Swapping Stories, Southern-Style


I actually witnessed this implosion in November of 1971.  Stayed up all night to see it right before dawn with my personal bodyguard Haboo Garbowski, a bear of a mannishboy.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hanging out with old college friends who attended the University of South Carolina with me in the early to mid-70s, and, of course, we told stories because that’s what old Southern boomers do.[1]  We relive the past because, as the song says, “old times [here] are not forgotten.”[2]

The majority of these tales are comedic, thematically connected. For example, the time when ol’ so-and-so was wandering around someone’s house in the wee hours drunk as a skunk wearing only an oxford dress shirt as he stumbled around munching on a chicken drumstick, and another, even more embarrassing incident, when an extremely inebriated newlywed became disoriented and crawled naked in bed with his mother-in-law. Here, the written word is no substitute for the oral transmission, the whoops and hollers, the rhythm of the vernacular.

That story led to one about a young woman who house sat for B and D.  This woman, a free spirit, slept in the nude. One morning, she stepped out onto the deck in her naked majesty and closed the sliding doors.  CLICK.  She tried to reopen the door, but it wouldn’t budge. All the other doors were locked as well.

Fortunately, she had her phone in her hand, which she had picked up out of habit, a rather absurd situation, to be outside naked except for a cell phone, which brings to mind this lovely ditty from Robert Graves.[3]

For me, the naked and the nude
(By lexicographers construed
As synonyms that should express
The same deficiency of dress
Or shelter) stand as wide apart
As love from lies, or truth from art.

Lovers without reproach will gaze
On bodies naked and ablaze;
The Hippocratic eye will see
In nakedness, anatomy;
And naked shines the Goddess when
She mounts her lion among men.

The nude are bold, the nude are sly
To hold each treasonable eye.
While draping by a showman’s trick
Their dishabille in rhetoric,
They grin a mock-religious grin
Of scorn at those of naked skin.

The naked, therefore, who compete
Against the nude may know defeat;
Yet when they both together tread
The briary pastures of the dead,
By Gorgons with long whips pursued,
How naked go the sometimes nude!

Well, by Graves’ definition, she was naked, not nude, as naked as a jaybird, as my grandmother would say, who herself has relocated to “the briary pastures of the dead,” but that’s another story.

Obviously distressed, the young woman called one of the owners, D, and asked her if she should ask people in the neighboring house for help, but D said, “We live at the end of a dirt road.  We don’t have neighbors. I’ve hardly ever talked to those people.”

The good news, though — and how lucky is this – the house was equipped with a trap door.  All she had to do was fetch the ladder, find the trap door, push it open, and enter from below, which, bless her heart, she did successfully.

This narrative led to other getting locked out of the house stories, like poor ol’ Sherman T who was told he could crash at that very house, but found it locked. His door knocking coming to naught, he decided to crash on a lounge chair next to the pool.

“So I wrapped myself in towels,” he said.  “They were dog towels. I spent the night wrapped up in dog towels under the moon.”

Of course, I have a couple of getting out of the house stories (here’s one), but the one I was going to tell involved in-laws, a rental house in St. Simons, and the Swimming Pool Q’s.

“The Swimming Pool Q’s,” D and B shouted.  “They’re good friends of ours!”

So instead of hearing my lame story we talked about the Pool Q’s, which had nothing to do with my favorite story of the evening , the Great Mount Pleasant Mushroom Disaster, but I’ll have to tell you that one in private the next time I see you.

I’ll leave you with this peek of the Pool Q’s until the folks at YouTube remove it because of copyright concerns.

[1] Pardon the redundancy.

[2] Despite the copious amounts of intoxicants involved in many of these stories.

[3] Graves doesn’t distinguish “nekkid,” unlike Lewis Grizzard, who famously  explained, “There’s a big difference between the words, ‘naked’ and ‘nekkid.’ ‘Naked’ means you don’t have any clothes on. ‘Nekkid’ means you don’t have any clothes on … and you’re up to something.”

3 thoughts on “Swapping Stories, Southern-Style

  1. What fun to swap stories with you! I lived in Columbia Hall my freshman year before the implosion. Seems we have much in common with USC and the music and friends. Those videos of Swimmimg Pool Q’s were great. Thanks for your intensity and interest in keeping the stories and poets alive. Great art too! Have beautiful Christmas with Caroline…will look forward to seeing you both in the New Year. ♥️D&B

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Dana, Caroline and I have so enjoyed hanging out with you and Bill, both at Stones and the other night at Folly. We definitely need to see each other more often. Hope y’all have happy holidays. Thanks for reading and the kind words!

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