I often get asked why I chose Jesup, Georgia, as Alissia’s hometown. To me, there was no other choice. She needed to have knowledge of living off the land. I didn’t want that to be a foreign concept for her, and Jesup is the one place I know she would learn how to hunt, fish, frog gig, and beach seine. How do I know this? Because that’s where I learned how to do all those things.
Unlike Alissia, I was not raised in Jesup, nor did my father teach me those things, except fishing. I have family there and have visited the town my entire life. Having moved around for the majority of my life, I have lived in many places, yet Southeast Georgia holds the most outdoor culture.
From pulling potatoes out of the ground to pulling nets from the ocean, you can do it all near the Georgia coast. The land is full of wildlife. I have memories of raking for crawfish to use for catching catfish in the deep, black-water ditches. Not only were those ditches filled with fish, but moccasins and gators were abundant also. (And those blasted yellow flies!)
Alissia’s memories of beach seining on Jekyll Island were my memories, as were the alligators and frog gigging. Since I threw her into a reality filled with nature, I wanted her to have a past filled with that lifestyle. She couldn’t be squeamish. She needed to come from Jesup. I guess the words to Hank William Junior’s old song comes to mind when I think of Jesup. “A country ‘girl’ can survive.”
This post will surprise most of the people who know me now, living outside of Atlanta. I don’t fish or hunt anymore, but the memories are there. I still have my hunting guns locked away. Who knows? I may use them again one day.
If you’ve never been to Southeast Georgia, I suggest you visit Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, and Savannah at least once in your life. There’s plenty of fresh seafood and lots to do and see while there. The locals are friendly, and you’ll love their accents. Who knows? You may not want to leave.
As a reminder, I will be in Jesup this Saturday at the library from 12:00 – 2:00 for a book signing. I will also be in Ludowici on Monday at Coastal Manor from 2:00 – 4:00. Hope to see some of you there 🙂