Story Title: Why I live at the PO – Eudora Welty
Originally published: 1941
Collected In: A Curtain of Green and Other Stories
Brief Story Description: A young southern woman comes into conflict with her pernicious sister when the girl comes home after the collapse of her marriage. Deciding that she can’t stand being at home any longer, the young woman gathers all her things (even digging up some plants she’d planted in the garden) and moves into the small local post office where she is post mistress.
Why it works humour wise: This is a good story, as well as a funny story. The characters of the family seem to be real hicks, but in a Beverly hillbillies type way. The father hasn’t cut his beard since he was fifteen years old. The Uncle who is a pharmacist, drinks patent medicine of the 4th of July and gets himself into a state. The sister has come home with a child, who she is claiming is adopted for some reason. It’s an eccentric cast of characters, all bickering and over reacting to a situation. The action is not overblown, but the squabbles of the family are funny. The whole town winds up divided, and only some of the residents continue going to the post office to buy stamps and post items.
Further Comments: A funny story, in a real southern style. Southern writers are something all to themselves, there seems to be a great pride in allowing the south to speak for itself, particularly in terms of dialogue. But with Southern humorists, there is also the double edge of them mocking the residents of the south as uneducated. It is a real blending of love, but a tempered love, and one where the foibles of such people are also pointed out.