The Dirty South
Okay, I admit it...I'm a Yankee. My roots are northern, all the way back to the early days of America when my staunch protestant ancestors landed in New York and worked their way across the northern US to Indiana. However, I've been lucky enough to have spent a considerable time in the south. I have some family by marriage and a few friends living there and that part of the country offers so much to see and do.
There is a lot to love about the south. I mean, where do I begin? The people are some of the friendliest, most open people I've ever been privileged to meet. And the food? Please...sweet tea? Banana pudding? Fried chicken? And then there is Paula Deen, a woman I absolutely adore. But honestly, there are some things I just don't get about the south; nay, about southerners in general. And the one thing that puzzles me most is...
Southerners Are Still Fighting The War
I can't tell you how many southerners I've heard discuss the Civil War like it just happened last weekend. And the times I've heard "Well, if we'd a-won, ever'thang'd be diffurnt" (or something like that; I'm not sure what the heck they're saying all the time, if I'm being completely honest). And frankly, it makes me want to scream. Get over it people...WE WON!!! YES, WE, THE UNION, WON THE WHOLE DAMN THING! Just let it go. Oh, and in the process we got rid of slavery. You're welcome.
The Use of The Word Coke as a Generic Soft Drink Choice
The first time I visited my brother-in-law in Georgia (he married a bona fide Georgia Peach), my sister-in-law asked me if I'd like a Coke. I said sure, as it gets REALLY hot down there in the summer and my throat? Parched. She brought me a glass of ice and a can of RC Cola. Now, I have nothing against a good cold Royal Crown from time to time. But I kind of wanted Coke. A Cola. When I asked where the Coke was, bro-in-law said "Oh, down here they call all pop "Coke"." And they call all soda "pop". But that's a different rant for a different article. So if you're in the south and ask for a Coke, be careful. You may get Pepsi, RC, even a Sprite or Mountain Dew. You'll get something fizzy in a glass; it just won't be "the Real Thing", possibly.
The humble peanut has been a staple of the southern states for years. George Washington Carver is a name all elementary school students are very familiar with, because what's cooler than a guy who spent his whole life thinking of different things to do with peanuts? But George, if you are the one who thought "Hmmm...this peanut...this salty, crunchy peanut...would be SO MUCH TASTIER if I just boil it until it's a soggy, disgusting sponge and then suck the wet meat out of the shell!" Great idea (she says, sarcastically). REALLY great idea! Oh, and then if that isn't bad enough, EVERY SINGLE RESTAURANT will put them on the table as an "appetizer". Um, correct me if I'm wrong but I thought food needed to be APPETIZING to be called an APPETIZER. But I digress.
This is one vestige of southern culture that I really don't get. When a "belle" reaches a certain age, she is to be "brought out" to society to prove how cultured and ladylike she has become. There are classes involved, more money is spent on a deb's "coming out" dress than is usually spent on her wedding gown! The party runs into the thousands of dollars, and if you don't get the proper escort? Social ruin ensues and a wicked case of the vapors arrives! Listen, call me old-fashioned but I prefer the days when "coming out" meant you finally worked up the courage to tell your parents you were gay. But like I said, I'm old school.
To Sum It Up...
Like I said, I do love the south, and I hope everyone realizes my tongue is firmly implanted in my cheek. Southerners are charming, funny, polite and extremely gregarious. They are also weird, but then I know plenty of weird Yankees, and have, on occasion, been accused of BEING one. And let's not forget, lastly, that the cotton industry, nestled firmly in the bosom of the south, is responsible for that horrible commercial with Aaron Neville singing about the touch and the feel of cotton in his creepy falsetto. Though that's probably not really the fault of the south, so never mind. I'll include that in my article on things I don't get about the advertising industry.
Y'all come back now, y'hear??