Southern Tapas

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Who Are Your People?      We want to know. When we meet you, we want to know. Who are your people? Are you kin to the Greenwood McDowells or the ones from Ware Shoals? Didn’t your daddy used to work in the mills in Pendleton?      It’s not that we’re nosy. We just want to establish some bona fides. Historically, we have been messed with by folks who seemed to be well-meaning, but turned out to be after our land or our sisters and daughters. So we’re a bit cautious and we’d really like to know if we can trust you unsupervised on our property. If we are related, or we at least know or know of your family and its reputation in these parts, we at least can start out on firm footing....

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Remarks on Losers and Criminals...

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     I rarely get to discuss this sort of thing, and when I do, it excites me so much that the other person ends up resolving to put a shock collar on me if they ever entreat on a conversation of a similar nature, so here it is, for us all: my favorite Pimp C line of all time, but more importantly, favorite rap line of all time, is bolded below. I'm trill working the wheel, a pimp not a simp/ Keep the dope fiends higher than the Goodyear Blimp/We eat so many shrimp, I got iodine poisoning/Fuck, n*****s make me sick with all that pinchin' and bargaining      Pimp C, the producer and other rapping half of UGK (Underground Kingz), along with Bun B, possessed an odd wisdom: his tales of having sex...

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A First Experience with Fried Okra...

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     It was my first month in Alabama. Time for exploring, seeing new places, and trying new things! A lifetime in the Northeast made everything here seem new, exciting, different. And it was!      But after making the long journey South, my old Honda was tired and unreliable. Gas was expensive, my map skills were non-existent, and my GPS didn’t recognize the dirt roads that surrounded me (and, on more than one occasion, directed me to turn into one of the many man-made lakes in Northern Alabama). When a co-worker offered to take me along on a day trip, I agreed. I was lured into the event with a picture of a riverfront locale in a secluded Alabama town, where we would be representing the environmental center we worked for.   Turns...

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Thoughts on the Civil War Sesquicentennial...

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  A lot of us don’t like to talk about it. Some of us are obsessed with it, so obsessed that we don period-appropriate garb and re-stage the battles year in and year out. Meanwhile, when told some years ago that my father was going to be serving barbecue at a re-enactment, I responded, “Well, maybe we’ll win this year.” I was not obsessed. Then, I wrote my master’s thesis on Faulkner and the act of memoralizing and found myself up to my eyebrows in something everyone around me had seemed immersed in for years. Somehow I’d gotten around it. Me, the girl obsessed with all things antique, history, retro, somehow never developed any affinity for the Civil War and its history, aside from a deep interest in the clothing of the day. People...

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New Year’s Resolutions

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  I can’t stop humming Death Cab for Cutie’s “So This is the New Year.” All the magazines that have come for this month promise “This will be your year!” and “Finally follow through with your resolutions!” If there’s truth in advertising, in two weeks I’ll have lost six pounds, cleaned and reorganized my house, and I’ll be motivated, productive, and happy. If that were true, these folks wouldn’t need an issue next January, would they? Then again, maybe they’re republishing last year’s since it didn’t take. It’s interesting to examine people’s attitudes toward any holiday, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day make exceptional case studies. I watch people make grand plans for parties and barhopping on New Year’s Eve, and many of them have very high expectations. I see people mope,...

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There’s Past, Present, & Future in That Name...

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Your name is your single most common identifier. As a person with a tendency for the rabbit hole of questions about seemingly ordinary things, I can’t help but analyze how my parents chose these three names. I was raised in a southern household with generations of Dixie tradition instilled into me, so my name being a combination of other people’s identities is not unusual; it’s incredibly common in this region. Children are given names that belonged to grandparents or great grandparents. They’re named after aunts and uncles who had an impact on their parents’ lives. Have you ever stopped to think about your name? I mean really reflected on how your parents settled on those two, three or four words that would become your lifelong identity? I’ve spent a great deal of time lying...

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