Thursday, July 9, 2009


Down in the marsh grass in southeast Gloucester is the land of Guinea. It's hard to explain Guinea. It's just different. Many of the men who live down there still make a living plying the waters of Chesapeake Bay for blue crab, oysters and fish. It's a hard life and it takes a stubborn, hardworking man to make a go of it.

Legend goes that following the surrender of the British under Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781, deserters from the vanquished foreign foe took up residence in the Guinea marshes. Today the Guineamen, who may or may not be descended from Revolutionary War losers, speak a distinct form of Southern English that must be experienced to appreciated. It usually involves the word, "Bubba." If I'm hearing it, my typical response is, "Um, could you say that again?"

I was down in Guinea today working on a story for the Daily Press and snapped a bunch of photos. You'll see a typical Guinea house (notice it's raised up; after Hurricane Isabel roared through in 2003, many of the houses got a lift to avoid getting flooded during the next go round), typical Guinea water views, a typical dead Guinea fish in a typical Guinea skiff and another view of a typical Guinea house hidden behind typical Guinea overgrown marsh grass with typical leaves that cut you like they were a saw, as a typical Guineawoman told me.
Guinea is a great, fascinating place peopled by fascinating people. I'm of a mind to spend more time down there. If I spend more time down there visiting with the locals and catching up on my Bubba-speak, maybe I'll even be able to hold a conversation with a real-life Guineaman.

1 comment:

  1. I feel truly honored to have heard a real love Guinea conversation not five feet from me. Amazingly, the first words I understood were, "my bicep muscle on my arm". Question: What do you call a pig (bacon, ham, etc.) owned by a Guineaman?