I feel a small need to redeem the south, namely South Carolina, with its rising unemployment, its cheating governor, and its serial killer and all. I wasn't raised in South Carolina, but I've been here for eleven years. My family is from a little town in Alabama way out in the woods. When I first met David he was afraid I'd drop him off and he would have to use his Marine Corps land navigation skills to get back to civilization. This is also where "Courtney Lane" is.
I have always lived in the south, well except for the three years we lived in Hawaii. The weather in the south is great. Here in South Carolina we have two seasons "Great golly it's Hot" and "It's cold during the month of February, but we can still wear shorts through December". Further south you have "Really Hot" and "Not too Hot" and a little further north you have "Hot" and "Here comes that once-every-two-years-ice storm".
A little, or perhaps most, of my souther drawl has faded. No longer, "III'd liiiike a Spriiiite, thank youuuuu." I believe I left it in Hawaii when everyone kept asking, "Honey, when are you going to lose that southern accent?" However, I have held on to most of my southern vocabulary. It's just inbred. You can't lose that. Here are some examples:
Hey!: Used as a greeting, or as an interjection as in, "Hey! Why did you just smack your brother in the head?"
Y'all: Used as a plural pronoun, as in, "Are y'all just going to sit there while your brother runs around with a serrated bread knife and a pudding cup?" A less desirable "you guys" is used in the north.
Fixin' to: Used as a verb, as in, "I am fixin' to come up there if y'all don't stop that!"
git: Also known to some as "get", used as in, "Git your brother out of the toilet!"
Bless your heart: Used sympathetically as in, "Oh, you just fell down three flights of stairs, broke both legs, and need a body cast? Well, bless your heart!"
Say!: Used as a command, as in, "Did you just cut your sister's hair with those scissors? Say!"
I'll be dog!: I don't actually use this term, but my granny did. It is used as an exclamation when you are surprised about something, as in, "The kids are all playing nicely without arguing? Well, I'll be dog!
fo' shizzle: Oh, wait-that is not southern.
Certainly the south has had its share of difficulty. I mean we did try and secede from the union. Well, not me personally. But, I do have a rebellious side. I rip off my "do not remove" pillow tags right away. Do not try to control me.
The south also has the best food- fried chicken, fried catfish, fried okra and fried squash. Notice a theme? The south is not cholesterol friendly. We do eat our vegetables. As long as you simmer them for at least an hour to make sure every last nutrient has been leached out. Then add a stick of butter. And cornbread on the side. Mmmmmm. You can't get any better than that.
The deep south is the setting for many of my fondest memories. I recall sitting in my Granny and Papa's trailer on Friday nights watching "Dallas" after the local high school football game. Except that I don't like Dallas, or high school football, but that's really beside the point. I remember when you told someone how to get to that trailer by saying, 'It's up the road a piece- cross the bridge and take a left at the crossroads." I remember picking up the phone and hearing the neighbor talking because we had a "party line". I remember when "going to town" just meant you were going into town. I remember my papa filling up his truck with gas on "credit" when credit meant saying, "I'll come back on Tuesday and pay you."
I have visited the north-my husband is from Chicago. But, there is just something about the south. I will always call it home.