Friday, October 24, 2008

The Teoc McCains

The latest attempt by the Establishment Media, or Socialist as I like to call them, to hurt John McCain is the non story of black McCains who are in ‘theory’ descendants of John’s Teoc McCain ancestors. This is a theory which the socialist Left reports thinking that there will be some sort of hue and cry surrounding this 143 year old ‘news.’ I will tell them as they likely don’t know, but people do not care about this story, unless you happen to be a McCain. If you are not a McCain it bores people and shows how small minded and bigoted the Socialist media are. Now, I am a McCain and I am interested in the story, but as an aspect of our McCain history.

Now, I actually know something about McCain kin and relations as I am the administrator of the McCain family DNA project. Yes, that’s right. My project has done Y Chromosome DNA test on many McCains from Carroll County, and the surround counties of Montgomery, Choctaw, Grenada, etc. To date every McCain from this area is a DNA match to each other. Not only that, I located the McCains in Ireland, and we are all a DNA match to them as well. I am working on a book, a memoir right now, which tells of my ‘Finding the McCains.’

There are some facts here the Socialist media do not like to talk about. First the Teoc and Carroll County McCains have always had an excellent relationship with the black community there, yes, even back when there were episodes of racial strife. Why? Because the McCains were active in promoting law and order, there were occasions they put themselves at risk to protect black members of the community, etc., even to the point of backing down mops intent on violence. Not only that the McCains were and are civil. I did not think on it much as a child, but later it struck me, in a McCain home you never heard negative racial comments, slang ethnic words, etc. I have never heard my father say any thing remotely in this line.

Now the old story about slaves, and by the way, my poor McCains lived east of Teoc, we were in the bona fide Mississippi Hill County, and we did not have a single slave and were very small holding farmers, but anyroad, that’s a lame attack on the Teoc McCains. If you think on it, slavery still exists in Africa, in fact our own USA slavery would not have flourished without black slave owners and traffickers in Africa facilitating the practice. Also I do not believe in the Socialist religion of White Guilt. Yep, sorry, I am not guilty, nor are my brothers. In fact I believe the reverse; I think European Americans, especially us Gaelic types, have been pretty damn generous. At the same time I consider slavery beyond barbaric, that it is gone here is a blessing to us all, that's obvious isn’t it? Not to the Socialist Left however as they use it to practice class warfare.

To paint the Teoc McCains with the slavery guilt brush is comical. Look at John McCain today, look at the McCains today. This is another non issue and non story whipped up by the Establishment Media which needs to desperately recruit new writers outside the clique of bombastic left wingers they use now.

Now as a McCain I do have an interest in the black McCains of Teoc. I’d like them to participate in the McCain family DNA Project. I think it would be great if they did, and if they are a match, then I could give them their paternal history back to Medieval times, which I think would make excellent chat around the supper table. That's not a little thing to give a family. They might like to know of the days when the McCains rode in galleys on the Irish Sea, to see the McCain homes in Ireland, and to smell a turf fire on the hearth. The McCains have good traditions.

Barry R McCain © 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Fall of 1980, Terry, Mississippi

Fall of 1980

The dying shadow of an ancient oak
Is filled with the night’s cold,
White crystal lace,
Dawn lingers,
Escaping for a moment,
Brazen face
And his warm breath and warm smile…

Barry R McCain © 1980

Collards and Turnips

The recent hurricanes that have plagued the South do have some benefit here in north Mississippi. My fall crop of turnips and collards are thriving on the grey wet days produced by the storms.

The eating of greens is I think is one of the standards of measure of a Southerner. If you are not only from the South, but of the South as well, you eat them. Who among us has not had a nice bowl of greens, sprinkled with a little pepper sauce, a buttered wedge of cornbread cooked in a cast iron skillet on the side?

I am happy to report even my children, all thee of them enjoy their greens. Like some bizarre cult from Vulcan we surely must appear to outsiders. Mustards, collards, and turnip greens, we love them all. They are easy to grow, insanely good for you, soothing, good basic Southern fare.

We prepare them very simply, cooked in salted water to which a little oil is added. We don't add ham hocks or any meat to ours. Ours have a very clean taste. You serve them with what we call some pot liquor, which is the liquid they are cooked in. Some folk like to sprinkle a few cut red oinions on top.

Children, eat your greens...

Barry R McCain

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mississippi Wabi Sabi

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept and term; it is, as this Mississippian sees it, the Japanese art of realising beauty in imperfection and profundity in Nature, in her cycles of birth, growth, decay and death.

photo, Debi McCain

Wabi-sabi is found in celebrating and enjoying authenticity above the mass manufactured, in looking to the Craftsman’s work with its uniqueness and slight imperfections rather than that of the stamped out mass marketed; wabi-sabi is to celebrate the cracks and scratches and marks of time passing and our memories. It is warmth and life in a mysterious world that can be cruel.

A way of looking at the world that acknowledges we are visitors here children. Embrace wabi-sabi… the grey hairs, the wrinkles, the weathering and frayed edges of life and things. See the beauty in your life, yes even the dent your son put in the back door moulding. It is the subtle waiting to be noticed, beauty waiting to be discovered in your everyday life and things.

