Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting To Know You...Proud Southerner

One of the things you need to know about me, is that I am PROUD to be from the South.  The South has been my home my entire life.  I love the South.  Things are just a little different in the South.  Things are a little slower paced.  Our speech is different.  Our food is different.  Our lifestyles are different.  We are different.  Here are some of the things I love about the South.

1.  Manners.

Good manners are abundant in the South.  Everywhere you go, you hear "Yes Ma'am", "No Ma'am", "Yes Sir", "Please", "Thank You", and "Excuse Me", etc.  Saying these words are common practice in our parts.  It's a show of general respect.  "You get more flies with honey" is one of those southern sayings that comes to mind when we talk about manners.  But, southern women know how to use their words in a way that sound sweet, but mean business.  Have you ever seen The Closer?  Kyra Sedgewick plays Brenda Lee Johnson.  She is from Atlanta, but is a detective in Los Angeles and is a master interrogator.  She, in her sweet southern accent, says, "Thank you.  Thank you very much!"  Everyone knows that those words are their cue to do what ever she says. 

Also, under the manners heading, Southerners have a general respect for others.  An example that comes to mind is a funeral procession.  If we, as Southerners, are driving down the road and see cars coming with their headlights on, following a hearse, what do we do?  We pull over to the side of the road and let them by.  Why?  Out of respect for the family.  It's our way of saying, "I'm sorry for your loss".  I will never forget being with a friend, who was not a Southerner, and when a funeral procession started by us on the road, he kept driving.  I was LIVID and demanded he pull over.  Maybe that's a Southern thing? 

Southerns are just friendly folks.  We wave at people we don't know.  We let people out in traffic.  We hold doors open for people.  We are just friendly.  We even hug people when we meet them.  I know I have freaked out a lot of people by hugging them when introduced.  What can I say?  We are touchy feel people.  I love that! 

2.  Our Southern Speech.

People in the South seem to have a different language.  We talk slower.  We tend to make words longer than they were meant to be - hence the "southern drawl".  We sometimes run all our words together so that only someone from the South would be able to decifer what we are saying - Jeff
Foxworthy is famous for his ""hey didja eat yet, naw, didju? You´ant to. Aight" joke.

We southerners also have unique sayings.  For example, the other day after a phone conversation with my mom, my Hubby said, "What's she allow?" which means "What did she have to say?"  I also say, "Oh my gracious" a lot, which E says now too, which is hysterical, since she's four.  Also, in the south, most all soft drinks are "Cokes", not sodas or pop. 

Here are more of my favorites:

"In a coon's age" - means a long time ago, as in "I haven't seen you in a coon's age"
"Madder than a wet hen" - angry, as in "When I got home late, my mom was madder than a wet hen"
"Dinner" can mean the noon time meal or the evening meal - it's interchangeable
"Fixin" - means going to, such as, "I'm fixing to go to town." 
"Bless Your Heart"  another way of expressing your sadness or saying I'm sorry - "You're sick?  Well Bless Your Heart!"
"Fret"  means worry - "Don't fret about that test we took in Math."
"Ugly" - means ugly, but can also mean not nice, "You shouldn't talk ugly about other people."
and my favorite:  "Y'all" - contraction of You and All - "What y'all doing?"

3.  Southern Food

Southern cooking is the BEST.  We Southerners love our food.  We cook with real butter and lots of it.  We love our gravy.  We fry everything we can get our hands on and it's all delicious, especiall our chicken and catfish. 

Yahoo Images Photo

Sweet tea is the drink of the South.  We love our tea and it must be sweet and in most cases, iced.  If you got to a restaurant in the South and don't specify what kind of tea you want, you get iced, sweet tea.  If you do that in the North, you get hot, unsweetened tea.  My nephew and my son both ask for "sweet, sweet tea" as if my sister and I ever make any other kind.

Yahoo Images Photo

4.  Football

We Southerners love our football.  There is a reason Friday Night Lights is based in the South.  High school, college football, NFL games are a huge draw in the South.  We love football.  Another football event we love, tailgating.  We're not just talking about a pickup truck and a portable grill.  At least in Arkansas, we're talking about tricked out trailers, Hog shaped grills as big as a truck, satellites and outdoor big screen TV's so we can be sure and catch the games before the game we are actually attending.  Southerns are very passionate about supporting our teams. 

