Janisse Ray Quotes and Pizza in Baxley

“The landscape of my childhood was of fierce occupation by trees.”

 “Our town (Baxley) isn’t aesthetically pleasing by any stretch of the eye, but it isn’t artless. Our dreamers, paupers, alcoholics, millionaires, idiot savants, infirm, and a goodly share of geniuses save us from artlessness. Ours is folk art.”

On the way back from the Okefenokee Swamp, we took 15 through Baxley, to see the town where Janisse Ray found much of her inspiration. In her books, she describes a childhood among longleaf pine flatwoods, and junkyard adventures. She’s an incredible author, as well as a spirited environmental activist. Here’s her description of spring in south Georgia:

 “…azaleas loud with fuschia, pink, magenta, and flame; water oaks with their pools of viridescent shade; sweetshrub, coral honeysuckle, and dooryard quince wildly extravagant in their blooms; a patch of lavender phlox. White azaleas. Wild cherries and sassafras bloom, one wide open, one timid. Only the pecan trees wait.”

We pulled into Baxley around 6:00, just as Orion put on his belt.  We stopped at a tiny pizza place called Jim’s Pizza that sits right on South Main Street. The young waitress said with a twang, “That’s a first,” as I ordered a cheeseless pie with black olives, jalapenos, green peppers and onions.  A large, moustached man covered in camouflage from head to toe made three trips to the buffet, while dodging a pair of brothers running back and forth searching for the illusive largest onion slice ever seen. Dinner was the extent of our visit to Ray’s hometown, but I’ll return another day.  The above quotes are from her book, Wild Card Quilt.