Gus showed up at the widow Haynes’ house about a year after her husband’s death. He was three years older than her eldest son and she offered him a bed in the attic. He ate hot meals with her nine kids and worked on the farm from sun up to sun down, seven days a week. The Depression years were lean and when the boys joined the Army and went off to fight in wars, Gus stayed on in his little room in the attic and kept the farm alive. The widow Haynes was a bossy woman and she didn’t listen to any lip from the people in town questioning why this man was living in her attic. She didn’t care what anybody had to say, she was grateful for the help. She was busy keeping a roof over her family’s head and food on their table. Gus paid them no mind.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I never tire of telling my Northern friends stories of my childhood, growing up near Tampa, FL. During season, our old man would wake us up early to pick grits from the grove of grits trees up the road. We would gather the necessary equipment: a burlap grits sack, magnifying glass, tweezers and a tall ladder. The biggest, ripest grits always seemed to be at the top of the tree. We would carefully select the grits, one by one, gently plucking them off the branch with our tweezers, then deposit them into the burlap sack on our back. As a child, I could only fill one sack before noon.
I was always amazed by my father, who could adeptly climb up and down the ladder, quickly and methodically picking the finest grits, like an artisan at work. He would fill 3 or 4 bags, before we sat down to our packed lunch of scratch biscuits and strawberry jam. As the day grew late, we would make our way back to the house, dragging the full grits sacks behind us. Tired, but excitedly anticipating Mama cooking us up a big plate of fish and grits for supper. Afterward, the old man would take out his fiddle and sit on the porch to play.
Sometimes Uncle Jim would come over and join us for dinner and bring his mandolin. We would drift off to sleep with the sounds of fiddle and mandolin coming in through the window.”Read more
SLS: Deep South is different than South even though I can’t prove it. Ever since I moved north from Alabama to Tennessee I’ve felt like a Yankee. Writing Southern is about writing legacy, and that ain’t easy. We pronounce things like they sound, and I can’t hear a banjo without tapping my foot. Sweet tea tastes different when Mama mixes it up, but yall already knew all that. Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: How yall doin? I’m Mark McKee, born n bred in Dyersburg, TN. Short jaunt from Memphis, home of the Delta blues, Elvis, what have ye. This here story is, like all good southern yarns, based on a truth, of sorts. After relatin it to my Kansan buddy, Julie Sumner, she come along and had a right fine ending for it. Here we ere.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement. I was born in Sherman, Texas in the summer of 1979. I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1981. Everyone in Raleigh is from upstate New York. I have lived in Raleigh, Wilmington, and Chapel Hill. I love Raleigh.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I was born and raised in Mississippi—I suppose I could stop my justification here! But continuing, nonetheless, I eventually migrated to Ohio, to teach (obviously, they paid me to do this). After many years, I made my way back south, finally to Alabama, where I have watched my outstanding wife, Martha Powell, work very hard—first as Chair, now “just as” Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Alabama. In addition to my attempts at creative writing (poetry and, sometimes, a short-story), I still manage a few publications in biology (on southeastern, water fungi)—As I have been wont to say, my academic publications’ backlog was as big as anybody’s! It is my hope that inclusion of limited but appropriate quotation (from a far, far greater writer than I) in this present story will, perhaps uniquely, enhance its effect. In any event, I hope you enjoy what I have written.Read more
“For those who hope in the World to Come, Mr. Mark, Arthur Conan Doyle was correct when he wrote, “We cannot command our love, but we can command our actions.”Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: My Daddy, who was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, taught me the finger lickin’ pleasures of Sunday breakfast of biscuits and gravy, and, oh, yes, GRITS. Read more
I was born and raised in the Appalachian South, specifically east Tennessee. Thus, I have Scotch-Irish blood pulsing through my veins, and some German… and a little Cherokee, I was told by my sweet granny. I hope she was right. I also lived for a time in the Deep South, twice. Once in McComb, Mississippi, and once in Yazoo City, Mississippi. I believe my geographical dalliances as a child bode well for me in my literary pursuits. Read more