Image from

One more thing, I do love to go barefoot in the house, or maybe to the mailbox, but I don't go to Wal-Mart with bare feet and neither do my kids.  TV folks have a way of depicting the South as full of backward, idiot rednecks that are barefoot all the time.  AND, why is it that if there happens to be a tornado (in Arkansas, anyway) the reports always give the air time to the one lady they can find that meet the following criteria:  she must be more than slightly overweight with at least two teeth missing - with huge boobs and no bra, prefereably wearing a white t-shirt, possibly a wet white t-shirt, barefoot with horrible grammar and possibly crying?  What is that about?  Granted, I do walk around my house in a t-shirt and no bra, barefoot and with no makeup, but you can bet if a storm's a brewing, I put on a bra and sometimes my shoes just in case we do have a tornado and the reports come a callin'.  Just saying. 

This is just a little sampling of things I love about the South.  I would love to know what you love about where you're from?  



  1. laughed out loud....I go barefoot and bare faced - a lot!

    Some people may not consider Central Florida 'the south'..but I was raised in Apopka (the indoor foliage capital of the world - thank you very much). I have a litte redneck in me..& I know it's right to say 'please and thank-you'.
    Great post!! Or should I say 'YEE HAW' :)

  2. This was so interesting to read! Having lived in the Chicago area my whole life, I haven't been exposed to very much Southern goodness, so it was fun to read how you feel about it.

    Here are some of my things about Chicago & suburbs:
    1. Illinois has a silent S sound and you look strange if you pronounce it incorrectly.

    2. We call it "pop" and not "soda."

    3. We love our deep dish pizza. If you don't like it, you're definitely in the minority. There are so many restaurants that make delicious pizza!

    4. The area is not completely gangs and crime. Only a small portion of Chicago has some problems, but most of the city and surrounding burbs are great places to live.

    5. Most of us are aggressive drivers just like as the stereotype. It also depends where you live though...the outer burbs definitely aren't as aggressive as the city and expressways.

  3. Since I live in Georgia, which is apparently just Arkansas Lite, I will mention some things that I like about living in a small town as opposed to a region. Hope that's OK.

    We know that we're considered "backward" in a small southern town, but we like it like that and frankly work hard to keep it that way.

    1. We still bring comfort food for grieving families or sick ones, and we go to the funeral home when someone dies and we even remotely know a family member. We will stand in line for an hour to speak to them if necessary.

    2. We're welcome at any wedding in town unless specifically stated otherwise. (I love weddings... a bonus for me)

    2. Church life is still a large part of our culture.

    3. If the store is 5 miles away, it takes about 5 minutes to get there.

    4. There's a good chance that you get more than 15 minutes of fame in a small southern town because there isn't much else to write about in the local paper.

    5. People live their entire lives in the city just to save enough money to retire to a small town... and finally enjoy the life that we've been enjoying our whole lives.

    That's just a few.

    This is fun!I love hearing about other regions and types of living. I think that there is a whole lot of good in most places.

  4. Well, I'm a transplanted Southerner and I love the South (especially the warmer winters, sweet tea year round, fried chicken and the GA Bulldogs). My favorite saying a former boss used to say was "Just because I talk slow doesn't mean I think slow".

    I was born and lived the first 14 years in New England and love that area as well. We were from a very small rural area and many traditional "southern" things hold true for there as well.

    We didn't say ma'am and sir (they were considered rude) but if you were caught without your please, thank-yous and excuse mes or pardon mes you'd be in a world of trouble. We played with all our neighbors, waved at everyone and even hugged A LOT.

    We ate Sunday dinner at my grandparents house as did most of our friends. And we had lots of great food to boot. (Pot roast and boiled dinners to name a few).

    Because of our weather, basketball was the sport of choice.

    ALL Patriotic holidays were celebrated. Parades, flags speeches you name it. Picnics and cookouts for summer and community dinners for colder seasons.

    I feel very blessed to have known two parts of the country and to love them both.

  5. I am a southern transplant and each of the things you listed now holds a dear place in my heart. I grew up just outside of Baltimore, MD, and while I never considered myself to be a "northerner", now that I live in the Deep South (Georgia), I know that the term is relative.

    Just a few quirky things from the Mid-Atlantic:

    1. We ate Berger cookies, scrapple, Tasty Cakes, and Herr's Potato Chips. I've only recently realized these were local(ish) foods.

