The Transcript

The Hurting Kind

John Paul White live from the Oxford American stage

October 2, 2019

This episode is made possible by UAMS

(Theme Music)

Sacred Place by Julian Rankin

SARA A. LEWIS, HOST:

Welcome to Points South. I’m your host Sara A. Lewis from the Oxford American. On today’s episode a conversation with Mary Miller author of Biloxi. John Paul White is live from the Oxford American stage. And first, a story by OA contributor Julian Rankin, director of the Walter Anderson Museum. Rankin follows in the artist’s footsteps on a trip to Horn Island, Mississippi.

JULIAN RANKIN:

In April 2019, seven Southern explorers, myself included, journeyed to a desert island off the Mississippi coast. We crossed between realities, through barriers of place and time following the ghost of an artist named Walter Inglis Anderson. The island is named Horn Island, the product of hundreds of years of windblown sands. It treads water in the Gulf of Mexico, twelve miles offshore from Anderson’s old stomping grounds in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. We planned to camp for six days spread out beneath the stars.

JOHN ANDERSON:

In the prior year, instead of taking the steamboat, he had taken a canoe down the Mississippi River.

JULIAN RANKIN:

That’s John Anderson, son of Walter Anderson. He’s the keeper of his father’s legacy and was the first park ranger on Horn Island in the 1970s. He would be meeting us on Horn via his sailboat. The crew was led by John Ruskey, our captain. Ruskey is an artist, Anderson devoteé, wilderness guide, and founder of Quapaw canoe company in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

As director of the Walter Anderson Museum of art, I had worked out the trip in partnership with John Ruskey. Our vessel: Ruskey’s 29-foot cypress strip canoe called Grasshopper. We loaded up our gear in the parking lot of the museum.

Grasshopper was festooned on the bow with a painted illustration of her namesake, a coiled legged insect ready to bounce through the waves. We secured her to the trailer. Ruskey spread of map out atop the canoe.

Let’s pause here to ask the all-important question. What the hell were we thinking? And what the hell was Walter Anderson thinking? Who was this man whose ghost we followed?

Anderson was from the seaside town of Ocean Springs, where the Walter Anderson Museum of Art now stands. His prodigious body of work and mystical philosophies explored his Southern landscape: cranes taking flight, submarine manta rays, brilliant sunsets, tumultuous waves. Anderson was a virtuoso of line, a master of negative space. His subjects have a kinetic fluidity, more illustrative than merely realistic, distillations of nature’s dynamic movements. His palette was ever vibrant. Yellows, purples, greens, blues, and oranges. Co-mingling like the magic hour before sunset. Anderson's artworks are more than objects. They are hieroglyphs, secret codes that he left behind.

ANDERSON:

You know, somebody takes a path, somebody takes a trail.

RANKIN:

John Anderson, again.

ANDERSON:

They will blaze that trail so that someone following them, the next person to take the trail will see those blazes and know which way to go. Well, Daddy’s paintings were like blazes of beauty to guide people that might want to follow him, and he found that life that he experienced directly to be much, much more profound.

RANKIN:

Walter Anderson made his most visionary work on Horn Island. Thousands of watercolors painted on humble typing paper. He came here repeatedly starting in the 1940s and until his death in 1965. He rode out in a small skiff, camped under the upturned boat, shared dinners with birds and beasts, floated the lagoons, spoke to the pelicans. He carried art materials in his wide-brimmed hat and painted it all. The art he brought back made him a Southern legend. Anderson found transcendence on Horn Island, connection to a living, breathing universe. We hoped we might, too.

Back in the museum parking lot. We gathered around Grasshopper and charted the course.

RANKIN:

What would Walter do?

RUSKEY:

Walter would go a find the most efficient way out. According to the wind.

RANKIN:

Ruskey suggested we leave from Pascagoula to the east of Ocean Springs. We’d be leaving through the thick of the shipbuilding industry.

RUSKEY:

Might be some traffic coming in out of here, but we'll quickly get out of it. There’s the main navigation channel.

ANOTHER TRAVELER:

Yeah this area right here, is very American. War ships and oil tankers.

RUSKEY:

That’d be kind of neat. Leave in the, leave in the thick of it all. By the way, the best way to relieve yourself when you're in the canoe is jump out into the water and then climb back in. The only difficulty was getting back in.

