Southern Legitimacy Statement: This is a fake news story of how Nags Head, North Carolina lost its apostrophe. How Nags Head Lost its Apostrophe “Take it and be damned!” . . . Thomas J. Harkaway Perhaps the first and most important thing to say about Nags Head is that virtually…
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I read that you folks originated in Pamlico. I used to work for the Sun Journal in New Bern. That was back in the days when daily newspapers were healthy. This story is one of a 100 that focuses on the city of Greensburg and Dinwoodie County,…
Southern Legitimacy Statement: My Grampa Navy was from Copper Hill, Tennessee, a place that still sounds like “Copper Heel, Tin ah see” when I type the words even though it’s been decades since he spoke about the acid and the Burra Burra mine. When I was about 9, living near…
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’m from a small town just outside Cowtown (Fort Worth to those who don’t know better), with white gravel roads that claimed my front teeth one time and the skin off my knees and hands a few more times. I’m from a place that meant running around with no shirt or shoes from May to September, trips to Mott’s 5 and 10, and visits to grandma down around Houston to work the fields, each her famous drop cookies, and help her cook pie or cobbler or wild grape jelly. Dad was a cop and mom stayed home, and I’m still close by, though the town has changed and the light in town has a few new friends and a new toll road for competition. The fire department closest is still volunteer and football will always be king on Friday night.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: As someone who has almost always lived in the South (Southern Maryland, Southern India, Southern Florida and Southern California) I have these wonderful memories:
Our yard filled with lightening bugs, their twinkle lighting up the night. My sister and I caught them in jar, had my mother poke holes in the lid, and took them to our room to watch until we fell asleep. The next morning the magic was gone and they were just bugs. We let them go, only to repeat the process again that night.
I remember the twang and then bang of the screen door as we went in and out of the house a hundred times on summer days.
I always wrote thank you notes and still do. There’s something satisfying about a pretty little card and words of gratitude.
I remember when standing in front of a fan really did cool you off, even though the air coming from it was as hot as that the room. It was the humidity evaporating off my skin, y’all. And we opened the windows in the morning, only to close them and pull the curtains later to hold the “cooler” air in and keep the hot afternoon sun out.
Pulling off a honeysuckle blossom and sucking out the honey was heaven.
And the calming beauty of Spanish moss swaying in live oak trees? Only in the South.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: Alex Miller is convinced that everywhere is south of somewhere.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: My work has appeared before in DMSL and I have vacationed and read in NC, and worked in Bristol, Tennessee.
Here by special request, back from The Dead, April 2005: Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’m for sure Southern cause I chill out on Budweiser while propped up in front of the boob tube watching NASCAR racing. I wrote a novel about murder in the world of Nextel Cup racing. The title is WHITE LIGHTNING. If that don’t make me Southern, nothing will…
We’ve got some damn fine fiction here for August. Sit back and read for a spell. You know, been thinking about sitting a spell — a spell — so many meanings and we take words for granted. Like the idea that anyone coming to the Dead Mule understand that “no…
Maybe it’s a Texas thing, but whether I’m listening to guitar pickers under the big oak tree at Lukenbach on a Saturday afternoon, or cruising the aisles looking for bargains at Fredericksburg Market Days or watching fish jump in Oso Bay down in Corus Christi, or swimming at the dam in Hunt, Texas belongs to me, and I belong to it.
This is my kind of south. Now I once had a friend from Tennessee who disputed the “south-ness” of Texas. I will attest to its southwesterness, being just a couple of miles down the road from George Strait’s horse barn, but it’s south all right.
But Texas is “southern” in its love for land and its history.
In my south, you can trust a cowboy.
You can serve your company beans and jalapeño cornbread on your best China.
Saturday night’s for wearing your broken in boots to listen to Willie and dance at Floore’s Country Store.
In my south, people aren’t too busy to talk about nothing. You get the friendly finger wave driving down any country road and you can call up the corner grocery and ask if they have any fresh tamales.
In my south, we sit outside on the porch at Halloween and watch out for our neighbors’ kids.
In my south Texas sky, you can still see the ripe orange moon sitting pretty in a nest of stars.
We might laugh at ourselves during a watermelon seed spitting contest or a sandbelt tool race, but we love our flag and our earth and our “southern” way of life.
Fixing cattle fences after tree falls and winter winds makes a mess of everything just so I get chance at Joe’s fried mountain oysters isn’t the only reason to live in the southern Appalachians, but it’s a damn good one.
Markus Egeler Jones is professor of English and Creative Writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.
I’m a native Kentuckian currently riding out a purgatorial existence in the arctic Midwestern abyss. I catch glimpses of the bluegrass sometimes, when the sun is exceptionally blinding and making a rare appearance. I can still feel the cool Nolin River on my feet when I slip out of my snow-soaked boots. When I sink the shovel into the mounds of winter-refuse I can still–sometimes–imagine I’m actually just raking the burning leaves of my parents’ backyard trees.
It is a quiet portrait of a Southern marriage during the influenza epidemic in the early 20th century. It is nearly the exact opposite of another story I had published in Brevity about meeting Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas in 1983 while dressed as a life size Pac Man.
Dan Leach’s short fiction has been published in various literary journals and magazines, including The Greensboro Review, Deep South Magazine, and The New Madrid Review. A native of South Carolina, he graduated from Clemson University in 2008, and taught high-school in Charleston until 2014 when he relocated to Nebraska. Floods and Fires, his debut short-story collection, will be published by University of North Georgia Press in 2016
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I am an eighth generation direct descendant of a 1740 immigrant who came to America as an indentured servant to the Trustees of the colony of Georgia. I was born in Valdosta, GA and have lived in either Georgia or South Carolina all my life. Reared and educated in South Carolina, I have been residing back in my native Georgia for over 50 years now. I am legitimately southern in my origin and life and lifestyle.
