Ailment, Mississippi/Alabama is two states of sorry and is as backwards as the Alabama State Constitution, but Ailment is also as blessed as the Delta’s rich soil. Ninety years ago, I storm through this town with nothing but cotton fields in my future. Until WWII, I never step foot off of US soil. With a raggedy suitcase and a sack filled with pecans, I head to Europe for the trenches, but I never make it past England. That’s another story for another time. Let’s just say, I witness Brit’s gobbling up pecans like hogs in heat, so I put the cotton fields in my rear view mirror and shined my headlights on Ross Pecan Orchard. Me. A half educated, black man from Mississippi or Alabama— depends on who you ask– got people to crack enough nuts to make me a fortune.
Unfortunately, every fortune comes with side effects. Mine are boredom and a sense of invincibility. So when the big super store ran most of the mom and pop stores of Ailment away, I decide to open up a shopping center right on the state line to prove that I’m mightier than some corporation from Podunk Arkansas.
The lush green fields of Mississippi and the abundance of pine and oak trees of Alabama surround my little piece of the American pie.
Ross Shopping Plaza, a premiere staple in Black Ailment history, is my favorite child and life long dream fulfilled.
Twenty years opened. Twenty years worth of rent collected and unspent, because why spend a nickel, when you can save a dime. I almost lost this place when that idiot from Texas ran the country. Luckily, the bank went bankrupt and no one cared anymore. Seeing a half empty parking lot on a Saturday turns my stomach more than the black wreaths adorning the shops’ doors that remind me that my beautiful storefronts are lost to me forever. I am not invincible, and the chariot ride isn’t so sweet.
Sorry, I’m rambling and giving you a history lesson at the same time.
Yep, I’m a true southerner.
Let me introduce myself. I am Daddy D to a slew of wallet grabbers, but I am
J. D. Ross
Pillar of the community
Devoted Husband. Proud Grandfather of a few. Mean Grandfather of many. Disappointed Father of all my children.
That’s what my preordered tombstone reads. I couldn’t trust my family to get it right.
No one knows what the J.D. stands for. Right now, the D stands for Dead. As dead as the Jheri curl should be. I cringe every time I see Sally Keep and her curl juices staining the church pews. Now her curls are dripping on my favorite easy chair in my den where the vultures are gathered around to pick over my belongings. Nothing is remarkable about my two story square house, but my six children and grandchildren eye the house like the walls are made of gold. I shudda left my money to the hogs. Those slow ass jackals are just gettin’ around to burying me two weeks after my death.
Usually, people show their true colors when no one’s looking, but my family’s true colors shine through the minute the dirt hits my coffin. I’d shake my damn head, but spirits don’t have one. I regret leaving, my poor wife, Claral, to our offspring’s machinations. They think I’m about to set them up for life, but I refuse to let my life’s blood go to idle hands.
So Before I go raising hell in heaven, there is some dirt to stir up on earth. Let the will reading begin…..
Next entry will be posted on Thursday, April 5.