Nobody can make you feel inferior
without your consent.
Something to think about....
"Boy, whatever you is
and wherever you is
This "Something to Think About" piece didn't start out to be about Joel Chandler Harris. I recently ran across the quote above and liked it so much I wanted to use it. But the more I read about Joel Chandler Harris, the more intrigued I became with him.
"Joel Chandler Harris was born in Eatonton, Georgia in
1845 to Mary Ann Harris. His father, whose identity remains unknown,
abandoned his family shortly after Harris was born. The parents had never
married, so Harris took the name Joel from his attending physician, Dr.
Joel Branham. Chandler was the name of his mother's uncle. Harris remained
self-conscious of his illegitimate birth throughout his life."
"A prominent physician, Dr. Andrew Reid, gave the
Harris family a small cottage behind his mansion. Mary Harris worked as a
seamstress and helped neighbors with their gardening to support herself
and her son. She was an avid reader and instilled her son with a love of
language: "My desire to write—to give expression to my thoughts—grew out
of hearing my mother read
The Vicar of Wakefield."
During the course of his early childhood and young adulthood, several people took Harris under their wings and helped him along with his future writing career.
But because of his insecurity of where he came from,
"Harris spent hundreds of hours in the slave quarters during time off.
Much of his self-consciousness disappeared in the slave quarters, and his
humble background as an illegitimate, red-headed son of an Irish immigrant
helped foster an intimate connection with the slaves. He absorbed the
stories, language, and inflections of people like Uncle George Terrell,
Old Harbert, and Aunt Crissy. The African-American animal tales they
shared later became the foundation and inspiration for Harris'
Uncle Remus tales. George Terrell and Old
Harbert in particular became models for Uncle Remus as well as role models
As a child, I absolutely loved the story of Br'er Rabbit. I loved it that Br'er Rabbit told Mr. Fox not to throw him in the briar patch, where he really wanted to be. I think that was when I learned to use "reverse psychology" on my younger siblings, even though I didn't know the concept even had a name. And I plead the Fifth for some of those said siblings, who I know will read this!
I was happily surprised to find that these wise stories with so much meaning had come from African-American slaves, African and Native American folklore. I had no idea they were that old.
"On July 20, 1879, Harris published "The Story of Mr.
Rabbit and Mr. Fox as Told by Uncle Remus" in the Atlanta Constitution.
It was the first of 34 plantation fables that would comprise Uncle
Remus: His Songs and His Sayings in 1880. The stories, mostly
collected directly from the African-American
oral storytelling tradition, were
revolutionary in their use of dialect, animal personage, and serialized
So this person who had been born into a situation where so many have stood back and used their circumstances to claim that life is unfair and they can never "be anything," went forward in life to be such a success that even the president of the United States invited him to the White House.
"Harris did travel to accept an invitation to the White
House by President Theodore Roosevelt. Two years earlier, Roosevelt had
said, "Presidents may come and presidents may go, but Uncle Remus stays
put. Georgia has done a great many things for the Union, but she has never
done more than when she gave Mr. Joel Chandler Harris to American
I hope everyone had a wonderful November.
So finally Ellen decided to get in front of us and start blazing
the trail. She got warm by breaking twigs, stomping down fallen,
rotten logs and other debris so that just possibly Mildred and I
might move a bit faster. Finally, when the rain started falling
harder and Mildred and I had stopped in the rain to continue our
deep discussion of property lines, an old pear tree that was
still standing and bearing fruit after being there for at least
70 years, and other important things, with a disgusted wave of
her hand Ellen left us and went to the house to make a pot of
Something To Think About: Reflections on Life, Family, Body Image & Other Weighty Matters by the Queen of Rubenesque Romances
Download it for free at
Click on the Bookbuzzr graphic (if visible on your computer screen) to browse an excerpt from Pat's book
Your body is a unique work of art.
Treat your body with love and respect, just like you'll do for all those
other bodies that will surround you during this season. Be guilt-free. Be
happy. And be at peace with your body.
Reader Review of the
a Feb. 11, 2009 Conversation with Pat Ballard
Calendar of Events
Now available from Pearlsong Press—Pat's newest book, the nonfiction Something to Think About: Reflections on Life, Family, Body Image, & Other Weighty Matters by the Queen of Rubenesque Romances. It's a FREE PDF ebook that can be downloaded at http://www.pearlsong.com/somethingtothinkabout.htm or via the link at the beginning of this newsletter.
Pat is now co-hosting Radio Free Nashville's Health At Every Size show, which airs every Monday morning. The show is streamed live over the Internet 10-11 a.m. CST Mondays. You can also subscribe to the podcast of the show. Go to http://www.healthateverysize.info for more info, including archived recordings, or to subscribe.
You can also listen to or download recordings
of many of the shows at
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read as well as support in loving themselves.
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