On March 31st I drove to Savannah to take part in the 3rd Annual Flannery O’Connor Homemade Parade and Block Party. Flannery O’Connor is a beloved 20th century author known for her absurdist plot twists, wacky characters, and pithy comments on Southern manners and morals. I’d been anticipating this event for months, and it did not disappoint.
Partygoers of all ages strolled around live oaks and azaleas in the square across from the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home. There was homegrown art, chicken bingo (because as a child, the author walked a pet chicken around the block on a leash), and bluegrass music.
For the parade, young and old wore period clothing or festive paper hats.
Some of us enacted fictional characters’ moments of reckoning. Where else would someone greet a man carrying a wooden leg with the words “Good Country People,” or a woman carrying a bull’s head with the salutation “Greenleaf”?
But to many of the participants, who have read Flannery O’Connor’s stories, these exchanges made perfect sense.
So, too, did my hat-headed stick puppets with the sign “[Why, you’re] one of my babies!” Skip to the moment at the end of the story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” where the grandmother experiences a moment of grace before being blown away by the bad guy and you’ll have the inspiration for my costume. The only surprise to one parade goer was that I had knit all the hats.
There were two gorillas (each representing a character in the novel Wise Blood) and so I posed for photos with both, thereby getting multiple spots in the online news (though sadly no name recognition).
The whole thing was tremendous fun for young and old, as I’m sure the babies would agreed. (Mine would; they don’t get out much.)