Jane Rule Burdine
The first time I ever saw Jane Rule was in the very late 1990s when I had just moved to Oxford, Mississippi. My first sighting of her is probably similar to many people's. I was standing on the front porch of Taylor Catfish, waiting for a table, looking out toward a big turn in the road. Cars were steadily pulling in and out of the gravel parking lot, large groups of overdressed college kids were filling their styrofoam cups with beer stashed in the back of their trucks, smaller groups of not-so-overdressed locals and Oxford townies were doing the same, and the sun was setting in that beautiful way it does over the little town of Taylor, Mississippi. The porch to the catfish place was packed and loud; live music from inside blared out into the evening outside every time the front door opened....which was several times a minute. It was jumping, as they say.
The catfish place was wild but the rest of the little town was very still and quiet. You could see pretty much all of it from the porch and, as I looked past the turn in the road, I noticed a little golf cart starting to put-put its way down the driveway of a rather gorgeous old house that was only about 40 yards away. The golf cart slowly turned right and headed toward the porch of the catfish place, making a direct b-line to the front porch despite crowds and traffic. I wondered why this person didn't just walk to get catfish considering they lived almost directly next door. But then, as the golf cart got closer, I saw that it was being driven by a tiny, beautiful little woman with a loose pile of ash-blonde hair on her head. She wore small spectacles and was driving the golf cart with only one hand because in the other hand she was holding a glass filled with what had to be ice & whisky. The ice was loudly tinkling in the glass as she drove over the rocky parking lot approaching the porch. Before she had parked her golf cart in front of the catfish place at least five men had stepped off the porch to personally and enthusiastically greet her. The party that had been happening on the front porch of the catfish place immediately relocated ten steps away to the golf cart.
"Who is that?" I asked my friend.
"You dont know her? She's an artist. Jane Rule. She's also the mayor of Taylor," he answered.
I watched her accept the attention with big waves and hugs. And she must be funny, I thought, because she's got them all laughing. And she drives a golf cart 40 yards with a drink in her hand while serving as mayor...And she's an artist living in that incredible house...And they're all calling her by her first and last name!
"Man," I said to my friend as I watched Jane Rule,"I wanna be her when I grow up." But he didn't hear me. He'd already stepped off the porch.
We are thrilled to have Jane Rule Burdine's work here at Yalo Studio. Read more about Jane Rule Burdine's life and work in this Oxford American profile
and the then join us for her Yalo Studio opening on Friday, February 21st, 6:00- 8:30 pm with after party at Crawdad Hole Jr!