People in England say that Americans are uncultured.

If you ask the people in New England, they will harumph and say that it's those southerners who are the problem. Bunch of loud slobs all of them.

If you ask folks in the south, they'll say that it's not their problem, it's the poor folk who are the loud slobs. The poor folk will tell you that they keep a clean house, thank you very much, and if you want to know who's the real problem, it's Jethro the Swamp Swindler. Jethro has 14 pickup trucks on blocks on his lawn, a constantly shifting number of dogs, a pyramid of empty beer cans, a spitoon, and either 12 or 13 children what you can't count because they never sit still, oil-paper windows and who knows where that smell is coming from. "You're a bunch of slobs", says the neighbor. "Darn Right and proud of it" says the Missus, "better than being a stuck-up snob like those folks in Nawlins."

Nobody knows whether the Swamp Swindler family is called such because they live on the edge of the swamp and swindle people, or wether they live on the edge of the people and swindle swamps. Nobody ever remembers being swindled by them, but they do say that after Jethro brags about a big windfall, something about the swamp seems angry over the next few days. The hogs holler, the snakes hiss, the gators go after boats. The cypress drops Spanish Moss on your head. Something bubbles and grumbles in the water ahead.

And that gets the people mad, and they say, Sherrif, you've got to DO something about this Swamp Swindler family. But the Sherrif isn't sure what he can do besides fining them for health code violations. Is a swamp a citizen? Did anybody ever get arrested for pulling a swindle? Seems like it's the swindlee's fault as much as the swindler's, isn't that right?

And it's not like the Sherrif can be sure the Swamp Swindlers will even be there when he comes to call. Sometimes he can find their place, sometimes he just can't. Which Sherrif? A ton of sherrifs. Everyone from here to Calhoun County says the Swamp Swindlers live outside of their town. Maybe they are all correct. Maybe the Swamp Swindlers live outside everyone's town, as long as there's a swamp nearby.

They're all connected, the swamps, if you know how to step through them. As far as I've heard. There was a hundred-foot gator down here in Coahoma County what somebody shot at with a bow and the arrow stuck, and a week later they found a hundred-foot gator in the Great Dismal Swamp with an arrow sticking out of it. Make of that what you will, as if you could make anything other than the obvious.

Lot of the slaves what escaped north knew how to step through the swamps. Some folks what want to remember those times tell me that the Swamp Swindler family learned how to step through the swamps to catch any slaves they could, and sell them back. Ah, but you can't expect Jethro to tell you about that. Seems like everyone down here wants to forget that whole business ever existed.

The swamp remembers everything. Tell it your troubles if you wish.

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