Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Sweet ole South

I'm a Southern gal. I live in Alabama and have lived here for 28 of my 33 years. I lived in Louisville, KY for 2 years, but I was ages 0-2 and don't remember it. I also lived in Tallahassee, FL for 3 years. Other than that, It's been all Alabama.

And I love it.

But I'm beginning to see how limited my knowledge is about other places in the USA. I mean, I've traveled extensively across our fair country, but have never LIVED outside of the South. And the more I get into this Bloggy community, the more I'm starting to realize how many people aren't from the South and really don't understand it. So I thought I've have a little South tutorial.

(I can totally give credit to Boo Mama for this idea. You gotta read this post of hers.)

Here are some things about the South that you may not know.

1. If you've ever watched a movie where an actor/actress plays a Southern person, you can pretty much guarantee that they will have the accent all wrong. We don't all talk like we should be barefoot, chewing grass, and riding in the bed of a pickup truck. The exception to this rule is Reese Witherspoon. She's from Nashville and her accent is genuine.

2. We do not sweat all the time. Yes, it is hot down here. And yes, the humidity is so thick that you can cut the air with a knife, but we do have airconditioning in our homes and cars. The movie "A Time to Kill" totally bugged me because they were drenched the whole time.
And by the way, we also have paved roads, cordless phones that don't have a rotary dial, and shoes. We love our neighbors and take "welcome to the neighborhood" cakes and/or casseroles to people who move in. We also do the same for neighbors who have babies, get married, or have a death in the family. If you have a baby, you won't have to cook for 2 weeks, minimum, because neighbors will bring you food.

3. We do eat grits and not just for breakfast. They are a great addition to many meals. If you've never tried them, you aren't allowed to say you don't like them.

4. Sweet, iced tea is a food group. And when I say "sweet," I mean syrup. And when I say "iced," I mean jam slam packed with ice. Not just a few cubes. That doesn't count. Your tea should have to fight to get in between the spaces of the ice.

5. "Coke" is the generic term that is used for all soda. When you are at a restaurant and order a "coke," the waitress will say "what kind?" Then you specify. Dr. Pepper, Sprite, etc. We do not say Cola, Soda, Pop, or any other generic caffeinated beverage term. It's all coke.

6. We cannot drive in the snow. That's because it rarely snows. If we are fortunate enough to get an inch or two of the white stuff, the city in which we live shuts down. We don't have the equipment to drive on snowy roads. No chains for tires, no snow plows, etc. We are stuck. And I guarantee that you will see someone wearing a tshirt that says "I survived the blizzard of 2008" within hours after a snow. I can remember every snowfall of my life. I can also count them on 2 hands.
(Also, if you live in the south and can drive in the snow, you aren't truly Southern.)
((The kids in my neighborhood all own sleds. They aren't used for snow, though. They are used in the summertime when we wet the grass with the sprinkler and they sled down wet hills.))

7. Southern Hospitality isn't a myth. It's really true that people down here are NICE. We help each other. We let neighbors borrow eggs and never ask for them back. Men hold doors for women. Manners are taught at an early age. Every little girl in the south has been to a tea or shower by the time she's 4 and knows how to act like a lady at it. We say hello (or at least smile and nod) to perfect strangers all the time. Auburn University, my alma mater, even has a day called "Hey Day" where they promote friendliness. The requirements of Hey Day? Say "hey" to as many people as possible. Be nice. It's awesome.

8. The beaches in the south (especially Alabama and the Florida panhandle) are the prettiest beaches in the USA. The sand is white. Not white-ish. WHITE. The water is clear and blue-green. Plan a vacation here soon.

9. "Y'all" is the plural form of you. And I bet I'll say that word 1000 times today.

10. Tomato sandwiches in the summer are the best things ever. Tomatoes in the winter aren't even worth the energy used to cut them up. To make a summer tomato sandwich, put enough mayonnaise for 3 regular sandwiches on 2 pieces of white bread. Add sliced tomatoes, salt, & pepper. Pair with sweet tea. That'll be my lunch 5 out of 7 days a week this summer.

11. Everyone in the South has members of their family that totally blow the "sophisticated southern men & women" image out the window. Yes, I have family members who define the word "redneck." However, they'll give you the shirt off their back, will help you fix your garbage disposal, will jump at the chance to change a flat tire, and will lend you eggs whenever you need them. It's just part of being Southern.

For my non-southern friends, what characteristics do you think of when you think about the south? I'd love to hear them, even if they're wrong.
For my southern friends, please feel free to add to my list at any time.

Now, I'm going to get a Coke, y'all. You can guess what kind....


Unknown said...


I was nodding my head, smiling, and even verbally yessing the whole time!

I'm drinking a coke right now... but it's truly Coca-cola. My fave.

Ohhhhh, how I love sweet tea. There should be a law against any other kind!

And rednecks can be some of the sweetest, most helfpul people in the world.

I remember one time when we were first married, I had a cold. My father-in-law found out a couple days after I was better. He told me, "If I'da knowed yew wuz sick, I'da brung yew sum medicine." Verbatim.

Love him!

3girlsmom said...

"If I'da knowed." HILAAAARIOUS!

Wendy said...

I hear you! # 5 especially - even if it's Diet Pepsi (but who would drink that???) it's still a "coke". And 'mater sandwiches...yum!

People in the north: Sweet tea has to be made while it's still hot...unsweetened iced tea with sugar added is NOT the same.

I have an uncle who once told me I "sharp up real good" when he saw me all dressed up for some occasion.

Unknown said...

All of it is so very. very. very true!

Anonymous said...

Excellent list!! I'm visiting from BooMama's site. A get-together will be so much fun.

I've lived in Alabama all my life and I love it. I'll never forget the first time someone from the North asked me if I wanted a pop. And what kind? I was about 10 and utterly confused. What the heck is pop?!

girlmomx3 said...

Yes Ma'am! Loved and lived that list.

How about "bless your heart!" My Meemaw would say that for any situation. For that matter, do you think any of those folks from the North have a Meemaw?

Blessings from TX,