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Garden & Gun

Garden & Gun June/July 2021

Celebrating the best of Southern culture, music, food, style, travel, art, literature, and the sporting life. Plus, lots of good dogs.

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United States
The Allee Group LLC
6 Issues

in this issue

7 min
mind trip

When the pandemic pointed out that my flagship restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, in small-town Kinston, North Carolina, was only viable if people traveled, I imagined a life running a feed and seed store focusing on houseplants instead. When a member of my biological family exposed my work family to COVID-19 days before Christmas, I conjured all my favorite memories of Christmases past and projected them right there onto the present. And when the walls of our collective confinement nagged like a mosquito at my ear, I walked the well-worn mental path to my perfect day at the beach. Daydreaming has long been my particular brand of coping and hoping. So in the long, low moments of the pandemic, when I just knew I’d never really travel again; when I…

8 min
instrument of funk

Jon Batiste’s professors at the Juilliard School in New York were so disturbed by it that they called in a psychotherapist. One of his hometown mentors, the jazz icon Wynton Marsalis, was likewise appalled. “Get that thing off the stage,” he’d gripe. Even workaday subway riders, herding past Batiste’s underground performances, might’ve thought something was off-kilter, unusual, all that incredible virtuosity funneled into…what’s that thing even called, anyway? “Melody horn, melodion, harmonichord, mouth piano…” Batiste is inventorying the names for the peculiar instrument in his hands, the source of all that former tension but also, more important, almost lifelong delight. “If you look online,” he says, “there’s even more.” Indeed there are: pianica, melodihorn, triola, hooter, piano horn, and the rather sultry-sounding orgamonica. But most players, Batiste included, call it a…

7 min
memory highway

IF THE PRIESTS WERE CORRECT FOR ONCE AND I WERE TO ever go blind, if my world went to shadow and black and I couldn’t see a solitary thing, I submit for your consideration that I could still drive from Yazoo City to Greenwood, Mississippi. I know this journey cold. Surely you’ve got a road like that. A drive you can make without thinking, each turn and straight carefully wrapped and stored in the closets of your memory. I’ve ridden this road hundreds of times. The first was when I was just weeks old. The last time was a week ago. The first left took me down a wooded hill away from my uncle Will’s house, where he lay in a bed dying. His room overlooked those same woods. I’d come…

15 min
the southern agenda

SPORTING The Great Southern Trout Bout NORFORK, ARKANSAS The North Fork River and its better-known sister stream of the Ozarks, the White River, are famous for some of the fastest trout action in the South, especially in the summer, when the tailwaters below dams keep the water cool. It’s not uncommon to land fifty fish a day—or as many as one hundred—from the rivers’ heavily stocked waters near the town of Norfork. But these streams also hold a solid promise of landing a rare four-species Grand Slam of trout—a brown, brook, rainbow, and cutthroat trout in a single day. “A lot of people come to these rivers for boatloads of rainbows and the biggest brown trout in the world,” says Brian Wise, an Ozarks guide with a massive cult following. “But the Grand…

6 min
silver summers

I grew up on mullet and grits for breakfast. What some people call Biloxi Bacon. I’m referring of course to the fish, specifically the striped mullet, which has a rich, nutty taste due to its high oil content, and contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids. When churches and other organizations on the Gulf Coast host fish fries to raise funds for a local cause, or a politician throws a constituent rally, you can bet they will be serving fried mullet with hush puppies and coleslaw. In the summers, my family decamped from the outskirts of Mobile to the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. There, I was fortunate to have as a mentor an old local named Duke Cox. Duke was a man of many talents and deep thoughts, one of them the…

5 min
dual roles

You most likely recognize Will Patton’s face—you may have seen the prolific actor with Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck saving Earth by drilling a nuclear weapon into an asteroid in Armageddon. Or coaching with Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans. The South Carolina native is arguably the only good thing about the Kevin Costner film The Postman. And lately, he’s starred as Garrett Randall in the hit TV series Yellowstone, and in the Oscar darling Minari. But you may also have heard Patton without realizing it: The quiet, knowing grit of his singular voice has come to define the audiobook genre. He reads in a charismatic whisper, the actor of choice to take on the words of William Faulkner, James Dickey, Denis Johnson, Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Charles Bukowski, Don…