When you reach your middle age you will be very happy or not, you will have realised the concept of Wabi-sabi or not. Wabi-sabi is life on this earth. It is going to the Farmer’s Market instead of Wal-Mart… do you see?

Barry R McCain © 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Pint of Guinness

Well, here I am back in the wooded hills of north Mississippi after two weeks in Ireland, one of which spent in the Ballybofey/Stranorlar area. My host was local historian, poet, and writer, Ivan Knox and his lovely wife Letitia. We were up and down the Finn Valley, to Drumboe, on to Whitehall, down to Castlefin, out to Port Hall and StJohnstown, and then over to Donegal Town, etc. all several times over. Our mission was to visit many of the McCains and their kin throughout the district, which we succeeded in doing. A large Howdy to Jonathon McKane and Mrs James McKane in Drumbo, to James and Irene McKane at Whitehall, to Iain and Joyce McKane at Port Hall, and to the many other McCain relations I visited. It was great also to visit McKane’s Corner and see the lads that still come there for the craic.

I was up in Letterkenny briefly to do be interviewed by Shaun Doherty. The highpoint of that visit was getting to meet Fr Shane Gallagher, who was in the Highland Radio studio being interviewed himself. He’s an impressive young priest and the sort of fellow that makes you have hope for our future. In these days of rapid secularisation of society, it takes courage and grit to walk the path less travelled, to stand for something good, yet Fr Shaun has done just that; our prayers and best wishes to him and his family.

Ivan Knox did inspire me. His knowledge and love for Finn Valley people and their traditions impressed me. One focus of his energy has been the bringing back of the Mummer traditions. This I found fascinating, because in my part of the Diaspora we used to also have Mummers. It has fallen off nowadays, the enormous weight of modernity often pushes aside these wonderful folk customs that mean so much when you stop and think on it and also add to our quality of life. I am going to take a page out of Ivan’s book and see if I can awaken a Mummer tradition here in north Mississippi.

Lastly, I’ll leave y’all with a puzzle. The prize of a pint of Guinness here in Mississippi runs around 2.25 Euros. In Donegal it runs around 4.20 Euros. Figure that one out for me please.

Barry R McCain © 2008
Oxford Mississippi

Barry R McCain can contacted at;

Friday, July 25, 2008

Good Beer from Mississippi

Good beer is serious business. God himself wants Man to have good beer. Now Mississippi is not a place one associates with beer brewing, but I am here to tell you all that it is now. There is now Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Kiln, Mississippi. They make a full range of ales; some that I've had are Indian Summer ale, Southern Pecan ale, Jefferson Stout, Southern Gold ale, and the one that I'll stand up against any ale in the world is Lighthouse Pale Ale.

I had my first Lighthouse Pale Ale at Proud Larry's, just off the Square here in Oxford. What a lovely beer...

Barry R McCain

The Tax Poem

The Tax poem and comment sent to me by a Canadian friend of mine. The poem and comment applicable to the United State and indeed all Western countries. American readers just substitute the word State where there is Provincial. When I am around real people, you know the ones that do the work and keep nations going, the subject of high taxes is constant. The only people who don't complain are those living off the work of others and academics. The Nanny state mentality has taken root throughout the West. It is just socialism, nothing more. It is dressed up now and is called by different names, but it is just the same dysfunctional system that has brought so much mediocrity and worse to the world.

The Tax Poem

At first I thought this was funny...then I realized the awful truth of it. Be sure to read all the way to the end!

Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table At which he's fed.
Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule.
Tax his work, Tax his pay, He works for peanuts Anyway!
Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat.
Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he Tries to think.
Tax his cigars, Tax his beers, If he cries Tax his tears.
Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways To tax his ass.
Tax all he has Then let him know That you won't be done Till he has no dough. When he screams and hollers; Then tax him some more, Tax him till He's good and sore.
Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in Which he's laid. Put these words Upon his tomb, 'Taxes drove me to my doom...'

When he's gone, Do not relax, Its time to apply The inheritance tax.
Accounts Receivable Tax Airline surcharge tax Airline Fuel Tax Airport Maintenance Tax, Building Permit Tax, Cigarette Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Death Tax,
Dog License Tax, Driving Permit Tax, Excise Taxes, Federal Income Tax, Federal Unemployment, Fishing License Tax, Food License Tax, Gasoline Tax ( too much per liter), Gross Receipts Tax, Health Tax, Hunting License Tax, Hydro Tax, Inheritance Tax, Interest Tax Liquor Tax, Luxury Taxes, Marriage License Tax, Medicare Tax, Mortgage Tax, Personal Income Tax, Property Poverty Tax, Prescription Drug Tax, Property Tax, Provincial Income Tax, Real Estate Tax, Recreational Vehicle Tax, Retail Sales Tax, Service Charge Tax, School Tax, Telephone Federal Tax, Telephone Federal, Provincial and Local Surcharge Taxes, Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax, Vehicle License Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax, Water Tax, Watercraft Registration Tax, Well Permit Tax, Workers Compensation Tax...

