Confessions of a Southern-Yankee Convert

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I have a confession to make.

I am a Yankee who honestly likes living in the South, and I’ll be sorry to leave whenever that time comes.

For years I’ve been trying to squash this rising conviction that the South isn’t half-bad. Now in the 15th year of my “sojourn” in this foreign land, I still enjoy mocking its quirky towns and hick accents and odd people with names like Delmar and Raybur and Calloway.

I still live in mortal fear that, should I raise children in “these here parts,” they’ll develop the undesirable ability to stretch simple words to 4 syllables. The linguist in me shudders to hear diphthongs so maligned.  Who knew a simple name like “Joyce” could roll off the tongue in 3 barely-connected segments?  I find myself wanting to finish other people’s sentences for them because it pains me to wait as they drawl out all those multi-syllabic words.

But underneath the jests I’ve developed a deep liking for this part of the planet. The winters are warm(er); the people friendly (though I still shudder when some cashier at Belks’ calls me “honey” …. I’m not her “honey” or anyone else’s unless they’re 87 years old and nice enough to be my grandma).  The Southern tradition of pulling up a chair to “visit a spell” over a glass of diabetes-inducing sweet tea is something to treasure.


Don’t get me wrong:  Some days I long for the refreshing bluntness of Yankee-land, where a well-pointed hand gesture can communicate 1000 words. People talk faster up there…. Fast food is actually delivered to the counter before you can pay for your order… And you know where you stand with folks. None of this “smile to your face and stab you in the back” stuff (which is probably the South’s greatest fault).

But given the alternatives, the South is one of the best places to live.

When it comes to interesting characters and stories stranger than fiction, the South wins hands-down. Southern storytellers ought to be a marketable export. Forget the Comedy Channel… find yourself a Southerner, give them a glass of sweet tea and a heapin’ bowl of banana pudding, and ask them to relate a few stories about “family.”

Most recent installment of “hilarious stories you would only hear in Dixie”:  The Racoon that Smokes Pot.

Oh dear. lol

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