What a Lovely Weekend
That’s not a statement about the current weather, because it’s gray where we are. It’s about a weekend of love (and, naturally, football).
All three of pieces of writing we bring you this weekend speak of love—the love of a daughter for her father, the love that grows inside a forty-year marriage, and the love a young man found for himself after thirty years of denial.
We start off this weekend with a story from Erica Abrams Locklear, who, by day, is the Thomas Howerton Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she studies Appalachia and its foodways, among other things Southern.
When she reached out to us about publishing an essay called “Preservation,” about her father and his love for a particular, centuries-old Appalachian food-preservation method, we were enthralled. One could read her story only as an exposure to something called “leatherbritches,” green beans dried in the early autumn sunshine and fished out of the larder, reconstituted, and flavored with smoked pork, to feed mountain people in the wintertime.
But really, it’s a story about her love for her father, who recently battled through cancer to continue his lifelong habit of making a batch leatherbritches every year.
Some folks hear that word and think, “You eat what?” But mountain folks, many of them, are in the know. My own Daddy made them and ate them every year. And in fact, I just did a little three-minute commentary for Georgia Public Broadcasting about leatherbritches. Give it a listen.
—“Preservation”: an essay on putting up beans and loving on Daddy by Erica Abrams Locklear
—“Chippendales, Winnie the Pooh, and Mississippi Corduroy”: a coming-out memoir from John W. Bateman
—“Lover”: a poem about long-lived love by Kentucky's Robert L. Penick
For the kind of love that grows between folks who’ve been married for a long, long time, Kentucky poet Robert L. Penick brings us three beautiful verses. Don’t miss them. They could be the best minute you’ll spend this weekend.
Finally, we welcome John W. Bateman to the ranks of Salvation South contributors with a wonderfully funny—and thought-provoking and heartstring-pulling—essay that recounts how his conservative Mississippi upbringing kept him in the closet for years. And now, his mama keeps bugging him: when is she finally gonna get a son-in-law?
We’re happy to be able to add some love to your Super Bowl weekend. Enjoy the game. Enjoy the commercials. And enjoy the love inside your own life.
Chuck Reece is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Salvation South, the weekly web magazine you're reading right now. He was the founding editor of The Bitter Southerner. He grew up in the north Georgia mountains in a little town called Ellijay.