RANKIN:

We took one more bathroom break and then we were off.

We drove to the boat ramp 30 minutes away. Cool jazz on the radio, nervous energy from the group. We weren’t certain what lay ahead. Anderson recorded his experiences on Horn Island in his Horn Island logs, which were published after his death.

RANKIN:

What follows is a passage from my own journal from day one of the six-day journey:

“The canoe moves soundlessly and without trace save for the rhythmic pull and push of paddles and the swirling eddies that they left in the wake. Little spiraled galaxies of microscopic life springing forth six times every second. We cut the water and the water passed around us, and we floated as through a cloud on a magic carpet.”

The eight-mile paddle to the east end of Horn was grueling, but we channeled Anderson, who wrote in his Horn Island logs, “In this day of the machine age, even a one-mile row is considered an incredible feat.” Like Anderson’s skiff, the canoe is an elemental craft, powered by human locomotion and the whims of the wind. Paddling illuminates a truth about the island. It is farther away in spirit than it is on a map. John Anderson knows this paradigm well. He and I spoke behind a dune on Horn.

ANDERSON:

It does matter how you get here. Coming in the canoe, you’ve done it. Let me ask you: is there not a transition? Do you not feel the benefit of paddling across that distance. It gave you time to adjust to an alternative form of existence. I’m asking you what, what difference do you see?

RANKIN:

We'll get to what I saw. For John Ruskey who lives on the Mississippi River and swims as if he has gills behind his ears, a canoe trip connects him back to Huck Finn, Greek seafarers, and First Nations boat builders. In a word, it’s freedom.

RUSKEY:

Some people call it the poor man’s yacht. You can feel like the, the king of your own ship, uh, as a captain of a canoe. And it’s probably the most versatile craft that you could find anywhere in the world. The canoe that we paddled out, it's as a standard French voyager size. And for us coming out here to this island, it, uh, proved itself to be a excellent vessel for the journey.

RANKIN:

Ruskey and I sat beneath a shaded grove on the island overlooking a lagoon. I asked him to speak for Grasshopper.

RUSKEY:

She’s very happy to be out here in this big open waters, salty waters on an entirely new location. Yeah, she is dancing in these waves and has been sitting proudly on the shoreline. Uh, watching the, the Gulf of Mexico.

RANKIN:

John Anderson told me about a formative canoe trip his father had taken in the 1920s while returning from art school in the Northeast.

ANDERSON:

He had canoed down the Mississippi River and during that trip he lived, I suppose a kind of primitive existence. He became one with nature.

RANKIN:

We too camped primitively. Our crew of castaways set up on the south side of the island looking out on the Gulf. We felt at once like pirates, lost boys and girls, and ancient cartographers.

We put our tents up by sunset and ate a rough and ready meal. Horn Island is 10 miles long, less than a mile at its widest—white sand, humid and subtropical. Precious little shade. Think Robinson Crusoe’s island, but more barren. It is home to hundreds of forms of life, all of which Walter Anderson depicted: raccoons, frogs, osprey, pelicans, grackles, all manner of flora. The waters teem with mackerel, dolphin, crab, octopus. Horn’s character is defined by these movements above and below ground and the moon and stars arcing across the heavens.

RUSKEY:

Walking across it and especially when you can see both sides of the island like you do on tops of these dunes. Um, feels like riding on top of a seagoing creature that has risen its back momentarily out of the water before diving again. It really doesn't feel like a stationary object with a discrete relationship to the southern edge of the continent of North America. It really feels like it’s something separate and all its own spirit.

RANKIN:

Many of us kept sketchpads at the ready. Blank pages full of possibility, a chance to connect with nature’s mysteries.

ANDERSON:

He wrote in one of his journals. “Art is incredible, not for itself, but in changing the artist’s relation to other things.”

RANKIN:

John Anderson seemed always to have a pearl of wisdom, as if Walter Anderson was chiming in through the ether. In 1965 just months before his death, Walter Anderson remained on Horn island as Hurricane Betsy made landfall. He famously found a high point and lashed himself to a tree, and he felt nature’s power. Late in the week during our stay, weather descended on us as well. Tornadoes reported on land to the North, waterspouts in the Gulf to the South. And Horn Island between.

RANKIN (on Horn):

The weather has turned on us. It’s trying to shrug us off the island like so many gnats.

