I know most everyone thinks where they were born and raised is the greatest place on earth. I don’t think. I know. The South.
To see that sun coming up on another beautiful day, just anticipating what’s coming. You’re hardly out your front door before someone is telling you, “Good morning”. Black or white, it doesn’t matter. I tell them, “Good morning”, and I try to add something a little acceptable personally, “You have yourself a very great day.” They smile back at me.
It’s true we talk slow in the South. Some call it a drawl, if you will. I can tell you one thing. Nobody has ever accused me of talking too fast. Once when I was in New York City, I was talking to a born and bred Yankee. I told him he was talking too fast for my ears to understand him. He stopped to think about what I had just said, then he laughed, and began to speak slower. If we had engaged in a conversation long enough, he might have even developed a drawl, then his relatives would have said they couldn’t understand him, and asked him whom he had been talking to.
People sometimes get aggravated at us because we think about something too long. I told a Yankee one time he would have to forgive me, because I didn’t have a machine-gun mind like his. I told him it took me a long time to develop a thorough-thinking mind. He had to think about that.
You see here in the South we come up with these convoluted phrases that are confusing on the surface, but make more sense if you spend time thinking about them.
We eat fried chicken. Not just any fried chicken. I’m talking about people who know how to fry chicken, and not just anybody can do that. I can remember being in a restaurant further South than us known for its fried chicken and watermelon rind pickles.
I know Corbin, Kentucky Colonel Sanders did his best to fry chicken on a mass scale, but it didn’t even come close to this fried chicken in front of me. I asked if the cook could come to our table, because I wanted to tell her that was some of the best fried chicken I had ever eaten, and you gotta remember my Momma fried chicken like no other.
A small black lady stood in front of us. A compliment wasn’t good enough. A hug was. She smiled. I’m sure she had had many compliments over the years, but no insane white guy hugging her. I learned it was her grandmother’s recipe.
You’ve heard the expression, “First things first”. That’s an old Southern expression. What it means is to break down your problem into pieces. Don’t try to solve a big old problem all at once. You’ll get overwhelmed. When you see a Yankee walking around with a big frown on his face, he’s trying to solve a humongous humdinger all at once. He will sit down and ponder what to do next. Point him in the right direction. All problems have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Once you learn that, life gets a whole lot simpler.
Now there are some people who have given the South a bad name. Acted contrary. Were down right vicious. Well, I hate to tell you, but that wasn’t me, and it wasn’t the people I know. That was back two or three generations ago, and trying to hold me responsible for past sins, is about like telling me if I buy a pair of hiking boots, I can climb Mt. McKinley.
The only thing I can do is to treat human beings like human beings, and the vast amount of Southerners I know try to do the same. Just because I run across a redneck now and then, doesn’t mean I agree with him. Down South, we don’t have to be politically correct. I simply say to the redneck, “You’re an idiot.” Of course after that I’m driving off in a fast car, and he’s standing there on foot.
If you’re up “Nawth”, come down South sometimes, and comprehend us. It’s not difficult, especially if you’ll sit on a screened-in porch with me for a Southern sunrise morning. It might take you a few minutes to realize the world does look different down here.
Hang around later in the day and I’ll offer you, not a mint julep, but a glass of sweetened ice tea with mint in it. When I say sweetened ice tea, that’s what I mean, not that puny stuff up “Nawth” they claim is sweetened ice tea. We put a cup of sugar in a quart of tea. That soothes the nerves, and makes you think Southern.