Academic journal article Southern Cultures

"It's Not All Hard Candy and Horse Shit": Christmas in Cat Square

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

"It's Not All Hard Candy and Horse Shit": Christmas in Cat Square

Article excerpt

Inside the Cat Square Superette, above the meat counter, under the garish fluorescent lights and a watercolor painting of the store, a plaque lists four decades of Cat Square mayors. Among them is my great uncle Harold Canipe, who owns and operates the Superette and who served as the Mayor of Cat Square in 2008. Each year, the mayoral election is held at a makeshift poll set up in the Superette days before the annual Christmas parade, as the unofficial title comes with the duty of leading that gathering.

Cat Square is a small community in Vale, North Carolina, tucked in the foothills of Catawba County. To outsiders, it might appear as Flannery O'Connor described Manley Pointer's whereabouts in "Good Country People": "not even from a place, just from near a place." Since 1974, the Cat Square Christmas Parade has been held on the second weekend of December. My great aunts and uncles remember the parade's more modest beginnings with participants on horseback handing out cartons of cigarettes and beer to spectators. …

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