All She Wrote: The Southern Zodiac

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Nicole_Crewsby Nicole Crews

Me (at a Chinese restaurant): Mother did you know that you were born in the Year of the Horse?
Mother: Well that explains how hard I’ve had to work.
Me: And all the s*** you’ve had to put up with.
Mother: And all of the asses around me.

Many are familiar with the Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao. Literally “birth likeness,” it is calculated in 12-year cycles based on the Chinese lunar calendar and each year in the cycle relates to an animal. It is believed that each animal sign reflects the character of the individual associated with the sign. Most, however, are probably unfamiliar with the Southern Zodiac. If you were born below the Mason Dixon line you fall under the Southern Zodiac. Allow me to enlighten you.

Year of the Cooter: 1900-2020 — Attractively adorned, this cold-blooded critter may look pretty but it is hard shelled and stubborn and will snap your toe off if you get too close.
Famous North Carolina Cooter — Born in New Garden, this First Lady Dolley Madison helped establish American political traditions and etiquette.

Year of the Raccoon: 1901-2021 — Nocturnal by nature, this masked creature is scrappy and a born survivor.
Famous North Carolina Raccoon — Blind singer and pianist Ronnie Milsap hails from Robbinsville.

Year of the Black Bear: 1902-2022 — Regal and gorgeous, this is a dangerous beast that both defends its young and its kind.
Famous North Carolina Black Bear — Civil rights activist and musician Nina Simone is from Tryon.

Year of the Catfish: 1903-2023 — Whiskered and wily, the catfish is an athletic and prehistoric beast with an elusive nature.
Famous North Carolina Catfish — Baseball player and Hertford native Catfish Hunter.

Year of the Beaver: 1904-2024 — These creatures enjoy both procreating and nesting in their complex and multilayered homes.
Famous North Carolina Beaver — Ava Gardner, who hails from Grabtown, was a Hollywood femme fatale who married Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw and Mickey Rooney.

Year of the Weasel: 1905-2025 — Small but active predators, these tiny terrors are able to get into just about anything.
Famous North Carolina Weasel — National Security Agency subcontractor Edward Snowden of Elizabeth City leaked NSA surveillance activities.

Year of the Bobcat: 1906-2026 — An adaptable predator, bobcats are excellent for controlling pest populations and known for hunting anything.
Famous North Carolina Bobcat — Raleigh native and first US president to be impeached Andrew Johnson.

Year of the Ginger Squirrel: 1907-2027 — An excellent sense of vision and versatile claws characterize these tree dwellers who are very adept at adopting new environments.
Famous North Carolina Ginger Squirrel — Chapel Hillian Clay Aiken became a singing sensation on American Idol and later ran for Congress.

Year of the Feral Swine: 1908-2028 — Also known as the wild boar, these ancient creatures are deadly and capable of widespread devastation.
Famous North Carolina Feral Swine — Current North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is one.

Year of the Bald Eagle: 1909-2029 — Noble yet opportunistic, these birds possess  a large wingspan and keen ability to zero in on their prey.
Famous North Carolina Bald Eagle — Greensboro-born Howard Coble who served in the US House of Representatives from 1985 to 2015.

Year of the Crappie: 1910-2930 — Considered a tasty yet somewhat generic freshwater game fish, the crappie is ubiquitous throughout the South.
Famous North Carolina Crappie — Limp Bizkit frontman and Gastonian Fred Durst.

Year of the Cottonmouth: 1911-2031 — A black water viper, this venomous snake is capable of delivering painful and potentially fatal bites, and well known for standing its ground.
Famous North Carolina Cottonmouth — La Grange native and notorious drug dealer and gangster Frank Lucas.