RANKIN:

Ruskey got caught out on the east end when the storm came. He had what he called an “exhilarating episode,” when the skies suddenly changed and the world closed in.

RUSKEY:

Then the winds calmed, but it was darkening at the same time. Then you feel as this ominous presence all around. Fog started forming on the inside of the island, and it started looking a little bit like an enchanted island in the distance. Everything became compressed and almost suffocating. And then I thought about alligators and started wondering where they were and what they were doing and I turned my head and there was a gator about my same size, plus his tail laying in between me and the open water of the sand.

RANKIN:

The gator, like all of us, was seeking shelter from the storm. Ruskey and the alligator locked eyes.

RUSKEY:

He, uh, or she was looking right at me and perfectly motionless, and I wasn’t sure if he was gonna snap back towards me or not. It’s an inscrutable glazed over eye. It almost looked like the eye of a mariner who’d been too long out at sea, crusted over with whiteness and infinitely deep. So maybe that’s the closest I’ve come to seeing the heart of the island.

RANKIN:

Horn Island drinks of austerity. But the creatures here are not always visible. They retreat during storms and at night their sounds are a reverberant din. Night comes quickly like a curtain dropping. I took a night walk along the beach, headed west. Horn’s north and south beaches are separated by near impenetrable brush, but for a few worn crossings. I left the beach and headed toward the center over the dunes, over hardy grasses and low-lying growth until I came to the edge of a sandy cliff that dropped into darkness. My senses felt outmatched against the self-assured wild. It called back at me with a multitude of voices looked on with a thousand eyes.

ANDERSON:

Right now, the dominant sounds are the sound of ocean. We hear this constant rhythm of waves breaking on the beach but it’s kind of a background noise. And juxtaposed against that background noise is this profound silence.

RANKIN:

John Anderson had asked me about my experience coming to Horn Island by canoe. What difference did I see? What would I take back to the mainland? The vision that remains with me came not through vision at all, but by dark as I walked alone, yet surrounded. This is me on the island talking to myself in the dark.

RANKIN (on Horn):

And I gotta admit I was scared. I kept thinking about walking down to the lagoon, and this recording being what they found and being a meal for the alligators, but that likely wouldn’t have happened. But that fear of uncertainty is again, what the wilderness holds. It seems blank until you look closer and things begin to happen. I hope that’s what I can take back with me. That feeling, the understanding that absence is a thing that commands a very real presence. Absence of time, as we understand it, of technology. And it’s right here, ten miles, or less or more, depending on where you leave from the Mississippi coast.

[Music] “Michael Row Grasshopper Ashore”

LEWIS:

Read Julian Rankin’s essay “Sacred Place” in the Fall 2019 issue of the Oxford American. It’s on newsstands now, or at OxfordAmerican.org.

After the break, we’re joined by Mary Miller, author of the novel Biloxi.

Interview with Mary Miller

MILLER:

I’m Mary Miller and my new book is a novel called Biloxi.

Am I supposed to go into like my whole bio?

LEWIS:

No, no.

Miller:

Okay.

LEWIS:

Can you talk a little bit about settling on, settling into the voice of Louis?

MILLER:

The book first started because I was driving around and I saw a house with a sign that said “free dogs” and there were some balloons tied to the mailbox. I just started thinking how many dogs and, and why and how did somebody accumulate all these dogs, and I sat down to try to write something and Louis just kind of showed up and took over and told the story.

LEWIS:

In a few paragraphs, I think you get the range of Louis as being someone who’s kind of unreliable and unlikable in some ways, but also caring and sympathetic in these interesting ways and that's like all jammed together. Was that something you thought about as you were, building Louis’s character?

MILLER:

I think one of the reasons I’m so interested in just first person is because every, every narrator has a very skewed perception and is living in sort of a world we make for ourselves. You know, all we have is the thoughts that go on in our own heads.

LEWIS:

What about the story or why did the story feel like it was a novel, that it needed that space?

MILLER:

I think you just start writing and you know, I realized I was 25 pages in and really very little had happened. He’d gotten the dog, he’d bathed the dog, they’re sitting around eating deli meat and I’m like, okay, well I can clearly put this away right now or try to see if there’s a larger story here. You know, with a short story you have to just come in really hot and you have to have some trajectory and you have to get places really fast. You can’t take the time to like bathe the dog, let the water in the bathtub fill. You know, you’ve got to just get places so much more quickly. And so I was just enjoying writing it and so I just kept doing it cause I wanted to see, yeah, if there was a story there as well.

