Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was always conscious that I was Southern, even while living in a foreign country, Southern California, a land of perpetual sunshine and brilliantly white teeth. But my roots were brought to my attention rather dramatically when there was a discussion among friends of what we would like for dinner. I suggested catfish and hushpuppies. “What are hushpuppies?” they said with all seriousness. On the way home I said to my wife, “I don’t think I can live among people who don’t appreciate hushpuppies. I think it’s time we go home.” And we did. Sometimes it’s as simple as knowing what you should be eating for dinner; sometimes it’s as simple as knowing where you belong. Read more
I was born in the lowcountry of South Carolina, and have lived in the South ever since. I lived about ten miles from Darlington International Raceway, the Grandaddy of Them All on the Nascar circuit, and grew up rooting for Cale Yarborough. While still a child I learned to eat souse meat, hog jowls, hogs head cheese, pickled pork feet, and chitterlings. I was in college before I met a male who hadn’t been hunting or anyone who didn’t eat grits.
I graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, SC, and a great source of pride for my alma mater is that Citadel cadets fired the first shot in the War of Northern Aggression. Similarly, a great source of pride for my home state is that South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. While earning an English degree from The Citadel, I was fortunate to take a Southern Lit course from the greatest professor ever to teach the subject, and I’ve had a love for it ever since. I learned to appreciate not just our richness of geography and culture, but also our richness of beauty and spirit, and to love them right along with all those things that make Yankees laugh at us.
My wife and I have been in Texas for the last three years, and it’s a little different. They think tea should be unsweet, shagging is something you do in the bedroom, and barbeque is a slab of beef covered with cooked down ketchup. Other than that, I guess they’re okay. And, even if they’re a little different flavor of Southern, it beats living with a bunch of Yankees! Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: SLS: I was born in Tuscaloosa, AL, and spent summers with kin in either Arkansas or Mississippi. Attended the University of Mississippi & worked at The Oxford American magazine. I drop peanuts in my Cokes. When my relatives say “ain’t” it never sounds wrong. I have heard my uncle construct a sentence that contains only articles when referring to how deep in the woods his coon dogs took him: “Way back off down in there.” I like fried frog legs (they do not “taste like chicken” — they taste like frog legs.) I now live in Seattle, where the tea served in restaurants is horrible, and the waitresses do not know what “unsweet” means. I spend most of my time straightnin’ the curves, flatnin’ the hills. Someday the mountain might get me, but the law never will. Read more