Two short stories penned by Cameron University’s Dr. Hardy Jones, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages, have been included in “Southern Gothic: New Tales of the South,” an anthology of short stories, poems and original art. The book is published by New Lit Salon Press and is now available as an e-book from all major retailers.
Jones’ contributions are “A New Bike for Little Mike” and “Visitin’ Cormierville.” Both deal with Cajun characters in the throes of physical, emotional, and spiritual crises.
“A New Bike For Little Mike” centers on a recently divorced Cajun couple who married in high school after an unexpected pregnancy Since the divorce, the son lives with the father, but when the father damages his hand at the sawmill and can’t work, the father and son must live with his mother. The ex-wife buys their son a bike before leaving to be inducted into the Navy, but the father refuses to allow her to see their son, and the father tells the boy that he bought the new bike.
“I wrote ‘A New Bike for Little Mike’ to explore a dysfunctional family in which the parents go against traditional gender stereotypes,” Jones explains. “The mother Linda does not ask for custody of Little Mike, and post-divorce, Linda is the one leaving, making her appear selfish, while she does not want to spend her life confined in an unhappy marriage and small town.”
“Visitin’ Cormierville” concerns a Cajun mother and son who are visiting the mother’s parents. The son is an adolescent who does not feel accepted by his grandparents because he lives in another state and rarely sees his grandparents. Before they leave, the grandmother wants a kiss from her grandson, but he asks her if she knows his name. When the grandmother cannot recall his name, the boy refuses to kiss his grandmother. The backdrop to the visit is that the boy’s father wants him and the mother to convert to the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
“The story was originally a chapter from a novel,” Jones says. “It depicts another dysfunctional family and incorporates religion, for as Flannery O'Connor said, the South is ‘Christ-haunted.’ The narrator’s mother, Raynell, acquiesces to her husband's demand that they join the Church of Latter-Day Saints. When Raynell tells her family this, it brings to light her siblings’ hatred and jealousy of her for marrying an outsider and moving away from the family's lands.”
October 24, 2013