Aaaaahhhhhhh the south! Home of sweet tea, cicada songs, and alligator gar, not to mention the alligators the gar are named after. Life here, even now, is a tad slower than the rest of the world. We do fish fries and still use drippin's when we cook. If we are blessed we are cooking on mamaw's hand-me-down cast iron. This is a magical place to grow up, even now, if you can pry the electronics out of hands long enough for them to see what is right in front of them.
Those that have roots here know there are a few things that can seem a bit odd to outsiders. In many ways, the south really is a whole 'nother world. Here's just a few:
1. It's just slower paced pace. Tis part of the charm. Take your shoes off, 'set a spell' over a glass of sweet tea and gossip. We enjoy strolling around downtown to window shop and "visit". (Visit means talk to everyone we see that we may or may not know.) It's not uncommon for people to just chat away in the middle of a grocery aisle, often having never met before. We say and live by the words, in the good Lord's time.
2. We talk funny. We take pride in our accents and if you've lived here long enough you'll be able to pick a Texas twang from an Alabama drawl. Personally, I'm accused of not being from here simply because even though I have the accent, I talk to fast to be native.
3. Gardening is huge, not all of us are good, but by and large, most southerners with any kind of land will have at the very least a very manicured lawn and will have tried at least tomatoes. (Tomatoes are a "thing". It felt like a rite of passage when I finally harvested my own tomatoes even if it was 1000 miles from here up north.) Even apartment balconies can be full of potted plants for those that don't let a lack of dirt get in their way. We are blessed with a long growing season and we take advantage of it.
4.When we move the southern just doesn't come off. I now consider Pennsylvania home more than Alabama, but I know I will always, always, always love shellin' peas, sippin' sweet tea, the cicadas, and fried mullet. I will thank God to my dying day for the Internet and ablility to buy my favorite brands (Duke's mayonnaise, Cheerwine, White Lily, and stone ground grits) when I'm not here. Nothing, I mean nothing beats a summer shower on a tin roof. That is the sound of southern childhood.
5. 'Bless your heart.'. This statement is tricky with a capital T! It can be an expression of honest concern for someone. It can also be the nastiest thing said to or about you. It can be an expression of thanks. It can be a replacement for a string of swear words. Tone..., tone is everything, and look into the eyes, if the smile is fixed and the eyes are slightly wide, you're done. I do know I'm guilty of this one.When I say it and laying on the accent and a big smile it usually means I'm VERY angry and if I toss my hair to see you better and put a hand on my hip I'm seething inside. I learned this little ditty from 3 years of public schooling in small-town Alabama. (I'm not so good with the subtle side of this.) However, I have said it to a crying child that I ached for and tried to comfort and meant it with all my heart in the nicest way possible. It really kinda sums up the south I think. We are passionate, we are classy about it........until we're not.