Heather Earnhardt


My roots are in the South. Everything about who I am now comes from this rearing. Born in North Carolina, I grew up with thick red dirt on my toes, drunken summer thunderstorms, evening crickets and bullfrogs so loud they drowned out your own thoughts. And lightning bugs! Lanterns of green light that we caught in Granny's old blue Bell jars, running around with sticky sweat and that orange-red dirt caked to our long thin limbs of childhood… my God I miss it. Everything in the South is more alive, vibrant. The people are louder, their laughter resonating in your own belly. The food is bold, messy, loud food that forces you against your own strong will to eat more, more, more. Over breakfast you talk with your cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and Big Mamma and Granddaddy and Mee-Maw and Dee-Dee and Dee-Da about what you all will eat a mere four hours later for lunch. And then lunch comes and you're eating again and drinking little mini coke-a-colas in glass bottles with boiled peanuts in the bottom because sweet and salty is better and you talk about what ya'll are having for supper and when the next ACC basketball game is on, who plays who, mostly who Carolina is playing, "now what in the world are all you kids going to do now?" your aunt says to all eleven cousins, the aunt who you remember from one of your earliest, first memories, Aunt Dee-Dee, so excited about the food, all the food, and that part of her excitement rubbed off on you in a way that you too got enthralled, entranced with the loudness of it all, the mess, the laughter, the love. The Love. Food and the South and their people go hand in hand, entwined in the way a baby elephant is with its momma for ever and ever and you can never shake this deep dark rich dirt from your toes, nor would you want to. It stays with you wherever you go, wherever you move, leaving tar-heal tracks. It's there always, shaping you from those earliest memories to now as you lift your hand gracefully, Dee-Dee and Granny and Granddaddy are all there with you, right there, as you throw on the thick sprinkling of raw sugar on your galette, not delicate, no, never delicate, but raw and messy and loud.



© 2012 Heather L. Earnhardt ~ heather@heatherearnhardt.com ~ heatherearnhardt.tumblr.com