Jeff Price in the Age of Corona: On Reopening the Peach State. Not Peachy Keen!

Jeff Price in the Age of Corona: On Reopening the Peach State. Not Peachy Keen!

Jeffrey Price is a screenwriter best known for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Doc Hollywood,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Shrek III.” He also directed and co-wrote “For Cryin’ Out Loud” and co-wrote “My Brother’s Keeper” for “Tales From the Crypt.” Jeff’s debut novel, “Improbable Fortunes,” came out in 2016. It’s a tall tale about the West, hits very close to home and is readily available at Between the Covers Bookstore and on Amazon. (Go here for my review.) Jeff and his wife, Jennie Franks (of SPARKy Productions ) have lived in Telluride since 1993, where he is an avid outdoorsman and prevaricator of some renown. To whit…

Jeff’s observations about the impact of the Age of Corona on the healthcare profession, tongue firmly planted in cheek, natch, are here. 

His off-piste take on the happenings in Michigan on April 16 is here.

Below is Jeff’s perspective on Governor Brian Kemp and his decision to reopen Georgia’s economy. Not peachy keen. Get ready to chuckle y’all.

For more red meat (and images) from Jeff, check out his alter ego at weegee211 on Instagram.

Howdy Friends and Neighbors,

Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia recently made a peculiar announcement. He said he was gonna take a “small step” in reopening Georgia’s economy. Now some folks would think that a thoughtful small step would be to start testing everybody within the reach of a nasal swab. But Governor Kemp had a different approach to this predicament. His plan was to put the Georgian powerhouse economy back on the front burner by reopening the state’s bowling alleys, tattoo and massage parlors. This, of course, set the Yankees up North to gobblin’ as to what kind of mind cooks up an idea like that? Well, it’s turns out that Governor Kemp figured he wouldn’t have to pay out unemployment to folks down there if he took away their excuse not to work. That’s the meat and taters angle on it, anyway.

I’d be the last person to make out like I was some expert on the South. But I will tell you, that when I was in second grade, we used to have “Singing Class” and my absolute favorite song was “Dixie.” Let me refresh your memory a bit.

And then…

“Oh, I wish I were in the land of cotton…
Old times there are not forgotten…
Look away, look away, look away Dixie land.”
“In Dixie land, I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie…
Away, away, away down South in Dixie!”

Folks, I would sing that song with such heart, with such emotion, that I would plum break down to tears. My parents were flummoxed. How, in God’s green Earth, could a six-year-old get this choked up singin’ “Old times there are not forgotten…?” I don’t know, but I did. And as an added flourish, I would clench my little hand into a fist when I chirped, “…to live and DIE in Dixie!”

That song was my only connection to the South until I went down there as a grown man chasin’ quail through their bug-infested bush and bracken. Stuckey’s Pecan Logs and Goo-Goos. Venison hash. Thankin’ Jesus for my supper. Shrimp and grits for breakfast. Folks, I was a stranger in a strange land. But my favorite time was the après quail shoot, sittin’ with the good ol’ boys in the screened-in veranda with a jar of ‘shine and a nice fresh Lucky Strike. Now these fellas were well aware they had a Yankee in their midst and an exotic one at that–me bein’ a Son of Abraham on the Isaac side, and all. But it was all cream cheese on Triscuits with pepper jelly on top. Conversation might begin with someone wondering why the quail count was down that year. Someone else might say that the cold spring rain killed off the first hatch. Someone else might offer it was because of the loss of habitat. Another fella might say that there was an increase in predators–possums, coons and skunks raiding the nests for quail eggs. But then, someone would get impatient with all this “normal” talk and say…

“Lemme tell you gentlemen sumpin’, there’ aint no more loyal pet than the skunk!”“What you say there, Beauregard?”
“You heard me. I’ve kep skunks all my damn life. So don’t be shit talkin’ skunks!”
“Now how’s that possible? You keep ‘em in the house whichya?”
“They sleep with me and the wife.”
“Come on, don’t they stink up the place?”
“You remove that lil stink gland in their anus and they’re as sweet smellin’ as petunias.”

At this point, they would shoot side glances to see how the Yankee was taking this in.

“Why don’t you tell our fella from Chicago jes how the hell do you do that?”
“Well, now. You put some chloroform in a thimble, see. Strap it over they nose an then
jes carve that li’l stink oyster outta them. Simple.”

You see, folks, it was important to these fellas that I go home to tell everybody how
crazy these Southerners are. And why is that? Cause the folks down there still consider themselves Rebels–anarchists still acting up, not wanting to give the rest of us the satisfaction that we’re all one team, the Estados Unidos. Now you might wonder what exactly is that burr under their saddle? I’ll tell ya, but don’t laugh. We took away their slaves. It gnaws at ‘em to this day.

Let’s review that song for a moment.

“Oh, I wish I were in the land of cotton…
Old times there are not forgotten…
Look away, look away, look away Dixie land.”

Kinda like a code, aint it? “Old times there are not forgotten.” That’s why none of them down there will ever go along with sensible gun laws, the Rights of a woman to choose, the Rights of non-white folks to vote, the Right of everyone to health care, the Rights of workers to earn a decent wage. They don’t even want people to have Social Security down there.

I’ll tell ya, somethin’ folks, I’m considered elderly by Covid-19 standards, but I’m here to say I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed of ever likin’ that doggone song.

I saw a mother once in the grocery store dragging her kid along the floor by his arm. Seems the little tyke was throwin’ a tantrum because Mommy wouldn’t let him have some dang cereal he wanted.
I heard the kid say he was gonna run away from home.

Seven score and fifteen years ago, the South threatened to run away from the greatest home on earth. A smart parent wanting to teach the little bastard a lesson would have called his bluff and let him.

No tattoos, no massages, no Goo-Goos. Don’t listen to Rebel Governors. Stay to home, down there. We still have hope for ya’ll.

1 Comment
  • Michael D Goldberg
    Posted at 07:42h, 26 April

    Thanks Jeff, from today’s Washington Post :

    “ Coroner Michael Fowler of Dougherty County, Ga., sees people out running errands, rushing back into their lives as Georgia tries to reopen. “Sometimes, I think about stopping and showing them one of the empty body bags I have in the trunk. ‘You might end up here. Is that worth it for a haircut or a hamburger?”

    You go Dixie …..