My good friend S sent me this link, from a Southern literary journal, The Dead Mule Society, which requires submitters to offer up their statement of Southern Legitimacy along with their literary submissions. S wondered what my statement might be. I am not a writer who submits things to journals of poetry or fiction. But (of course) I loved the challenge of drafting my Southern Legitimacy Statement. So I set to work.
Being southern means looking for daffodils in February, magnolia blooms in May, and lightening bugs in July, a month that you pronounce as jew-lie.
Being southern means having a front porch and a rocker.
Being southern means having your picture made as in "Y'all stand still while I make your picture with my camera."
Being southern means that when you walk through the door to the steamy outdoors in the morning you expect to have your glasses fog up .
Being southern means understanding the difference between "y'all" (a group of people) and "all y'all" (a real big group of people).
Being southern means you understand that all soda is known as "coke." From there, distinctions may be drawn, as in "Yes, ma'am, I would like a coke. I'll have a Dr. Pepper."
Being southern means understanding that macaroni & cheese is a vegetable.
Being southern means an expectation that homemade corn muffins or biscuits will be served hot and fresh with most every meal.
Being southern means eating supper, not dinner.
Being southern means knowing the difference between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. And having a preference.
Being southern means there is a fresh pitcher of iced tea on your counter all summer long. It's called the tea pitcher.
Being southern means you can make fried chicken without a recipe.
Being southern means that grits and cornmeal are staples in your pantry.
Being southern means your baby calls you mama and when that child is a handful you sigh and say, "child, you wear me out."