Delta Strutters

Col Reb in the Grove at Ole Miss Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Col Reb in the Grove at Ole Miss Photo by The Delta Bohemian

By Dingus Batticus
(Clarksdale, Mississippi) 

Those of y’all who know about the Mississippi Delta probably know that the place is famous for blues music. That’s black folks’ music. You also probably know something about the plantation culture that the blues came from. Them is white folks’ plantations. As for me and my folks, we ain’t got much for either one of them.

Us working folks in the Delta know a turkey or a squirrel when we see one, and nowhere else in the country will you find more of such critters than you will here in the Mississippi Delta. There is a class of folks around here my Pappy used to call “Delta Strutters.” A Delta Strutter is a human peacock, hatched and raised in the Mississippi Delta, a flashy aristocrat more concerned about a lifelong tail-feather contest with other Delta Strutters than any of us poor rednecks or negroes down here in the trailer park.

The Delta has been growing strutters ever since they stole the land from the Indians in 1832; the dirt in most places around here is as strong as three feet up a bull’s ass. Those future strutters that happened to be lucky enough to land on monkey dirt (dirt so easy to farm a monkey could farm it) got rich quick with the help of banker friends and underpaid black folks. With the big money came the big houses, the East Coast educations, the vacation homes on the Redneck Riviera, the Grove tents at Ole Miss (Strutter Mecca, even for them strutters that graduated from the Ivy League) and the yes-maaming and new cars for their sniveling, strutter children.

After so many of the landed gentry got theirs, then came the lawyers and merchants and insurance people. They couldn’t stand not being on the gravy train of no-work, all-play, and mostly shining their asses to impress all of strutterdom. My Pappy always told me that if a man can work with his hands, he can work anywhere. These folks saw the easy way out of doing any real work and wasted four years in college trying to learn something out of a book. There’s not a damn thing worth learning out of a book. You ever see the look on a strutter’s face when his car breaks down? He don’t know whether to shit or go blind. Go read your book, strutter, and then fix it yourself. Naw, they usually just call me.

Just because a man is a strutter don’t mean he got any money. He might own himself a country club, two BMW’s, a lake house, and an airplane, but it’s all paper money. Half of the strutters can’t pay their light bill because they’re too broke making payments on all their flashy toys. Dave Ramsey, the money man,  lost all his hair because of one single trip he made to the Mississippi Delta.

The reason the Delta is losing population is that every time a strutter goes broke he has to leave town. Like I heard an old black lady say about one broke strutter, “I don’t know what Mr. Jones goan do now, he don’t know HOW to be po’”. I reckon he’s got to go somewhere else and learn how to do some real work.

Years back, Pappy and some of his folks tried to get the Klan going around here, but them strutters kept the Klan out. They didn’t give a damn about them black folks any more than Pappy did. They didn’t want no black folks stirred up and not going to work; that’s what it was. If it wasn’t for some smart-mouthed strutter, Pappy would be here today, but old man Jenkins just had to up and fire Pappy and give the job to some dumb black feller.

Pappy just pulled out his .38 revolver and told Mr. Jenkins what he thought about the situation. Pappy ended up getting the needle at Parchman; and old man Jenkins, he got what was coming to him.

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  1. This is classic. Pure, unadulterated, non-filtered, 100 proof truth. Keep up the good work.


  2. Must say I’ve known a “Strutter” or two!

  3. Alex Lundy says:

    This is fertile and promising soil for “Dingus Batticus” to expand upon. Write to your roots my boy and pull no punches! I see a literary essay in the works.

  4. Bill Manning says:

    As I think back, wasn’t Lee Academy sort of a young Strutter factory? Kinda like a pre-sorority/fraternity o somethin? Some of dem ain’t lookin two good at da reunion. I wasn’t a strutter. I asked some female Strutters out on dates back then but they don turned me down. My Daddy and Momma had to work like normal folks. 🙂

    • No doubt a Strutter factory! McKee and I laugh or cry often about the number of cool hot chicks who turned us down en masse! Maybe they had more sense than I gave them credit for in my case! Ha!

  5. Rich Aust says:

    ditto to Bill Manning’s comments.

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