Southern Bucket List

by Gary Wright

A few alligators are naturally of the vicious type and inclined to resent it when you prod them with a stick.. You can find out which ones these are by prodding them.

-Will Cuppy

1.Graceland cropped

Visit Graceland:

Graceland is a shrine located in Memphis, Tennessee, visited and adored by multitudes throughout the South. It is the place where The King went when he died and left this plane. The place virtually drips with memorabilia, trophies, awards and tributes of El Vis when he reigned here on earth. The sound system plays a steady stream of ‘hubba, hubba, hunk of burnin’ love,’ ‘you ain’t nuthin’ but a houn’dog,’ and hundreds of other gibberish sayings that actually are high tributes to the most celebrated son of Tupelo, Mississippi. At Graceland, one can lay eyes upon a pink Cadillac, outlandish costumes, and garish interior design, which some have called showy. The word ‘gaudy’ comes to mind for many first-time visitors. I prefer, however, to reflect that the mansion is merely outfitted for the The King.


2.Dreamland Barbeque

Eat Dreamland Barbeque:

Originated in Tuscaloosa, Alabama by John “Big John” Bishop, Dreamland Barbeque is a place where one can eat real wood-smoked beef ribs. The meat is authentic and really good. Originally, “Big John” only served ribs and light bread (which is Southerner for store-bought, not home-made) only, with a drink purchased separately to wash it down with. When asked why he didn’t serve beans, Cole slaw and similar sides with his barbeque, “Big John’ is purported to say, “This is a barbeque joint, if you want beans, go to a bean store.” Well, if he didn’t say that, he certainly should have. I sure do like Dreamland barbeque.


Delight in Some Good Ole Smashed Potatoes:

Those are boiled and mashed with the skins still on. Add a few dollops of real butter, lots of salt and pepper and you have the perfect mate to Alabama fried chicken. Many dietitians will confirm that any vegetable cooked with the skin still on is much more nutritious. I am a firm believer, however, that somebody’s Maw-maw back in the olden days got a lazy streak and simply refused to take the extra effort to peel the potatoes, thereby giving rise to another old-wives’ tale.


3.Grand Ole Opry

Go to the Grand Ole Opry:

Who hasn’t adored Little Jimmy Dickens’ “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose,’ Hank Williams’ ‘Kaw-Liga,’ Lynn Anderson’s ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E’ and countless other memorable songs that had a lasting impression? The Opry is truly a one-of-a-kind memorial to all the great and near-great country songs and artists which helped shape the very being of the South. Roy Acuff’s dream-come-true in Nashville near the Tennessee River is like a Mecca to all the true-blue fans of real music.


Experience a Stock Car Race:

You don’t just watch a stock car race, you experience it with all of your senses. The sights of souped-up street cars racing around an oval track churning up choking dust, for, like as not, it is a dirt track. The smell of hot dogs, pork ribs and other tasty delicacies washed down with copious amounts of RC’s, Mr. Pibbs, Yahoo chocolate drinks and Pabst Blue Ribbon for the grown-ups. The sounds of churning engines, fans screaming at their favorite drivers, Moms screaming at their kids, and the occasional curses and screams of drivers and fans whose temper unavoidably rise past flash point. Ah! The stock car race; a viable Red-neck alternative to the Friday night high school football games.



Visit the Flora-Bama Club:

It’s located in Orange Beach, Alabama and Perdido, Florida. Please note that there are not two locations; the Flora-Bama sits squarely on the state line. This is the only place in the free world where one can toss a mullet across the state line without the secret police opening a case on you. Remember, this is not a mullah-tossing; rather, a mullet-tossing. If you need further information, please get in touch with someone who cares. On busy days and nights you can take your choice of three or more bands in different settings playing practically every kind of music.


Troll for Sharks:

Troll for sharks in the ocean off the beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama. No, you don’t need to buy any bait. You simply use the most cooperative (or the drunkest) person in your group. You accomplish this by towing someone behind a boat with a tow rope, convincing the pogey-bait that you are taking him/her to do a bit of outdoor sports called water skiing. Which is, in my opinion, about the only use for water skiing.



Eat a Smushed Fried Biscuit:

For those not familiar, smushed biscuits are 2-3 day old biscuits mashed into a frying pan, liberally drizzled with grease and fried to a golden, crunchy, carcinogenic fineness. Throw in a piece of country-fried ham, a little red-eye gravy and a few fried eggs and you have one of the South’s best artery-hardening, scrumptious breakfasts to die for. And I do mean, to die for!


Flora-Bama photo from their website:

Dreamland Barbeque photo from their website:

Grand Ole Opry photo is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to

Biscuits and Gravy photo is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to

Graceland photo by Deborah Fagan Carpenter