Summertime Musings about Place Names and Songs from The Delta
I have been spending a lot of time at my sister’s home over at Sledge, since my house is being repaired. When I came off the “bluff” on Highway 315 seeing that sea of lush green it seemed much cooler than the triple digit heat index outside.
Of course, Sledge, with a population of under five hundred, has two claims to fame in the country music world. Eighty-six-year-old Charlie Pride has won enormous fame as a country music artist. So successful was his music career that we tend to forget that he was also a professional baseball player.
That characteristic baritone belted out hit after hit, that won him a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame. In the 1970’s one of his hits was “Kaw-Liga” – the story of a wooden Indian statue who stood outside a store. In light of all the name changing and tearing down of statues, I hope that “special interest” groups don’t want to change his name. It’ll mess up the song. Don’t tear down the wooden Indian statue either if there is one!
Another country artist from Sledge, who grew up with Charlie Pride was the late Harold Dorman. Legend has it that Dorman wrote the song, “Mississippi Cotton Pickin’ Delta Town, which was recorded by both him and Pride. Another great hit that was sung by both was “Mountain of Love.”
My nephew recalls when Dorman sang on the Dick Clark show in 1958. He was from Sledge and knew both Dorman and Pride. He was visiting his grandmother Mrs. Jessie Palmertree, (my mother), who watched the show with him.
The Panolian publisher, Rebecca Alexander, knew Dorman and his family after he moved to Memphis. “I heard him later in his life singing solos at LeClair Baptist Church. You would never know he had been such a big star, except for his extreme talent and voice, because he was so humble.” said Alexander.
Both songs and both artists talked and sang so vividly about tehri past and what it still means to them. People, let’s not bury our heritage. Whether you are rich or poor, prisoner or preacher, each generation has woven a common thread to carry us across the bridge to what the future might hold. Don’t burn those bridges. We might need to go back across them some day to figure out who we really are.
Medically for instance, the Traywick family tree is laden with diabetes from as far as they can recall.
I received some beautiful pictures of crepe myrtle trees over Panola County last week. Text me yours. We hope to get them published in The Panolian and winners will be selected. Keep them coming to me. 901-828-8824.