My South

October 18, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen –

I was traveling recently and was forced to set next to a group of folks from New York City complaining about “Everything in the South” and for the record….

I am convinced that a New York accent is the greatest birth control device known to mankind.

And it occurred to me during this ear rape I was experiencing that I had received an email recently that was perfect for this occasion. I want to share that with you now…

I think it’s just perfect


This was written by Robert St. John, executive chef and owner of the Purple Parrot Cafe, Crescent City Grill and Mahogany Bar of Hattiesburg, MS.
And for the record those aren’t the only fine restaurants in Mississippi!

My South

Thirty years ago I visited my first cousin in Northern Virginia.
While hanging out with his friend, the discussion turned to popular movies of the day.

When I offered my two-cents on the authenticity and social relevance of the movie Billy Jack, one of the boys asked, in all seriousness; “Do you guys have movie theaters down there?”
To which I replied, “Yep. We wear shoes too.”

Just three years ago, my wife and I were attending a food and wine seminar in Aspen, Colo. We were seated with two couples from Las Vegas. One of the Glitter Gulch gals was amused and downright rude when I described our restaurant as a fine-dining restaurant.

“Mississippi doesn’t have fine-dining restaurants!” she insisted and nudged her companion. I fought back the strong desire to mention that she lived in the land that invented the 99-cent breakfast buffet.

I wanted badly to defend my state, my region, and my restaurant with a 15-minute soliloquy and public relations rant that would surely change her mind. It was at that precise moment that I was hit with a blinding jolt of enlightenment, and in a moment of complete and absolute clarity it dawned on me…..
My South is the best-kept secret in the country.
Why would I try to win this woman over? She might move down here.

I am always amused by Hollywood’s interpretation of the South. We are still, on occasion, depicted as a collective group of sweaty, stupid, backwards-minded, racist rednecks.
The South of movies and TV, the Hollywood South, is not my South.

This is my South:

My South is full of honest, hardworking people. My South is the birthplace of blues and jazz, and rock n’ roll. It has banjo pickers and fiddle players, but it also has BB King, Muddy Waters, the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd , Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Emmylou Harris and a guy named Elvis.

My South is hot. My South smells of newly mowed grass. My South still has kick the can, creek swimming, cane-pole fishing and bird hunting.

In my South, football is King, and the Southeastern Conference is the Kingdom.

My South is home to the most beautiful women on the planet.

In my South, soul food and country cooking are the same thing.

My South is full of fig preserves, cornbread, butter beans, fried chicken, grits and catfish.

In my South, our transistor radios introduced us to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at the same time they were introduced to the rest of the country.

In my South, grandmothers cook a big lunch every Sunday, so big that we call it dinner
(supper comes later).

In my South, family matters, deeply.

My South is boiled shrimp, blackberry cobbler, peach ice cream, banana pudding and cream pies.

In my South people put peanuts in bottles of Coca-Cola and hot sauce on almost everything.

In my South the tea is iced and almost as sweet as the women.

My South has air-conditioning.

My South is camellias, azaleas, wisteria and hydrangeas.

In my South, the only person that has to sit on the back of the bus is the last person that got on the bus.

In my South, people still say ‘Yes, ma’am,’ ‘No ma’am,’ ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’

In my South, we all wear shoes….most of the time.

My South is the best-kept secret in the country.

Please continue to keep the secret. . . .it keeps the idiots away.

Amen Brother



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5 Responses to My South

  1. kaye on October 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

    My South TOO!

    Finally the North has discovered “sweet tea” Thank the Lord

  2. MEB on October 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm




  3. JB Weems III on October 18, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Well put! I’m not telling a soul…

  4. Christy on October 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    <3 this. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Matt in Dubai on October 21, 2011 at 6:13 am

    I sure do miss MY SOUTH……heading home just in time for Thanksgiving.

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