There’s a way that a person from Kentucky will say to you, “I don’t know.” You can watch Berry do it a few times in this interview with Moyer. I love that. It’s not apologetic, as it would be if I said it. It points out that here is where things get interesting. Southern speech is slow. “G”s get dropped, although in a lovely, graceful way, not in the way that W dropped his “G”s to suck in a bunch of white crackers.
And, so, no surprise here, I love the language of the South, I love the way that it springs from my southern landbase. I love the way that the cadences of my landbase express the truths of the land so perfectly. Our music and our talk is full of the scent of magnolia, the savor of sweet tea, the humidity that makes all of us glow.
But Berry says, “The language is secondary, but it imposes an obligation. … I’ve lived in a place I’ve loved. I’ve been a friend and an ally with my brother all these years. Lived with a woman I’ve loved, love. . . . And then, I’ve had my children for neighbors, which is really unusual in our time, to have your children for neighbors. And then I’ve had a part in raising my grandchildren.”