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American by birth. Southern by the grace of God.

November 20, 2010

When I was growing up, my dad had a sign that read, “American by birth. Southern by the grace of God.” It hung, at various times, above his tool chest in the basement and on the front of a 1983 Econoline van. A thin wire twisted through the oblong holes on either end to hold it up on the wall. Next to it was a newspaper ad featuring him pointing under the hood of a car and explaining something to a Coca Cola executive. Screws kept it in place as it was driven 300,000 miles to and from school, on family vacations and on weekend runs to sell junk at the flea market. It came to a final rest on the front of that van down at the gully end of the driveway.

None of this is particularly surprising since I grew up on the outskirts of Atlanta in a family just a couple of generations away from fighting in the Civil War – or War of Northern Agression, as my dad prefers to call it. One thing does surprise me however: in a month capped off with the potentially underworld-climate-altering crossing of the Mason Dixon line by my dad, I have seen an astounding number of confederate flags in the most unlikely of places: Connecticut.

The first was not all that surprising: a veritable parade of Southern pride adorning the backs of jacked-up riding lawn mowers in what must have been the midget class in the Orange Country Fair annual tractor pull.

The second caught me a bit off guard; driving around New Haven among the spires of Yale I saw one draped across the back window of a Thunderbird. The third was really five, making sure everyone could see them coming and going on a bike chained to a tree outside the university where I teach.

Redneck knows know geography, I suppose.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 22, 2010 9:32 am

    Finding a little “southern comfort” in small displays of “southern pride.”

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