Hear Pulitzer-prize winning author Rick Bragg riff on Southern topics.
Hi, I'm Rick Bragg. People love to, to, to, to fight over this. What does the South mean to 'em? And sometimes it's food, and sometimes it's music, but sometimes it's just walking around and knowing that you're home. For me, the foothills of the Appalachians. I know I'm home when I wake up and I look outside and I see the mist on those low mountains. And you can just sit and look at 'em. Just watch the mist rise and, I believe that makes the foothills the most beautiful place on earth. Maybe that's because it's where my father ran from police chief Ross Tipton in his souped up Mercury. Maybe it's because I can stand on a porch and listen to my brother Sam's coon dogs. Maybe it's just because it the place that my mother is. And I don't even know which direction to travel in to say, you know, what's, what is Southern? What's the best of it? I guess, if you're gonna, if you're gonna think about just looking at something that can take your breath away. then you go south. And you stand, if you can find an unmolested strip of white sand at sunset with your toes in that cool sand. And if you can make a place, build up a hump of sand that you can lean against, and just look at it, and every now and then see a flash of silver as a fish jumps in it. That's pretty close to what the essence of the South is. Or you could go west, you could chase that sunset. You can chase it to New Orleans. New Orleans is Southern and then something else. In New Orleans is Betsy's Pancake House on Canal street on red bean Monday. Yeah, New Orleans is the Crescent City Steak House where they have, even after the flood and they completely redid the place. They managed to keep the tile looking like it's a 100 years old. Kinda that old yellow, warn look. People will tell you it's a basketball game in North Carolina. I know that some places in the deep South that, that don't get credit. If you took them out of the South, I think it would just collapse in on itself. If you took Birmingham out of the South. Birmingham you know, began as, as, as a fireball. It began as a place where the night sky burned. It began with steel, and with. With, as rough and tumble and, and, and blue collar a beginning as a place can have. But if you took, if you took Birmingham out of that equation, you'd lose half the good barbecue in the deep South. People love to hate Atlanta. But what if you got rid of the Zesto's. on Ponce de Leon. I mean there are things in the. In the South that just. People love to say. Well you don't get 'em anywhere else. Well, I think what we really mean is you can't reproduce them anywhere else. You can't reproduce the feeling. Of waking up in a, in a shotgun double in uptown New Orleans. Swinging your feet out from under the quilt. Having your feet touch the pine floors of your house and knowing, just knowing, that the minute your feet touch that floor, you're gonna get away with something today. Or, you wake up in your momma's house in the foothills of the Appalachians and you smell the best bacon you've ever had. But more than anything you hear her footsteps. You hear her moving around, and you know that everything's all right, as long as you can hear that sound.