Welcome to Real Southern Men

Publisher Wayne Franklin doing his best Civil War general impersonation.

I was twelve years old when it happened the first time. It was at an academic conference at the old Hilton hotel (now a Marriott) in my hometown of Mobile.  Educators had come from around the country to talk to us bright and gifted kids – a politically correct euphemism for dorks, geeks, nerds and those otherwise socially inept but capable of rocking a standardized test – about…well, I have no idea what they came to talk to us about. If they intended to empower us to change the world, they clearly failed. Sorry, but no Mr. Holland-eqsue opus for you, folks.

Riding on a glass elevator, marveling at the scenic vistas of Bel Air Mall, my heart swelled with pride as one of the visiting teachers uttered the words that I would hear countless times over the course of my life.

“You don’t sound like you’re from the South,” she remarked, a bit amazed to hear I was born and raised right there in one of the oldest of the cities of the Old South.

“You sound like you might be from California.” California! She may as well have said I looked like David Cassidy…or whoever was the heartthrob du jour that week in 1982.

To me, not sounding Southern became the equivalent of sounding intelligent. Over the course of the next three decades, I mastered the art of being “accent neutral,” robbing my voice of any hint of regionalism whatsoever. Sure, I can bust out a “y’all” or a “fixin to” when it will help grease the wheels of a particular situation.  And as with most homogenized Southerners, exhaustion and alcohol will bring out the accent faster than anything.

Ironically, for all my efforts to not sound like a Southerner, I’ve never left the South. In fact, I’ve never lived anywhere but Alabama, the so-called Heart of Dixie. The older I become, the more I treasure those customs, traits and traditions that are uniquely Southern. In a world where you could be dropped off blindfolded in any shopping mall in the country and not only have no idea what city you’re in, but what state or region, an embracing of our sectional heritage is not only quaint, but increasingly necessary to preserve the cultural jambalaya that is America.

To that end, we on this blog are undertaking a quest to become Real Southern Men, but it’s no easy task.

First off, most of us are about as Southern as New England clam chowder. Being a child of the suburbs who learned to talk watching Sesame Street, I don’t exactly fit the mold of a stereotypical Southerner.  Some would question whether I fit the mold of being a real man. Let’s just hope my wife isn’t one of them.

Secondly, before any of us can become a real Southern man, we must define what exactly that is.  It could be an old money Mobile aristocrat or a Cherokee County, Georgia cattle rancher. Or it could be that guy with the tin foil and Confederate battle flags in the windows of his double-wide, which brings me to the biggest challenge…

One of the biggest challenges to embracing Southern heritage is how to do so without seeming to endorse the darker side of our history. Is it possible to proudly wear the badge of Southern man while at the same time condemning slavery and the abuse of civil and human rights?

We’ll try to address each of these issues over the life of this blog, and hopefully we’ll always do so with tongue planted firmly in cheek…right above the pinch of Skoal.

-Wayne-

5 Responses to “Welcome to Real Southern Men”

  1. Darryl L. Lovell Reply March 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I was born in Albany GA., the son of an Air Force Lifer. Since then I have lived in Springfield, Mo., Tacoma Wash., Yokohama, Japan, Gadsden AL., Lakenheath, England, Weisbaden, Germany, then back to Gadsden, AL. where my Dad retired to. I have been blessed to have traveled literally all over the world either as an Air Force Brat or in the military myself. On one AL. Air National Guard mission I traveled east from Birmingham, AL. to Norfolk, VA., Naples, Italy, Bahrain, then the Island of Diego Garcia where we served 10 weeks of duty. After the mission was over we left Diego Garcia headed east again to Singapore, Tokyo, Japan, Denver, CO., then back to Birmingham having traveled around the world. In all my gallivantin’ around the world I am often asked where I am from and usually surprize when I say Alabama. Every now and then I get the comment , “you must be from Alabama(use your thickest southern , Foghorn Leghorn accent).” I usually respond with, “no one I know down in God’s country talks like that!” I am very proud to be from THE South because our rich Southern Heritage. I have now lived in the South for a little over half my life and wish to live nowhere else.
    Being a “Real Southern Man” means being a man of integrity and standing up for what is right even when it sucks. RSM believe in God, Guns, and Guts especially the first but yes all three. RSM are true conservatives in that they believe the Federal Gov’t should have the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution tattooed on the back of it’s brain literally. Two songs are the epitome of what being a RSM is all about and they are, “Sweet Home Alabama” and Southern Voice” by Tim McGraw.

