Terry Kay, a 2009 recipient of the Governor's Award for the Humanities and a 2006 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, has been a sports writer and film/theater reviewer (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), a public relations executive, and a corporate officer. He is the author of eleven published novels, including Bogmeadow's Wish, The Book of Marie, To Dance with the White Dog, and The Valley of Light, as well as a book of essays, Special K, and a children's book, To Whom the Angel Spoke.
The Greats of Cuttercaneby Terry Kay
When Asa Holbrook Staggs stepped into the cold-water spring that would later bear his name, he was drunk. The date was November 18, 1914. He pulled himself from the water, sober, cold, and converted to a new life in the Lord. And thus began the legend of Asa's Spring, a pool indiscriminately dispensing favoritism to those who believed (or wondered about) the curative power of its water.
These are stories of people born in Cuttercane, Georgia, the place of Asa's Spring, and who earned minor celebrity from the townsfolk's highest praise: "He (she) is something else, ain't he (she)?" The "something else" is what a Southerner might call a catchall phrase, for it can apply to saint and sinner alike. It means exactly what it implies: the person referenced has made a name for him (her) self in some mannerAsa, the drunk, becoming a war hero; the reigning heavyweight lard watermelon champion and Indian terror, Newell Proudfoot, in a grudge match against the Prichard twins; Felton Eugene Weaver's rise from whiskey runner to Hollywood movie fame; Elmo Parker and Monroe Dawson in a showdown baseball game between the Claybank Textile Tigers and the Jefferson Bluejays; and, last, the stunning Mattie Mae Blair's career as the striptease artist, Princess Salome.
Written in the edged-in-humor style of caricature, these stories are shared daily in cafes and other gathering spots in rural communities in the South. It is a practice embedded in the culture, and all it takes for a casual mention to become a tall tale is one storyteller trying to outdo another. If you find yourself in the company of such men and women, pause nearby and eavesdrop. When the snickering turns into a cackle, you will know that someone has been elevated to being "something else."
- Mercer University Press
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