Southern Legitimacy Statement: The thing about The South is that it isn’t southern anymore.
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.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: These are names of my relatives: Clem, Lettie, Garlin, Annabelle, Elmer, Cayce, Velma, LV, and Baby Doll.
Dear Mule readers take note: every Spring needs a baseball story and this year, Ms. Sasso has given us a superb one. Read on!
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I grew up on a catfish and rice farm in eastern Arkansas. I must admit, I will take biscuits and gravy over grits any day, though.
As for my southern legitimacy: sweet tea. Once, when visiting family in Mocksville, North Carolina, I drank so much during the week that I had something akin to the sugar DT’s when I got back north. Snapple can not compare.
Celia is southern. She knows it, we know it… and Mule readers of our previous 10 years of literary excellence know she’s southern.
As for Southern Legitimacy: I couldn’t possibly be more Southern. Paw-Paw is a cotton farmer, Aunt Jean’s favorite phrase is “for cryin’ in the cow butter!”, and the little old ladies in the grocery store used to run up and touch my head so they wouldn’t give me “ojo.” If the preacher’s sermon went long, he’d apologize for holding up dinner. “Kudzu,” “The Lockhorns,” and “Tumbleweeds” were all staples in the morning paper where I grew up, though I’ve never seen mention of any of them elsewhere until now. I left home, but it’s shaped me, and most of what I write is about the love/hate relationship I have with my Southern past.
From the summer of 1989 to the summer of 2001 I lived in South Carolina. Before moving there I had not heard of the Gullah language and many other things. For the first eight years that I lived there, I read regional histories, old letters, diaries, cookbooks, etc., and took notes. Then I spent the next two years arranging the notes. The result was my Sisters Grimke Book of Days, which was published by Oasis Books (England) in 2003.
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 (if I spell it southren you’ll get it, right?) boy who moved south and found himself surrounded by Yankees. I’m in Orlando. There’s not a hill in sight and the restaurants that specialize in “Real Southern Cooking” put sugar in the cornbread. I’m making my own red eye gravy
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I now live in Panama City Beach, Florida and have been living here since 2005. There was also a six year spell here in the 80’s. I was born in NYC, grew up in New Jersey and have lived in NYC, NY State, New Mexico, Maryland, and England, and my first book of poems, One Day Tells its Tale to Another was published in Ireland. Please excuse me for including that last bit but I couldn’t help myself. …This is a fiction submission, originally written for a Surreal South anthology and although they kindly told me it did not make it to the book, it did make it to the later stages of decision-making. Ahem.
SLS: Meg Stivison did indeed move from Brooklyn to North Carolina when her handsome Southern boyfriend proposed, but as far as she knows, he is not actually a changeling.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: My family cookbook has recipes for fried chicken, fried venison and fried squirrel. (As to the latter entrée, submitted by my Uncle Toodler, he notes that Aunt Fay “says she would just as soon eat a cat.”) Note: Ms Shearer has allowed that she will give out family recipes, upon request.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: Alan Watkins was born, raised, and still lives in the Raleigh, NC area. Generally, his writings end up as short films, but recently he has decided to delve into the written word after being intrigued by several anthologies of horror related short stories. As a Southern Baptist, there are generally subtle religious aspects in most of his stories.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: Son of the Blackbelt. Lover of good bourbon & better storytelling.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: Them folks up there in St. Louis prolly think that Johnny Cash is a pay toilet but we know how the cows eat the cabbage down here in Ironton.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 page
Southern Legitimacy Statement: We only eat Vidalia onions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: When my son was just a little guy, four or five, and studying the violin he loved to take a break from classical music and go with his pap-paw to an old barn down in Pittsboro that had been converted into a little music hall. When it was their turn the two of them would climb onto the stage and the women in the audience would say, “My, my” and “Look how cute he is.” My boy would be wearing his little white cowboy hat and jeans and boots and when his pap-paw gave him the signal he’d dip his head and start going to town on “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” or “Old Joe Clark” or “The Orange Blossom Special,” maybe even a Bob Wills song or two, while the house band accompanied them on dobro and rhythm guitar and bango. My son’s parents would be in the audience beaming like bug lights as their boy and his pap-paw fiddled away. I’m sure this happens in other parts of the country, but I’m not sure there is anyplace else where playing the old-time music weaves warmly through generation to generation the way it does here in North Carolina, where the music was born and the best little fiddlers in the world are bred.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born and bred in the Alabama Wiregrass, where fireflies light summer nights and whippoorwills cry, as souls depart. My daddy never set his hat on the bed, fearing bad luck and didn’t believe in starting any project on a Friday. He believed in planting by the moon and swore long-dead cows could be ghosts too. Unmarried I said I wanted a baby and thought of artificial insemination, he said, “The little bastard will just be welcome.” He was a wise man.
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.
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.
Review copies arrive on a semi-daily basis here on Brown St. This month brought quite a few volumes of teen fiction and those were passed on to willing recipients. Then there were the two novels that were especially readable and noteworthy. One from a dear friend, Mule writer Jim Booth, titled “Completeness of the Soul” […]
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,
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?
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I once worked in the south, went through the south to and from an appointment in Korea in 1950-51, have written many stories set in the south, had four books published in the south and many Internet and print appearances in the south, including Dead Mule some time in the past in that southern exposure.
*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.
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!
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.
SOUTHERN LEGITIMACY STATEMENT
From September to December, I watch SEC football on TV, and I spike my mouthwash with Louisiana Hot Sauce.
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?)
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.
SLS: I come from a town with 700 residents in South Carolina. I thought it was legal to drink and drive until I was 14. I fired a gun before I kissed a girl. I use the word ain’t in my proper speech, and I pronounce the word “can’t” the same way I do the word “ain’t.” I am the only liberal in my hometown. I never stay longer than 24 hours at a time.
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
My family has been farming in the South for fifty years; longer if you count cotton. I don’t count cotton.
SLS: Most of my family was born and raised in the Deep South, and remains there (Mississippi, Alabama, and East Texas). Things get a bit confused by some in those areas when they find out that I grew up in the Upper South of Tidewater, Virginia. When they hear my soft accent or that I prefer to be asked first before my tea is sweetened, I am sometimes accused of being a Yankee (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Not so with my family, though–I’m still Southern through and through–and proud of it. I’m so Southern that I can go into great detail about my usual scratch staple of grits and its historical importance to the South’s survival. True, but I eat them so often (always stone ground–never instant) because they’re soooo good.
Plus, I know the difference between a chicken house and a hen house, and have met both chicken catchers and chicken sexers.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: 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.
Southern legitimacy statement
my grandmother made fat back sandwiches at lunch for all the grandchildren and our cholesterol is just fine.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: A snapshot of the South. A line of watermelons laid out in the grass. The road, just glorified gravel. My wife pointing through the windshield at the hand-painted cardboard leaning against the fence post. A smile playing across her face in the shifting sunshine. An empty gumdrop jar gleaming beside the cardboard sign. “Take a melon” on one line, “Leave a dollar” on the next.