    “Sweet Home Alabama”

    Big wheels keep on turning
    Carry me home to see my kin
    Singing songs about the Southland
    I miss Alabamy once again
    And I think its a sin, yes

    Well I heard mister Young sing about her
    Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
    Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
    A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow

    Sweet home Alabama
    Where the skies are so blue
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Lord, I’m coming home to you

    In Birmingham they love the gov’ nor
    Now we all did what we could do
    Now Watergate does not bother me
    Does your conscience bother you?
    Tell the truth

    Sweet home Alabama
    Where the skies are so blue
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Lord, I’m coming home to you
    Here I come Alabama

    Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
    And they’ve been known to pick a song or two
    Lord they get me off so much
    They pick me up when I’m feeling blue
    Now how about you?

    Sweet home Alabama
    Where the skies are so blue
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Lord, I’m coming home to you

    Sweet home Alabama
    Oh sweet home baby
    Where the skies are so blue
    And the guv’nor’s true
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Lordy
    Lord, I’m coming home to you
    Yea, yea Montgomery’s got the answer

    “Southern Voice”

    Hank Williams sang it
    Number 3 drove it
    Chuck Berry twanged it
    Will Faulkner wrote it
    Aretha Franklin sold it
    Dolly Parton graced it
    Rosa Parks rode it
    Scarlett O chased it

    Smooth as the hickory wind
    That blows from Memphis
    Down to Appalachicola
    It’s hi ya’ll did ya eat well
    Come on in I’m
    Sure glad to know ya
    Don’t let this old gold cross
    An’ this Allman Brothers t-shirt throw ya
    It’s cicadas making noise
    With the southern voice

    Hank Aaron smacked it
    Michael Jordan dunked it
    Pocahantas tracked it
    Jack Daniels drunk it
    Tom Petty rocked it
    Dr. King paved it
    Bear Bryant won it
    Billy Graham saved it

    Smooth as the hickory wind
    That blows from Memphis
    Down to Appalachicola
    It’s hi ya’ll did ya eat well
    Come on in I’m
    Sure glad to know ya
    Don’t let this old gold cross
    An’ this Crimson Tide t-shirt throw ya
    It’s cicadas making noise
    With the southern voice

    Jesus is my friend
    America is my home
    Sweet iced tea and Jerry Lee
    Daytona Beach
    That’s what gets to me
    I can feel it in my bones

    Smooth as the hickory wind
    That blows from Memphis
    Down to Appalachicola
    It’s hi ya’ll did ya eat well
    Come on in child
    I’m sure glad to know ya
    Don’t let this old gold cross
    An’ this Charlie Daniels t-shirt throw ya
    We’re just boys making noise
    With the southern voice

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Southern Voice
    I got a southern voice
    A southern voice

    May God Bless America but may God forever hold the South close to His heart!

  2. Dianne Bergstedt Reply June 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I. Love. This. Blog.
    I’m from a Southern family (Franklin, NC) ~ now working as a genealogist and living in Maine (which is just about as Yankee as it gets LOL). My specialty is the history and genealogy of the Cherokee Scottish diaspora.
    Reading your posts makes me feel a little closer to home.
    Thank you.

    • Thanks, Dianne! We’re struggling to find our footing as much as we’re trying to master the art of being Real Southern Men. One of our contributors is a Cherokee County, Georgia boy who I’m sure will delve more into the stories of the natives from that region in time. Enjoy everything else in the meantime!

    • By the way, let us know when we can come up for some fresh Maine “lahbstah.”

  3. Thanks for the kind words … feel free to spread the good word about RSM 😉 … btw, I am the “cherokee county, ga. boy” … And I do have some “Cherokee” posts in the works. be on the lookout for those soon! thanks again!

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