Check out Kevin Winter’s new short story collection “A Place We All Know: A Collection of Short Stories”Read More
We ask questions in Darlington County, S.C. and those questions are to make sure we’re not related, me and you. Porch nights in Oxford but only a few minutes over Barry Hannah’s grave. It’s hotter than hell and far. Mortician and poodle meet ups in Birmingham. Delirius drives from Little Rock to Asheville, you name it. I’m looking for a sawdust floor in New York City and someone to buy me a drink. I have carpal tunnel so you might have to lift the glass. Hey, I’m just glad to be here.Read More
Southern Legacy Statement – Half Mexican, Half Redneck. I use that to describe my heritage.
Upon hearing that: my mother’s family gets upset and offended, my father’s side laughs and hollers. I’ll let you decide which is half is which half.
From ages three to eighteen, one year of my life was spent in Southern California, the next in North Georgia. The odd-numbered years were in smoggy cities, people giving me odd looks for ordering sugar in my tea, and mocking me when I say “ya’ll.”
I was fired from my first California job because customers insisted I insulted them by saying “sir” and “ma’am.” When I got older: I chose fresh air in the woods, people that became your new best friend when you share the counter at Waffle House, and smiles when I reply to statements with “sho’nuff.” Now, I’m the boss and all my employees know full well to treat all customers with respect and address them with “sir” and “ma’am.”Read More
Southern Legitimacy Statement
Ma-Ma would take Bo and me digging for sassafras roots in the woods next door. She would boil the roots and then we would drink the hot “tea” ’cause Aint Essie said it would keep ya reglar.”She stopped a horse from bleedin’, ya know? Tom Waters brought his horse over, pourin’ blood outa his neck. Aint Essie went ’round the back of the house and when she come back, that horse ‘ad stopped bleedin’.”
We dug potatoes, too. She had on her lipstick and floral print dress. As soon as we came out of the garden, she put her heels back on – black patent leather – and put the potatoes on to boil. “We havin’ old timey pataters and lemon marengue pie.” She watched wrestling while she ironed the sheets.
Then she took me over to Aint Correll’s. We were going to get my wart taken off. I was five. We drove round a dirt driveway up to a little house and an old man came out. Flowers everywhere and trees and a bench swing hanging on a rusty old swing set. They talked a minute and then he gently asked me to go sit with him on the swing. He held a leaf in his hand, twirling it round between his finger and thumb. “Suzan, this hyere’s a peach leaf. Come off ‘at peach tree righttare.” Silence. “D’you b’lieve I can take off that wort from your hand, thare?” “Yessir” “Well, hold out chur hand and lemme just rub this leaf hyere on yer wort, like this. See. Now, when you wake up tomorra, yur wort’s gonna be gone. D’you b’lieve me, Suzan?” “Yessir.”
My wort was gone the next day.
I think my southern legitimacy is evident!
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I’m John Calvin Hughes, son of a son of a preacher chased out of Mississippi for plucking the flock. I’m a southern boy who moved south and found himself surrounded by Yankees. I’m in Florida. There’s not a hill in sight and the restaurants that specialize in “Real Southern Cooking” put sugar in the cornbread. My own son told me the cat pushing on his chest was “making bagels”!
Where I’m From (My Southern Legitimacy Statement)
after George Ella Lyons
I am from a back porch, from Coca-Cola and accidental parallel fingertip slits from my curiosity of discovering our first air conditioner’s condenser coil.
I am from the closetless, socketless, south-facing bedroom.
I am from the chinaberry and the redbud, from the mimosa, the looper caterpillars dangling in fine, translucent strands from its branches.
I am from first Sunday in May and first Sunday in June and close reading of scripture, from Byrum and Welton and Portis.
I am from working by the job and not the hour and from finding the next thing to do,
From “cry me a handful so I can feed the chickens” and “washed in the blood.”
I am from the belief that “born again” is a change of character and a political liability.
I’m from Cullman County and Morgan County, almond pound cake and corn meal dressing.
From Uncle William’s fishing too close to the locks when the TVA decided to release water from the hydroelectric dam, Aunt Kate’s refusing to try the home-canned pickles until only one jar was left and her crying about it, my parents’ eloping across the state line to Iuka, Mississippi, on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1956.
I am from the middle kitchen cabinet drawer, below the medications and above the dishtowels, in an envelope box of snapshots with edges worn as hammer handles, smooth as seasoned skillets, frayed as pockets.
Southern Legitimacy Statment:
I am a true son of the South. I was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. My mother once said to me that myself, Elvis, and US Highway 45 were the only three things that ever came out of Tupelo worth mentioning. I was raised in Corinth, Mississippi. I graduated from Corinth High School and ventured forth into the big world beyond Alcorn County in 1983.
I hunt and fish and purposely seek out mud holes to whip my pickup truck through, even though mud in California can some times be at a premium. I have a cousin named Larry Joe. I have been known to pick up fresh road kill on occasion. I believe barbequed Raccoon on a hot biscuit is one of life’s more special pleasures. I love my Mama and visit her twice a year no matter if I can afford to take the time away from my West Coast life or not.
I am Southern, first and foremost. Everything else is just, well…….extra.Read More
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I have passed a lot of time living in New Orleans and traveling from there to Des Plaines, Illinois and back to NOLA. I take comfort in living by a river. I know what “lagniappe” means, and I plan on being buried above ground.Read More
I was born Paul Andrew Fogle in Norfolk VA and grew up in Virginia Beach, and as far back as I know all but 2 threads of my family in the U.S. are from either Virginia or Mississippi: my paternal great grandfather was from Philadelphia and it is rumored that my maternal great grandfather “had people from Maine.”
As a Virginian since birth, I am fascinated by these two trickles of exotic Northern blood. As a temporary upstate New Yorker (10 years and running is temporary), I have noticed some quaint and backward ways amongst these people. They cannot seem to understand that I go by my middle name. I have signed work e-mails, “Andy” and have been replied to with “Thanks, Paul.” Forgive my mid-Atlantic superiority, but I consider this the height of ignorance.
I say “howdy” although none of my relatives ever have. I suppose I get that from the TV.
My high school students think my accent and yalling is cute. They think I drink moonshine and they’re right, at least they were twice in my life. My son once asked my wife if I spoke English. The main thrust behind this query was my pronouncing “ham” as if it had two syllables. Apparently the vowel in my pronunciation of “pie” is also alien. What does the boy want from me?
There is a devilishly good chicken place up here, started in 1938 by a woman from Louisiana. I hadn’t had my Mississippi grandmother’s fried chicken in years, and when I first had a bite of Hattie’s–by myself one cold rainy night–I almost cried it was so close. TRead More