LEWIS:

One of the things that struck me about Louis is that he’s someone that could exist in a Rick Barthelme novel.

MILLER:

Yeah.

LEWIS:

So it was cool to see Rick’s back jacket blurb and of course made me think, you know, is there a Rick and Steve Barthelme influence on this novel or just even in your writing in general?

MILLER:

the main reason I went to Southern besides the fact that it was a close, it was close and I was a home body is because I just love Rick’s work. And really just always wanted to study with him. And Steve also is a great writer and was an incredible teacher. They’re both retired now. So I wouldn't be surprised, you know, if there were many things that seemed influenced by it, but at the same time I couldn’t tell you what those were in particular, besides just the general coastal sort of setting that’s mostly kind of falling apart. It’s not, it’s not the yacht club of Gulfport or Biloxi. It’s the seedier side.

One of the pieces of advice that, that Rick gave me that I still think about is, you know, he read one of my stories and he was, he said, this is just like unrelentingly bleak. You know, there’s, there’s no love here, there’s no humor here. There’s no beauty here. So I think I do write in a way that is pretty bleak, but I always remember, yeah, where’s the beauty? Where’s the funny, where’s the weird? Yeah, Nobody wants to read just bleakness.

LEWIS:

So in the book Louis’s go-to text is of course Naked and Afraid?

MILLER:

Yeah.

LEWIS:

Is this something you were a fan of, or did you develop for the character?

MILLER:

No. Um, so gosh, for some reason a few years ago, my dad just became obsessed with Naked and Afraid and he's this 70-something year old man. It just baffled may and I was like, “Mom, what is this about?” And she was like, “it’s his favorite show. He’s seen this episode three times.” He used to just watch Westerns and so it was very jarring to me that he had transferred his love of like Westerns to this reality show where two people who don’t know each other are set off out into this just most terrible of wildernesses, like the most hostile climates for 21 days. And they have to survive together with almost nothing. And usually by the end if they do make it, they’ve lost 30 pounds. They come back sometimes with horrible illnesses. And so I thought a lot about like, why is this his favorite show? And I think it has something to do with just, from the comfort of his comfy chair while he has a vodka and tonic, he can watch these people like fight and struggle just for the basic survival necessities.

LEWIS:

So you said you’re working on another novel…

MILLER:

It is definitely paused. Right now I am just, just working on some short stories and trying to pick up some things that I’d left off, but nothing, nothing longer at this point.

LEWIS:

So why do you think you prefer the short story?

MILLER:

I love the short story and I love that if you fail with a short story, you really haven’t failed at much. You can just have an idea and see where it goes and work on it for a week, two weeks, you just don’t risk much. Whereas, I worked on the novel that I don’t know that I’ll ever go back to for years and, and wrote it and rewrote it and tried different angles and set myself daily word counts that I had to make and it just wasn’t fun and I also knew that really forcing myself to do this thing that wasn’t working very well, I’d put so much time and energy and investment into it. It’s hard to give up at that point. Also with short stories, I think going back and rereading my two collections or just flipping through and picking up a story—often, I wrote them when I lived in certain places and they capture certain like atmospheres that I was living at the time and they’re like little fictionalized time capsules of my life in a way that a novel never would be. And so I find that really interesting. Often when I fictionalize stories so much, you know, it blurs the boundaries of, I can't remember if that was actually what happened or if it was this other thing and that's kind of fun to me too, but really they're all a little like, “ah, yeah, I was in Austin that was 2012 and you know, was going to Barton Springs a lot” and so they bring back just all of these sort of memories.

LEWIS:

Are you able to do both at the same time, work on a novel and take breaks and focus on a story?

MILLER:

I don’t usually, I don’t usually because I, the two novels I’ve published have been really bingy projects. And this is the book that just kind of that “hey, write, write me.” And it wasn’t just a word count. Oh my God, let me finish this word count so I can go watch The Office again or, or go walk the dog or do whatever, go to the beach. Yeah. I just had a lot of fun and I think for most writers, ones that come naturally and feel easy are also easier for the reader, and hopefully more fun to read.