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was one of the most prosperous in the world.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mississippians speaking Gaelic...

… when pigs fly, you say. You don’t normally associate Mississippi with the Irish speaking world. I mean the words Mississippi and Gaeilge do not often appear in the same sentence. But history is full of odd misconceptions, like horns and wings on Viking helmets (they had none). Early Mississippi was settled by an assortment of mixed Celts, Irish, Hebrideans, west Highlanders, Scots-Irish, etc., and Gaelic was a language heard often in Mississippi in antebellum days.

In the mid 1840s John Claiborne, a prominent Mississippi attorney and member of the US Congress, wrote in his journal, ‘there is yet living in Greene (County) some of the original immigrants who speak nothing but the Gallic.’ By this he meant the Gaelic language. There was even a need for Gaelic speaking post masters in Mississippi in those days. The Greene County comment was of great interest to me personally, as the first McCains to enter Mississippi were in this community described by John Claiborne.

It is interesting to see Gaelic in use in Mississippi into the 1840s and 1850s. My own grandfather, who was born in 1890, used certain Gaelic works in his speech: brogan
(bróga) for shoe, or slew (slua) to mean a lot of something. I found a humorous comment about language made by an English Crown official that visited the Marsh Creek Settlement in the Pennsylvania Colony, where the McCains were living in the 1740s. The Crown official complained that these settlers spoke ‘bad English and bad Irish.’ That was my immigrant, Hugh McKean, he was speaking about and it was his son, Hance Hamilton McCain, who brought my
wing on the family into Mississippi.

Now you would think that by the 21st Century we Mississippi McCains would have lost our Gaelic, wouldn’t you? Not so. Last fall you would have heard a curious conversation in Oxford, Mississippi, from two men heading into the Ajax Pub. My cousin, Rankin Sherling, a native Greenwood, his mother a McCain, and I met at the Pub to have a visit. Rankin is working on his Phd in Irish history at Queens University, Ontario, Canada and was just back from Donegal, where he had been studying Ulster Irish. My Irish is fair to middlin’ these days, and despite my caigheán oifigiúil and his bona fide Ulster dialect, we managed to greet and speak in Irish to each other there in the middle of Oxford, Mississippi. So pigs do fly.

© McCain 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Musically Speaking...

I have worked as a musician on and off in my life. My first gig was way back in 1967, as a drummer in several rock bands, that was in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana.
above photo, Live on the air in Dublin, Ireland, playing the Sin É radio show circa Oct 2004
below Mid 70s Folk Troubadour

On stage in, I think it was Aberdeen, Mississippi, playing a Bluegrass Festival, with my son Donovan. He is a shockingly good musician, several light years ahead of me. I am playing rhythm guitar for him here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Little Grey Lizard

little grey lizard
you were absent from my garden yesterday
I am glad you have escaped your enemies for another day

Barry R McCain
19 November 1986

Barry R McCain, in the 50s

Barry R McCain with his father, Leslie Gordon McCain circa 1959. My dad has the 'McCain' look to the hilt.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

From My Desk...

Here I am seated at my desk in my home located in the wooded hills of north Mississippi, just about a mile east of Oxford. Oxford is a small university town, home to the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, as it is usually called and also home to William Faulkner, the Noble Prize winning author. You don’t often think of the Deep South in terms of Irish ancestry and things related to Ulster, but one easily could as the connections are very real, Faulkner himself as you likely could guess by his surname, of Ulster ancestry.

McCain’s Corner will be a short column that will give life to the connections between the Province of Ulster and her many sons and daughters out here in the Diaspora. I am one of the McCains, a family well known in the Finn Valley, and in times past we were also found in north Antrim, up around Dunluce way. I belong to a branch of them that came into Mississippi early and established themselves; Senator John McCain and writer Elizabeth Spencer (her mother a McCain), are both from the Mississippi McCain branch of our family.

I was around age 11 or so, a young tow head, when it dawned on me, say I’ve got this Mac on my name. This led to questions to my grandfather about where we were from and literally set me on a path that brought me to a cool wet day in October of 2004 when my car pulled up and parked beside St John’s Church in Ballyrashane, in County Antrim. I was there to see the graves of several McCains in the very old cemetery of that lovely and rural Irish church.

We caught immigration fever early and the first McCains left for the Colonies in 1718 and every generation or so sent another few families to the USA or Canada normally, but also some to Scotland to work in the coalfields there. This column will follow the various branches of our family in Canada, Donegal, Mississippi, Arizona, etc., and offer commentary on the world at large from my peculiar perspective. The McCains have remained connected to Ireland. I am not sure why even myself, just seems very natural for us.

McCain’s Corner will have a catch however, for it is rare that a son of the Southland steps up to do a task such as this, so words such as grits and gumbo are likely to pop up and you might read views that rarely make it to the establishment media. Hopefully this will be a good thing.

Barry R McCain © 2008