Being from the south, there are certain stereotypes that people like to automatically label upon me. My favorite so far occurred when I moved to Utah and I was asked by a coworker, “I did not think you people wore shoes. Another coworker, after seeing me laugh and exposing my teeth, responded with, “Wow! You have all your teeth!” I make sure I am very prompt in my bi-yearly exams for both my son and myself. Yes, I have all my teeth and my dentist loves me.
Because of comments such as these, I always make sure I do not use stereotypical southern words such as “ya’ll” and “ain’t”. I try, perhaps too much, to come across as a very education person to overcome the stereotyping.
With that being said, growing up in the south has taught me to respect my elders, use my manners, and show "southern hospitality"-a term I took for granted until I left the south. As I was leaving the store one afternoon, a lady behind me had her arms full of groceries so I stop and held the door for her as she exited the store. She gave me the weirdest look as if I was the first person to have ever done something like that for her. I did it without even thinking and hesitation.
I was having a conversation with one of my newly found friends about southern people and I thought
I would share some of the conversation.
She started off by saying that she always envisioned southern people to drive big trucks. I agreed, only she needed to make the truck many colors, as if it was built from scratch. She then stated that she pictured a big hound dog in the bed of the truck, a gun rack on the back window, and the silhouette of the naked lady on the window. This is where she was wrong, I explained. The back window has a picture of the confederate flag and the naked lady silhouette can be found on the mud flaps. I went on to explain that the hound dog may or may not be in the bed of the truck. The dog might either be in the bed of the truck with the fellar’s lady in the cab or you might see the dog in the cab with the lady in the bed. I also mentioned that she needed to imagine the horn of this truck with the Dukes of Hazard horn.
Now please forgive me for the next parts of what I am going to say, but you all know I am right.
I explained how the 4th of July works in the south. Beer. Rednecks. Fireworks. Enough said.
I explained how religion works in the south. Hypocrites are everywhere and people in the south are no exception, but for the most part, people in the south will preach to you the importance of Jesus and how Jesus saved their soul and how if you don't belong to Jesus you need to find Jesus all the while with a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
We like our food deep fried, our tea sweet, and we would give the shirts off our backs to a friend if they needed it. We are damned determined, proud, and have southern hospitality laced into our souls.
We are trusting but break that trust and you will never get it back. We hold grudges for life. We refer to our elders as Sir and Ma'am and the men open the doors for their ladies.
No southern event is complete until our anthem is played (which of course is Sweet Home Alabama).
We crank our cars.
Anything drink wise that isn't water is referred to as Coke- except of course for the alcoholic beverages and that's always good ole Jack Daniels.
We like to invent words ( ain't, ya'll, woodn't) and we don’t really care if you understand us or not.
If you are a Yankee, God help ‘ya.
We can talk about anyone and say anything as long as it's followed by "bless their hearts". That phrase is like going to confession and making all your sins go away. It works the same way.
Grits and buttermilk biscuits are a staple to the southern diet. Don't ask me what grits are, I have no idea. I just know they are yummy.
And lastly, you never truly realize how much you miss it until you leave it.