LEWIS:

Thank you, Mary.

MILLER:

Thank you, Sara.

LEWIS:

Mary Miller’s Biloxi is out now. You can read more of her work in the Oxford American, including an essay on the Charlie Mars Band and her short story “Eggs,” which appeared in the 100th issue. Read these stories and others at oxfordamerican.org.

Stay tuned for John Paul White live from the Oxford American stage

John Paul White Interview and Performance

[Guitar tuning]

JOHN PAUL WHITE:

Is that microphone okay where it is?

LEWIS:

Yeah, I wanted to get a little string noise in there. Sounds good.

WHITE:

Well that song particular, you’ll definitely get it.

My name is John Paul White from Florence, Alabama.

LEWIS:

Do you prefer to play first, or do you want to talk and then play?

WHITE:

Let’s talk and then play.

LEWIS:

Okay.

WHITE:

Maybe it’ll inspire me in some way.

LEWIS:

You’ve got a new record out called The Hurting Kind. Going into it, did you set out to do something that was built up with a little bit more of an arrangement or did that just come about in the studio?

WHITE:

Oh, it was, it was definitely on purpose. Um, I’ve made a lot of records that I’m really proud of that are more raw, organic, live or that whatever words you want to use. And I really felt like I was at a place in my life where I wanted to make a record that was a little more adult, for lack of a better term, that’s more sophisticated and arranged and thought about. And, um, I didn’t want it to be, you know, super dense and you know, too much going on, but I wanted everything to be thought about and, and played well and in a specific place for a specific reason. And, uh, and that’s what we did and I’m really proud of it. It was a lot of work. It was a surprising amount of work, but I was, uh, we, we got to where I wanted it to be.

LEWIS:

So, what does that look like from the songwriter’s standpoint? If, you know you’re writing a song that you're then going to build an orchestra around—

WHITE:

Right.

LEWIS:

How does that change your process?

WHITE:

I tried not to let it change it too much. I wanted at the heart of it to still be me and a guitar and the song be the most important part of it. At the end of the day, I wanted to be able to walk in here with somebody like you and, and play that song and the song be just as strong as it is when there’s all the arrangements going on.

LEWIS:

It probably differs from song to song, but does the lyric come first for you or are you writing that to a melody?

WHITE:

More often than not, I sit down with a guitar and I feel something in particular that day just like everybody else does. You’re in a certain mood, you’re in a certain head space. And I try not to force myself to write a title, um, because I may not be, I may not be able to channel it in the way that I would if, if I just follow my heart, I just start playing and something happens and “Oh, that sounds good.” That makes me think of this, and I start scatting words over the top of it and usually a phrase will pop out that, you know, well what does that mean? Why did I even say that? And songs happen that I never would have come up with if I had an idea to start with.

Now, all that being said, I do it the other way around, too. Someone will say something that sticks in my head and sounds like a song and I’ll sit down in front of it. And if the day is right and the time is right, I’ll flex those old muscles I had as a songwriter in Nashville. I used to drive back and forth for about 10 years, writing songs for the, from music row. And so, I flex that muscle of the whole craft of it and being able to, draw the muse whenever I needed to. And I dig doin’ that. But more often than not, the stuff that clicks with me and the stuff that clicks with other people, it just, for some reason it just forms out of a void. And, that’s really more where I think my head lies nowadays.

LEWIS:

Well, I think it’s time to have you play a full song.

WHITE:

I’ll play you the title track to the record. And the reason I’m going to play this one is because this is, this is probably the only song on here that I had the title before I started writing it: The Hurting Kind. I don’t remember how it got into my head, but I knew it was a song and I knew it was probably the title of the record. It just felt right because that’s the kind of music I dearly love. So, this is called “The Hurting Kind.”

[John Paul White sings and plays “The Hurting Kind” on acoustic guitar]

LEWIS:

You mentioned kind of wondering to yourself where something comes from, which is interesting. Listening to your music, particularly the last two, solo records, they feel really personal. Do you feel like the, I, the speaker of your song is you or are you inhabiting a character?

