Southern Legitimacy Statement: When you’re a half Jewish girl from Tennessee with a heavy Appalachian accent, people really don’t know how to take you. Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I confuse the nice old ladies at my Rhode Island supermarket by asking for my groceries to put in a paper *sack instead of a bag. I’m an atheist Jew who thinks “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” is the prettiest hymn. I call hymns and lots of other things “pretty.” I get red in the face when people don’t say “excuse me” or “thank you” in public intercourse. Because I believe in decorous public intercourse. Atlanta doesn’t feel Southern to me. Hell, small towns in Massachusetts have more of the South in them than Atlanta. Or Dallas. Or Nashville, I say.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: Honey, my southern roots go way back – at least four generations of my family have been born and raised in western North Carolina. Read more
I never thought I was very southern until my neighbor from California came over early one morning. We were going through a “lifestyle change,” and she had arrived to drag me out for an early morning jog. She went into conniptions when she saw what I was eating – a country ham biscuit dipped in red eye gravy. Cholesterol, calories, carbs, oh my! It hit me that I was southern through and through when I very calmly told her “Something’s bound to get me eventually,” got another biscuit and a helping of grits smothered in butter, and ate to my heart’s content.Read more
I’m a Native New Yorker who’s now Southern. When I came here I didn’t think it’d get a hold on me, but it did. Living in Charlottesville, VA via too many other places to count, it’s now a life of mountains and big sky and dogwoods and hawks. Of back roads and wood- burning stoves. Of bourbon and mint from the garden in May and swimming in the river in August. It’s the long talks with old-timers of how their descendants were run out of what’s now Shenandoah National Park-mountain people getting by as moonshiners. And it’s standing on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia, with the columns of its Rotunda and his ghost and magnolias and people from the world over. Just like me. It’s the slow pace of living that’s tamed me. And I never planned it. Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: My sister used to experiment on me. At the age of twelve, she taught me how to do a Southern accent–and I got stuck. I couldn’t get rid of it. The phone rang, back in the day when you couldn’t get rid of telemarketers, so my sister started making me answer it with my fake Scarlett O’Hara oh be still mah beatin’ heart accent–and she didn’t stop laughing for three years.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement*
I have shot containers of propane with my grandfather’s 12 gauge and yodeled with delight at the plume of flame that erupted into the night like a spume of blood from the skull of a Foreigner. I have walked often and barefeeted, and never been a stranger to hardship. I have thought of Andrew Jackson while alone in the darkness of my dead lover’s room, and been comforted.
*featured on the Dead Mule’s Facebook pageRead more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: We only eat Vidalia onions. Read more
SLS: A native of the Pacific Northwest, I lived in north Florida for eighteen months as a teenager. I was introduced to cornbread dressing, boiled peanuts, and beaches you can actually swim in.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born in Alabama, grew up in Georgia, went to school in Mississippi, lived in Nashville and do my fishing in South Carolina. I’ve spent a lot of time on the grounds Faulkner’s Rowan Oak and on the highway around Larry Browns farm. I currently live a street over from Carson McCullers’ house. I don’t know how much more legitimate I can be than that.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: The family’s all tore up: PawPaw and Mimi because Pepe was such a teeniny dog and just flattened under the wheel of that teenager’s Camaro—never stood a chance!—and me because I’m on the outs with Aunt Jean.
I was only joking about her potato salad.
“Aunt Jean and her potato salad” was truly all I said.
I may have also laughed.
And now she won’t say boo to me, as if I meant that she went around offering it to people, whether they wanted it or not!
So you can see that if you accept my story, it will be cause for celebration. PawPaw and Mimi would smile again, and Aunt Jean would congratulate me, although I’ll have to take her out for some broasted chicken, Texas toast, and hand-packed ice cream first. Read more
SLS: It was probably around age seven in the middle of a winter night that I realized how southern I was while dangling my legs in Granny’s outhouse.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: Born many years ago in the ‘Who’sthare’ state, this writer seeks to expand and share stories with anyone who enjoys a midwestern flavor. I enjoy trying flash, shorts, and vignettes, or (postcard stories) if you will. The name ‘Dead Mule’ grabbed my attention as I’ve been called a j.a. many times over the span of 50 some years. I like walking in the nettles and then wading in the crik.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
Grammy used to make the best rhubarb pie. Her meals were the type where every inch of the long table was covered with food: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, and vegetables from her garden, and dessert of rhubarb pie. Yum! She expressed her love for her family by making sure we all had full – I’m talking really full – tummies. She had a quick wit and what she called a “hillbilly” accent. She may not have been ‘book’ smart, but she sure was love smart.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: When you are born of Scot-Irish and Welsh stock in Piedmont North Carolina you start with a perceived southern legitimacy, but perhaps when you grow older you want to prove it —
One of my grandfathers was a storekeeper and the other a farmer. The storekeeper died sometime before I started school. The grandfather who was a farmer gives me a sense of southern legitimacy—at least in my mind. He farmed with his son, my uncle Richard. Their homes were about a hundred yards apart, separated by a field that by turns yielded cotton, or corn or wheat.
In the mid-1950s, Uncle Richard decided it was time to install indoor plumbing in his home. Running water in the kitchen, a bathroom, the works. He approached my grandfather with the idea that while the work was being done Poppa’s pump could be electrified, pipes run into the house for the kitchen and a bathroom, too.
I don’t know how long the discussions took, but finally Poppa agreed. Agreed, to a point. When the work finished at my uncles home work began at Poppa’s. First the pump was electrified. No more pumping the handle up and down to fill a bucket to take into the house for use. Yes, when the modern work finished you could turn on a spigot, then fill your bucket of water courtesy an electric pump—then you could carry your bucket into the house for use.
Maybe not southern legitimacy for some, but it works* for me.
*Works for the Dead Mule, too.Read more