that way.

    Oh is it Bayou country you are from? John Fogerty (of Creedence Clearwater Revival) said when he first went there he felt like he was home.

    Dr. B

  19. Annalise Russell Says:

    Bayou country is right, Dr. B. Swam with the alligators, too. ~Annalise

  20. drtombibey Says:

    Well Annalise, son of a gun. I dig that Cajun music too.

    I wanted my daughter to be able to take care of herself, and she is a black belt in karate now. I figure any girl who can swim with the alligators can take care of any bad fellows who try and cross them too. Way to go.

    As a bluegrass Doc, I thought I was unique, but a romance writer who swims with alligators! That has gotta be one of a kind for sure.

    Dr. B

  21. wayonhelp Says:

    i’m a surfer, a musician, i’ve had a journal since i was 16, i’m a novelist, a poet, a romantic, a skeptic, an optimist, a student, a teacher, a kid from jersey going to college in the carolinas, a helper, a dog owner, a guy who things that the simpler something is said the less chance it has to be a lie.

  22. drtombibey Says:

    Man that is an absolutely cool statement! Thanks for visiting and come back.

    What kind of music do you play? While you are in the Carolinas check out some of our bluegrass music. It ain’t your father’s bluegrass, but more of a progressive new acoustic blend these days.

    Dr. B

  23. johnchap Says:

    Born (1932) in a village some 20 miles south of London, England. Father a civil servant, middle class – but his grandfather was a timber-yard labourer, and mother’s grandfather an itinerant glass-cutter. A comfortable childhood (though we never had a car), dominated by the War – air raids, rationing and drab clothes. Father died of TB in 1947. At school showed talent for writing, acting and languages; so opted for science! Almost took up medicine, then switched to agriculture. Milked cows and drove tractors before uni; afterwards, 8 magical years in Malaya – a dead-end careerwise, but fascinating, in spite of the Emergency and terrorists. Married ’63 – two kids – wife died in ’78 – remarried in’87 – a professional actor since ’89 – sorry, this is turning in to a full biography.

    I write, I paint, I photograph, I make music – none of them particularly well. I listen to classical rather than ‘pop’ but retain a love of folk-music. Memory and eyesight starting to fail …

  24. drtombibey Says:

    John,

    Thanks so much for your story.

    Folks, y’all visit John at the Pedlar’s Weblog; he’s on my blogroll.

    I began to write in 2000 when I had to get a new computer (my DOS I loved so thought it was 1899, perhaps appropriate for me) and my kids introduced me to the Internet. At first it was just a way for me to round up all my bluegrass boys for gigs. For this weblog to evolve to the point where a country doc/bluegrass picker can exchange ideas with a retired British farmer/writer/actor is beyond cool.

    WordPress does seem to attract the most interesting mix of people. I’m glad I ran into John Chapman. He has a lot to say, and the pictures of where he comes from are classic.

    Dr. B


  25. Born in Orleans, France, I was “shipped” to the USA at six weeks old and have not stopped roaming…. yet. Raised just outside of Tulsa, OK and remember so fondly summers in the mountains of West Virginia. Once I turned 18, the roaming intensified and since then I have driven every mile of every interstate in this great country and have traveled on most highways, state routes, county roads, and wagon trails. Have seen five provinces of Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and experienced (fell in love with) the music in all of the above! I’ve resided in OK, OH, KY, TN, NC, WV, back to OH, and soon to be back in those beautiful mountains of WV. Hard to say where I come from, but I know where I want to be!! Mountains, music, family, friends, and endless trout streams await! And I’ll be sharing all this with my best friend, Lisa!!

  26. drtombibey Says:

    Wow Lowell, I am impressed. My day job kept me awful close to home. If it weren’t for the Internet and Doctor books, my brain might have never gotten out of the County.

    Dr. B

  27. tel Says:

    Although my great interest is classical music and Mozart, traditional Christian music, Victorian music, I also like the sound of mandolins and banjos, old-time music, gentle blues and soft jazz. I even like Irish songs. Thanks Dr B for visiting my site.

    Where I come from? I’m part of the Creator’s magnificent creation. Gentle breeze. Rainbows. Earliest sunrise, Sunsets, Mozart’s clarinet concerto, beautiful flowers profusely blooming in magical gardens, peace, hope, love abound. Beyond eternity, because He has no end and beginning.

    And there I want to stay, is where I come from…

    Until it’s time for me to go, where I come from.

  28. drtombibey Says:

    Hey thanks for visiting, me too. I dig where you come from.

    The variety is the ticket, huh? Without it, the world would be dull indeed.

    Dr. B


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