    2. Blue crabs were a staple in our diet. I knew how to pick them by the time I was 3 years old. Crab cakes are good, but there's nothing like crabbing off a dock for a solid day, taking home your spoils, steaming them in Old Bay seasoning, and picking them. YUM!

    3. Old Bay seasoning is good on *everything*! Especially French Fries.

    4. When we went on vacation we went "downy Ocean" (down to the ocean). MD beaches don't hold a candle to the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, but it was all we knew and we LOVED them.

    5. We love our pro sports teams (Orioles & Ravens). And even though it seems disrespectful, at every O's game during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner the entire stadium shouts "O!" at the "Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave..." It's just one of our things. (We kind of claim the Star Spangled Banner as "our own" anyway since F. Scott Key wrote it while on a boat in the Baltimore harbor.)

    Whoa - I wrote a NOVEL. Sorry! This was fun! And I love reading what everyone else has written too!

  6. I am from where the army plants our family. which means all over. I have lived in the south, north, central, northwest, and pacific. Let me tell you every place has their thing that makes them unique. We have been living in Tx now for 2 months. "Aggie land" they are truely crazy about aggies here. All the things that you have said about the south applies here too. A friend form Alabama used to say "I'm tight as a tick and sick as a dog." Has anyone heard that one. I would role over with laughter everytime she said that, expecially since I spent the better part of my early years in Southern Califorinia, does that count as south. They would say no. Ca is a planet of its own. Anyway I really enjoyed what you wrote and the other too. I am sure we can understand why the USA is truely a melting pot. Because when you visit some place else you think that everyone their is definately smoking

  7. I loved your list! Although I grew up in Canada and Michigan, my grandma was from Tennessee, so I grew up with lots of Southernisms. We drank sweet tea and we had coconut cake and boiled custard at Christmas. Plus, I went to college in Texas for one year and I have a lot of friends from the South, so I've heard a lot of "fixin' to", "ya'll", "bless her heart" and "she's bein' ugly".
    In fact, I've always kind of felt like I sort of belonged in the south ;)

  8. I lived in So Cal my whole life, until 5 years ago. We moved to TX so we could actually afford to buy a house and for me to stay at home with our kids while they were still kids.

    I must say... I LOVE Texas!
    -The cost of living is do-able (as compared to So Cal) and...
    -it is an awesome place to raise kids. There are so many things going on for families, and family is such a prioroty here.
    -As you said about the south, people are friendly and have manners.
    -Children call adults, "Miss" or "Mr." with the first name, to show respect.
    -Nearly everyone attends Church, and there are businesses that don't open till 1 pm on Sunday, if they open at all!
    -Neighbors watch out for each other. I have neighbors that make sure the Easter Bunny hides the eggs in the best hiding places, every year!

    I could go on and on. Love it. I get nostalgic for Cali, but we couldn't get ahead there, and moving has been the best thing ever.

    PS- I am not sure why there is a stereo type of southerners being sloppy, barefooted people. I find that southern women (including Texan women) take great pride in their appearance and would die before leaving the house in an unkempt way. I see more moms at the park in high heels...

  9. Just had to comment on this since I'm a southerner (SC), but most people find it very hard to believe unless you make me mad. I don't eat fried foods, don't drink sweet tea (my granddaddy made the best & it's not the same since he died), & I don't talk slow or have the drawl/accent, & much to my non southern hubby's dismay I just don't do sports of any kind. I LOVE me some cheesy grits, collard greens & sweet cornbread though lol. I love how southerners are so polite & speak & wave to people they don't know. I'll hug you too when I first meet you & if I liked you. I live in Germany now & it freaks them out when I first do it since they're so rude & stand offish. If you make eye contact with most of them, you've just ruined their whole day lol. It's very rare to meet a German with manners or who's nice. They don't hold/open doors for you & would rather run you over & look at you like it's your fault that they bumped into you. I've been known to give kids & their parents an ear full with a smile & a "now y'all have a nice day." ROFL As far as sayings go, in my family we often say "dang you must've tripped with the sugar jar"- meaning your tea/koolaid is so sweet a person could die from sugar overload just drinking it & "I'm as fat as a frog on a log"- means I'm full & the meal was goooooood. We drop our shoes at the door since my grandmas were old fashioned & swept their rugs to keep the dirt out & make the rugs last longer. If there was a threat of a storm or we were leaving the house we always had to make sure to take a bath & put on clean underwear without holes or stains- never knew who'd see your unmentionables.