Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Southern Man


I was born and raised in Miami, the part of Florida with tropical allure, a melting pot of culture and a place that I defend regularly. You see, I'm a Southern Man. As I celebrate the south, I can think of no other place than home where I lay my hat, caress my pillow and post on blogs like this to know that this is where I want to be --the South. Anywhere below the Mason-Dixon line is fine where a unique sense of belonging rife with distinct flavors that resonate with familiarity. There's nothing like southern living, believe me! It's the center of my familiar, a place for lovers of the out of doors where nature beckons. It is that which gives me pride when I visit other places and long to be home; it is the type of hospitality we are known for, where in some places the village is still intact; and it is where you can enjoy Mama's apple pie on the way to the beach.

In the south chivalry certainly not dead, and in some places warts are still viable and visible, where you  find people whistling Dixie wishing for the antebellum days of yore to reappear. The Southern Man takes nothing for granted, walking with pride often dismissing the ignorance and fear of other persuasions.  Stereotypically in the south is where one is reminded that to be African-American is inevitably to find yourself defined by other people's distortions, misplaced sense of superiority, and the fear of an angry Black man. A Southern Man shrugs, knowing that the work of a lifetime is to make them see you with just as much intellect as they would want you to believe they have.  He will endeavor to make them see him anew -- not the person that they've been told he should be, but the person that he is, standing there astute and in living color!

A Southern Man's way to his heart is how well his food is cooked and the fact that it's plentiful. His food is grown, picked and shipped from the south, and wants it served on silver platters. It's about oranges, peaches, pecans, peanuts, mangos, guavas, strawberry fields forever, and yes -- watermelons! He's a glutton for Hoppin' John, peas and rice, fried green tomatoes, catfish, corn pone, oatmeal; crave dirty rice and other Creole staples; love his macaroni and cheese moist, cornbread and collard greens cooked with ham hocks, and cobblers baked with the best peaches this side of Georgia. It's about that Mississippi Magnolia with poetry & prose prim and proper; he longs for erstwhile cotillion balls, Canal Street and the Essence Music Festival. He knows that only fragrant orange blossoms and Virginia hams alongside rashers of lean bacon served up with creamy grits and butter can only be appreciated in the south.

A Southern Man travels basking in the bayous, cruising the highways and other mainstays while educated in the best academic institutions with historical value -- that's me!  George Washington Carver would be proud, so would Booker T. Washington of Tuskeegee. Then there's Meharry Medical Institute, Stax Records, Beale Street, The French Quarter, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Florida A&M Marching 100,  the best beaches in Florida and Morehouse College's Distinguished Gentlemen among the aforementioned living in southern comfort. Lastly but not least...

A Southern Man is a gentle man, debonair, respects and loves his women! He wants them with curves, brains and beauty. He can appreciate the wiles that women often display in trying to be hard to get, but in the end a Southern Man will woo, wine and dine for bed and board to really mean something. New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore are fine cities, nice places to visit but not to live...But I'm a Southern Man tried and true, give me the South -- for there's no place like home!

2 comments:

Patricia Neely-Dorsey said...

Alvin,
What a brilliant piece!
Your writings always enthrall me!
You have captured so many of the elements, that I try to portray in my book Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, not only about the Southern Man but about the food, relationships, values, and the whole aura.
You are masterful!
Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful word craft Alvin!
This piece is successful in taking the foreigner on a tour, presents a complete feel of Mississippi Magnolia of its people and places, culture and food. Impressionism? Its not a good thing not to belong to the south. And A Southern Man... is very desirable and merits the attention of a woman who admires intellect; words, wit and wisdom.
FAYE CHANTAL