For my yankee friends, corn pone is one of the most beloved comfort foods in all of southern cuisine: a thick cornbread that's been cooked over a fire in a cast iron skillet.
There are many ways to enjoy corn pone. Some folks like to bake it in the oven and serve it with a bowl of beans or hearty stew. Others like to mash up warm chunks of the stuff into a cold glass of buttermilk, then devour the entire mixture, dessert-style, with a long spoon.
As for me, I like corn pone best when it's been fried in butter until the edges are as brown and crunchy as hushpuppies.
Readers of Mark Twain (not to mention friends of my Dad) are no doubt already familiar with "corn pone humor," the southern gentleman's ready penchant for pulling your leg, making silly, off-color jokes and telling the tallest and most ridiculous of tales.
As you might have guessed, people can be corn pones, too. Southerners affectionately tease unsophisticated country folks for acting "like a corn pone."
More often than not, the designation is intended not as an insult, but as a term of endearment for the best kind of friends — the ones back home who never put on airs, like you for who you are, and get along easily with just about anybody.
"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." ~Abraham Lincoln
Since 1932. Small in size but not in flavor. A thin, all-beef burger patty grilled to perfection and topped with diced onions, tasty mustard and a juicy dill pickle, all on a square, steamy bun. Simple, small, square...delicious. By the sack-full!
I first read Harper Lee's southern gothic story To Kill a Mockingbird when I was 12, at the Brookstone School in Columbus, Georgia.
I was too young to fully appreciate the novel's themes, but its compelling characters made a deep and lasting impression, ultimately becoming part of my personal mythology.
I've always aspired to be like ATTICUS FINCH: a beloved, respected, tireless crusader and a morally upright community leader.
Atticus is educated, honest and articulate, yet free of racial and class prejudice. He does not hold himself to be superior to his neighbors. In fact, he hides his extraordinary skills (for example, he's an expert marksman) until they're necessary. Atticus is the intersection of supreme intellectual confidence and absolute social humility.
As it turns out, I'm no Atticus Finch.
I'm more like BOO RADLEY: a pale, reclusive, misunderstood shut-in.
I keep to myself, emerging for the occasional creative, caring or heroic act. These go, for the most part, unseen, unsung and unpunished.
And I'm more like the MOCKINGBIRD: I don't do much but make music for folks to enjoy...(and that's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird).
Congratulations, Ms. Lee, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of your masterpiece -- and thank you.
Despite deeply entrenched racial and class tensions, the south is a beautiful, soulful place. People smile at you and look you in the eye. Neighbors know one another.
Growing up in the south has given me a deep appreciation of human warmth and kindness; of southern hospitality. If you come to my show, I'm the host and you're my guest. It's my job to make you feel welcome and comfortable so we can enjoy each other's company.
The south also gave me a love of the blues and spirituals, and ingrained in me a relaxed pace -- the southern stroll. I imagine you can hear these influences in my music. ~Dmitri Matheny