Check out Kevin Winter’s new short story collection “A Place We All Know: A Collection of Short Stories”
We ask questions in Darlington County, S.C. and those questions are to make sure we’re not related, me and you. Porch nights in Oxford but only a few minutes over Barry Hannah’s grave. It’s hotter than hell and far. Mortician and poodle meet ups in Birmingham. Delirius drives from Little Rock to Asheville, you name it. I’m looking for a sawdust floor in New York City and someone to buy me a drink. I have carpal tunnel so you might have to lift the glass. Hey, I’m just glad to be here.
Southern Legacy Statement – Half Mexican, Half Redneck. I use that to describe my heritage.
Upon hearing that: my mother’s family gets upset and offended, my father’s side laughs and hollers. I’ll let you decide which is half is which half.
From ages three to eighteen, one year of my life was spent in Southern California, the next in North Georgia. The odd-numbered years were in smoggy cities, people giving me odd looks for ordering sugar in my tea, and mocking me when I say “ya’ll.”
I was fired from my first California job because customers insisted I insulted them by saying “sir” and “ma’am.” When I got older: I chose fresh air in the woods, people that became your new best friend when you share the counter at Waffle House, and smiles when I reply to statements with “sho’nuff.” Now, I’m the boss and all my employees know full well to treat all customers with respect and address them with “sir” and “ma’am.”
Southern Legitimacy Statement
Ma-Ma would take Bo and me digging for sassafras roots in the woods next door. She would boil the roots and then we would drink the hot “tea” ’cause Aint Essie said it would keep ya reglar.”She stopped a horse from bleedin’, ya know? Tom Waters brought his horse over, pourin’ blood outa his neck. Aint Essie went ’round the back of the house and when she come back, that horse ‘ad stopped bleedin’.”
We dug potatoes, too. She had on her lipstick and floral print dress. As soon as we came out of the garden, she put her heels back on – black patent leather – and put the potatoes on to boil. “We havin’ old timey pataters and lemon marengue pie.” She watched wrestling while she ironed the sheets.
Then she took me over to Aint Correll’s. We were going to get my wart taken off. I was five. We drove round a dirt driveway up to a little house and an old man came out. Flowers everywhere and trees and a bench swing hanging on a rusty old swing set. They talked a minute and then he gently asked me to go sit with him on the swing. He held a leaf in his hand, twirling it round between his finger and thumb. “Suzan, this hyere’s a peach leaf. Come off ‘at peach tree righttare.” Silence. “D’you b’lieve I can take off that wort from your hand, thare?” “Yessir” “Well, hold out chur hand and lemme just rub this leaf hyere on yer wort, like this. See. Now, when you wake up tomorra, yur wort’s gonna be gone. D’you b’lieve me, Suzan?” “Yessir.”
My wort was gone the next day.
I think my southern legitimacy is evident!
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 boy who moved south and found himself surrounded by Yankees. I’m in Florida. There’s not a hill in sight and the restaurants that specialize in “Real Southern Cooking” put sugar in the cornbread. My own son told me the cat pushing on his chest was “making bagels”!
Where I’m From (My Southern Legitimacy Statement)
after George Ella Lyons
I am from a back porch, from Coca-Cola and accidental parallel fingertip slits from my curiosity of discovering our first air conditioner’s condenser coil.
I am from the closetless, socketless, south-facing bedroom.
I am from the chinaberry and the redbud, from the mimosa, the looper caterpillars dangling in fine, translucent strands from its branches.
I am from first Sunday in May and first Sunday in June and close reading of scripture, from Byrum and Welton and Portis.
I am from working by the job and not the hour and from finding the next thing to do,
From “cry me a handful so I can feed the chickens” and “washed in the blood.”
I am from the belief that “born again” is a change of character and a political liability.
I’m from Cullman County and Morgan County, almond pound cake and corn meal dressing.
From Uncle William’s fishing too close to the locks when the TVA decided to release water from the hydroelectric dam, Aunt Kate’s refusing to try the home-canned pickles until only one jar was left and her crying about it, my parents’ eloping across the state line to Iuka, Mississippi, on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1956.
I am from the middle kitchen cabinet drawer, below the medications and above the dishtowels, in an envelope box of snapshots with edges worn as hammer handles, smooth as seasoned skillets, frayed as pockets.
“That was a nice cast, boy, your daddy’s been teaching you something right down there in Florida.” “Now, don’t start in again, Hiram. The child wasn’t the one decided to pick up and move off. We’re blessed to have him visit for the summer.” “I ain’t saying anything different, Martha,…
Southern Legitimacy Statment:
I am a true son of the South. I was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. My mother once said to me that myself, Elvis, and US Highway 45 were the only three things that ever came out of Tupelo worth mentioning. I was raised in Corinth, Mississippi. I graduated from Corinth High School and ventured forth into the big world beyond Alcorn County in 1983.
I hunt and fish and purposely seek out mud holes to whip my pickup truck through, even though mud in California can some times be at a premium. I have a cousin named Larry Joe. I have been known to pick up fresh road kill on occasion. I believe barbequed Raccoon on a hot biscuit is one of life’s more special pleasures. I love my Mama and visit her twice a year no matter if I can afford to take the time away from my West Coast life or not.
I am Southern, first and foremost. Everything else is just, well…….extra.