Some kind soul sent me down a rabbit hole by asking, “If you’ve been away from the South for any length of time, how do you know you are home.” The question had more to do with “state of mind” than location. I took the thought and ran with it. I don’t know if all are unique to the South but decided to poke a bit of fun at our peculiarities. Enjoy and don’t judge too harshly.
Travel a mile in any direction and see multiple Dollar Trees or Dollar Generals and three Baptist Churches on the same stretch of rural road or two liquor stores and two Baptist Churches on adjacent street corners.
A church member introduces you as the new couple that moved in across from the “so and sos” when you’ve lived here for thirty years and the “so and sos” have been dead for a decade or more.
You can get a hunting license, bait, a tire fixed, a gas fill up, and a hot meal…out of the same building.
Your girlfriend…or wife can field dress and butcher a deer better than you can.
You hear the words “cooter stew” and immediately realize they are talking about a soup made with water turtle, not a woman’s “holiest of holies”.
Finally scoring a parking place at Mom’s Dinner and finding mac ‘n cheese, cheesy grits, and biscuits and gravy are all in the vegetable offerings.
At a wedding on a Saturday during football season you find the groom checking his ESPN App while the service is taking place. Actually, a wedding during football season is poor planning.
After a funeral, the “Church Ladies” serve a meal consisting of a dozen casseroles and a like number of plates of fried chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, and banana pudding.
On a two-lane highway to nowhere you see signs saying, “Repent!”…”The”…”Time”…”Is”…”Near” or Bible verses displayed one word per sign.
You pass “Now Entering ……” and “A Thirty-Five Mile per Hour Speed Limit Strictly Enforced” sign five miles from the actual town.
You are introduced to someone’s parents and must explain “where you came from” which has nothing to do with a location but rather with lineage.
Getting or giving directions that don’t involve map directionals but landmarks, “You know where that Jook Joint is, turn left.” or “If you pass the split rail fence you’ve missed it”, “It’s just t a little piece past the Tastee-Freez”, or “We’re right across from the red barn.”
“Over yonder” and “down the road ah piece” are valid directions and you know exactly where they are sending you.
You use a heater and an air conditioner on the same day or you put up Christmas decorations in shorts and flip flops.
Service stations have overhangs with rocking chairs or benches for old men in overalls, rockin’ and spittin’. Oh, and lyin’.
You are unsure whether the tickle you feel in the small of your back is from perspiration or a mosquito.
When being told what someone is going to do, they use “ah fixin’ to” as in “I’m ah fixin’ to beat your ass.”
You are offered pickled eggs and a beer as a meal.
You must change planes in Atlanta because you can’t get anywhere in the South without going through Atlanta.
The waitress at the Waffle House calls you “Honey, Sweetie, Baby, or Sweet Pea” with a Pall Mall unfiltered stuck to her lower lip.
Your History teacher was also the football coach and you got extra credit for attending the games.
You are having baseball practice but pause so one of the parents can showoff the “trophy” boar hog they just “kilt”.
You see people selling boiled peanuts out of the bed of their truck on the side of the road and drawing a crowd.
When preparing to make a casserole you turn the bowl over and see there is a name on the bottom that is not yours.
You realize there are more restaurants than you can shake a stick at with the word “biscuit” in their name and there seems to be a Cracker Barrell at every interstate exit.
There are more people who say, “can shake a stick at” than you can shake a stick at.
One hears Ma’am and Sir along with “Bless yo heart” a lot.
When you ask directions to the nearest bar, you receive a fisheye look and are told, “Bar? You’re in the Bible Belt and this here is the Buckle!”
Or, the strip clubs are closed on Sunday so the girls can go to church.
You exclaim “Good Gravy”, and everyone knows it has nothing to do with gravy.
You find “to layer up” means sunscreen, bug spray, and lip balm.
You ask for a coke and the feller behind the counter asks, “What kind…we’s got Pepsi, Coca Cola, Nehi Grape, Sunkist, Mountain Dew?”
You find people will drink water before drinking unsweetened tea and the sweetened tea will set your teeth to hurtin’.
Beginning to say goodbye in the living room and finally finishing in the driveway forty-five minutes later.
Y’all come back real soon, ya hear.
Don Miller is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, trying to become a successful author. You might help him by going to his author’s site and buying a book. https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR010oCvAXUraE8HYz65Dff8OYPrGxE5zuRZYqEV5U8cV8jCmbiQymwUG5s
Don Miller’s newest fictional offering, “Long Ride to Paradise”, can be purchased or downloaded at https://tinyurl.com/y8gx9q7m
The map is from Wikipedia.