Category: Fiction

Davis Slater: Helping Daddy Win

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born and raised between the Mississippi and the Ozarks, where Missouri eats into Arkansas, you can walk to Tennessee, and you can wave at Kentucky, I’m now vegan, not for health or environmental reasons, but because I’m pretty sure I ran the entire South out of edible critters when I was a boy.

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Phillip Thompson: Kenny’s Saturday Night Cake Walk

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I didn’t have a “grandmother” or a “Nana.” I had a Granny. She wore red lipstick, always carried a pistol, drove fast, smoked cigarettes, believed in the Good Lord, cooked with lard (in which everything was fried — chicken, okra, corn, you name it), took all 10 grandkids fishing and was capable of slapping the taste out of your mouth if you sassed her (not that you ever would). She didn’t say “sweet” tea because there’s only one kind of tea in Mississippi (that’s spelled M-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-humpback, humpback-I), and if you ask for “sweet tea,” you’re clearly a damn Yankee. Or a carpetbagger, take your pick. She had more grandkids than she had room, so we stayed outside a lot in the summer — shirtless, shoeless, sweaty and loud and buying Co-Colas at Bubba Cox’s store or playing in the bed of Granddaddy’s dump truck. If we behaved, we could come in to cool off and listen to “Ode to Billie Joe” on the record player. She said things like “that boy’s as crazy as a junebug” and “bless her heart.” From the South? Hell, she was the South.

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Celebrate the Fourth of July, 1933 with a Story from Pete Peterson

Southernicity Statement

I live in Southern California but was reared in the Missouri Ozarks and attended schools where more hogs and dogs were under the school house than text books inside. I know that when you hunt coon or squirrel or quail, even turkey, you kill ’em and brag at church how many you killed. However, when fox hunting, the fox holes up after four or five hours and you thank him for a good race and promise to run him again.

I fry chicken in a cast iron skillet that’s been in the family over a hundred years. It makes great cream gravy. My monthly chicken dinners are quarterly affairs now, since my doctor said I’m to eat only foods I like, and fried chicken’s not listed. (He doesn’t know about the yellow corn grits and sausage on Sunday mornings.)

I understand the difference between the American Baptist, Reel Foot Baptist and Southern Baptist churches and have tasted the baptismal water of all three. I call ladies of a certain age ‘Ma’am’ and younger ones ‘Miss’. Finally, if there’s a more delightful sound than a nightingale singing at midnight from a magnolia tree under a full moon, only angels have heard it.

When I’m not writing you’ll find me tending my Arkansas Traveler, Nebraska Wedding or Brandywine heirloom tomatoes,

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“A Very Bad Thing” by Jim Booth

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Jim Booth was born and raised in Eden, North Carolina. He wrote a novel about his hometown – you could look it up. His other novel has the word “Southern” in the title. You could look that up, too. He likes barbecue and sweet tea. What more do you need to know?

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“Saturday Afternoon at the Drive-In” by Al Lyons

*We love this story because it rings so true. Real Stories of Real Folks Posted As Real Fiction.

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born and raised in sunny St. Petersburg, FL during the time of Webb’s City, where the mermaid show was free and the ice cream cones were 10-cents each. Once, in my youth, I attended a donkey-baseball game. I spent many a Saturday watching Creature Feature and Professional Wrestling on TV-44, while carefully adjusting the rabbit ears and tinfoil on the back of the set. In college, I waited tables dressed in bib overalls and a straw hat at Skeeter’s Home of the Big Biscuit. I believe eggs and bacon should always be served with grits, as the good Lord intended, although I do endorse the sacrilege of added cheese. I know in my heart that God is a Gator. Several years ago I escaped to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC. I have a homemade camper and a homemade fiddle, and I can be found wandering in the mountains, when I lose track of time.

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“Fried Tomatoes and Milk Gravy” by Margaret Frey

My Southern Legitimacy Statement is as follows:

I’m a native of New Jersey, South Jersey to be precise. My family and I were transferred to Tennessee a decade ago. I write from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Though I have yet to develop a taste for grits or okra, I have fond childhood memories of fried tomatoes, best summer dish around!

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“Jolene Jolene” by John Michael Flynn

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I live in central Virginia, and I teach English at Piedmont Valley Community College. My wife and I have owned a little townhouse on the outskirts of Charlottesville for five years now. One of my writing mentors was the late George Garrett, who back in the mid-eighties encouraged me to write and got me a full scholarship into the University of Michigan, where he was then teaching. My story derives from my time as a very young man working as a tobacco farmhand in western North Carolina.

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Brenda Wilson Wooley: “The Poem”

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born in Kentucky into a family of storytellers. I spent many summer nights on my grandmother’s front porch listening to relatives tell one story after another about the eccentrics in the family: a great-grandfather, who walked everywhere he went (even though he had a fine buggy) and had a song written about him (“Walk, Tom Wilson”); a corncob-pipe-smoking great-great grandmother who took off running and hopped on her horse from the rear; a distant cousin’s wife, Lily, who baked cakes when she was depressed. Many cakes. All night long. And a distant cousin who strolled into the local truck stop, perched himself on a stool at the counter and leisurely sipped a cup of coffee. (Did I mention he was clad in nothing but a towel?)

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Ben Shields … “Jim Threw Things From Trucks”

I grew up on a plantation. I’ve been baptized. My grandmother just died. At her house there’s a monster sycamore. My grandfather hung a fire extinguisher on it probably thirty years ago or more for fish frying. The tree grew around it, and now there’s just a piece of pale red not yet sucked up into the bark. My family is selling the house and the little piece of land it sits on. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. I’ve got pictures of it on my cell phone. That disturbs me more.

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