WHITE:

Um, both and, I, choose not to tell people when one is. We may have had a conversation and it just stuck in my head and I can step into that role really easily. I’m a, I am a good, uh, a good listener and I can feel other people’s pain pretty well. And so, when I write a song, sometimes I may think it’s my story and then I realize that didn’t happen to me. You know, nothing like that happened to me and I just totally appropriated it for my own use. And I try to make it vague enough that it’s not so specific to my story that it can be your story and it could be about your job or your significant other or your mom or you know, whatever. If I take certain little elements out of it, it doesn’t paint it into a specific corner. And I just think that’s so much more powerful. If you think it’s your story than if you think it’s mine.

LEWIS:

Yeah. Do you have a, a lyric or a phrase that you’re particularly proud of, that you love?

WHITE:

Hmm. Wow. I don’t really, I do, I do know that every night I feel something every time I sing these songs. And if I don’t, I stop playing them. You know, they don’t end up in the set anymore and I don’t even think about it. They just somehow end up crossed off and they don’t make it onto records unless I feel that thing. So there’s not a specific, um, one, I guess.

LEWIS:

Do you have those lyrical or melodic touchstones from other artists that, that somehow just get the juices flowing, get the work going for you?

WHITE:

Yeah. Um, a lot of that old Countrypolitan stuff. A lot of the Harlan Howard stuff, a lot of Kris Kristofferson, Townes van Zandt, and you know, Elliott Smith is a constant. It doesn’t really matter what mood I’m in, I can play that stuff and it just stir things up and I want to create.

LEWIS:

This morning I was making a list of all the things I heard. There’s everything from the Mavericks to Elliott Smith to even the Bee Gees on some of those.

WHITE:

Yeah, well they, especially some of the harmony stuff that I do. I, I pull from all those things and I can thank, you know, Dylan LeBlanc for that. Uh, the Bee Gees a harmony thing. Cause sometimes when he would sing on records we were producing or on his own record or he would do things that sounded very much of that era and which would frighten me. As a singer, I would always try to soften everything and make it sound where you don’t pay that much attention to it. It’s like Emmylou doing a harmony. Emmylou is doing a lead, she might be singing harmony, but she’s up there with you singing. And so those things always frightened me until, you know, working with Dylan and other people like that where, uh, I’m not as afraid of doing that Bee Gee thing, whereas right there in your face and then we can soften it after the fact if we need to. But um, yeah, I’m, I’m pulling from all of those folks.

LEWIS:

It's so interesting to hear you say that about harmony because every record of yours feels like harmony is so important to the vocals.

WHITE:

That’s true.

LEWIS:

and whether that’s two part. And I was kind of curious if you are conjuring up those harmonies as you’re writing and, and even when you’re in the studio, how you approach that because they are, from Leeann Womack to Secret Sisters, your own voice—tons of two-part harmony.

WHITE:

Um, I don’t know why that happens. It’s always happened, uh, as a, as a kid when I first started singing and listening to the radio and actually more when I got a car and I was driving around listening to records, it never was interesting to me to just sing along with the lead and sing the same notes that they were. They’re doing a fine job of that. I don’t need to do that. So I just remember driving around, I sang harmony. I sang a second part to everything. And if it was, you know, if it was a Bee Gee’s record, I was trying to find a low part that they weren’t singing because what’s the fun in just regurgitating what somebody else is doing? The other thing is I’m really used to playing just me and a guitar. And it’s also not interesting for me to sing the same notes that my guitar is playing. So more often than not I’m already singing a harmony to what my guitar is playing. When you play alone, that seems so much more interesting. There’s so much more going on than if I just sing a stock melody over stock chords. I change the chords underneath my melody to make it more interesting. Even though if you took the guitar away, the vocal melody I’m singing may not be that interesting and vice versa. But you put the two together and I'm actually harmonizing with my guitar more often than not.

LEWIS:

John Paul White. Thanks so much for being here.

WHITE:

My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

[John Paul White and his band perform “The Good Old Days” live from the Oxford American Stage]

LEWIS:

This episode was produced by me, Julian Rankin, and Hannah Saulters, with Eliza Borné and Ryan Harris. Our production assistant is Monique LaBorde. Post-production and score by Spacebomb. This episode is supported by UAMS, Andy and Somers Collins, the R&B Feder Foundation, and Fayetteville Roots Festival. Thanks to Mary Miller and John Paul White.

WHITE:

Can I get an amen? I don’t know why I just did that. Something, something felt right. We hadn't been in the South for awhile, so it was good to be back around people that sound like we do. Alright. Amen.