Fridays Weekend Column
The South Wears Its Poor On Its Sleeve
by James Glaser
In Northern Minnesota the poor are hidden in their homes, but in the South the poor are right out there for all to see. Maybe it is the weather or the lack of population that keeps poor people hidden up north. Down in Tallahassee there are people panhandling all over the city.
I could be "fresh meat" for those looking for a handout. My Minnesota license plate is a give away or maybe I am someone new on the avenue that people are sure they haven't hit up yet. No matter the reason, I have been given almost every hard luck story there is in just a few months.
This is the Bible belt, so almost every pitch has Christ in it some how, either that or they use the veteran angle. Many times it works on me and I shell out a few bucks ( you never know when that down and outer is actually Christ), but those who have tracks on their arms or eyes so red it is hard to look at them usually get some verbal directions to a facility that will help them. Most churches will help those wanting to change their lives, and there is a Baptist supported Mission down on Tennessee Street.
We have poor people up north, and we have a Food Bank that helps everyone out that needs it. The Salivation Army does lots of good works, and most VFW and American Legion Posts will help any one out that is in dire straits. I think pride keeps many poor people silent and invisible up North, but down here in the South, the poor and down and out are walking the streets with signs. They stand on street corners with signs that read "Homeless- God Bless" or "Veteran- God Bless." I think it is the God Bless that gets to you. These people must have read the Bible, at least the part about helping the "least of your brethren."
It is a shame when you think about it, here we are the richest country on this globe and we have people begging on our streets. We can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a war of choice thousands of miles away, and we can't even take care of our own. Something is wrong with that.
News Year's Day we had the black eyed peas and corn bread. We cooked ham with the peas and it was sure good. News Year's Eve, the night was filled with fire works. It was warm and nice out, so kids stayed up till all hours shooting them off. I heard of no one getting hurt and that was nice.
This week it has been in the high 70s and people keep telling me that these chilly mornings are winter. I actually want it a little bit colder. I ate some of the salad greens I planted a few weeks back. I am going to have to ask so local growers when it is time to plant tomatoes.
I have been working on my fudge book and am still looking for new recipes if you have one. Thomas Henery Tutone's cranberry fudge, cooked over an open fire is still the top choice according to my tasters. I think the making of the fudge, the tasting, experimenting, and the giving away of the finished product is a lot more fun than writing about it, but I hope to have the whole thing done real soon in order to publish it.
I guess making fudge and writing about it is a good way to spend the winter down here, and I will continue on with it.
BACK to the Essays.