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In Praise of The American South (WTB)

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posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 01:34 PM
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Howdy, y’all. Greetings from Texas! As the old saying goes, I wasn’t born here, but I got here as soon as I could. I’ve been here 10 years now, married to a long, tall Texan (ladies, take note: Texas has some of the tallest guys I’ve ever met), and I’ve become thoroughly Texified.

I no longer say “you guys”, I say “y’all”. Instead of saying “going to” I now say “fixin’ to”. Instead of getting mad at somebody and calling them a derogatory name, I now smile and say “Well, bless your lil’ heart”.

I am what they refer to out here as a “Left Coast Side Transplant”. I grew up in Los Angeles. We would go to the beach almost on a daily basis during the summer, go on teenage dates to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Magic Mountain. We would cruise Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood at dusk to make fun of the hookers (male and female) on every corner, and try to find the star’s houses. We even climbed as close as we could get to the Hollywood sign. I realized then why it was never vandalized, it’s impossible to get right up to it without mountain climbing gear, and the cactus and sticker bushes, along with the occasional rattle snake, make it downright inhospitable.

My husband, who grew up in west Texas, had a different upbringing. Out here, it was shooting things with the old .22, cruising over to a liquor store on the New Mexico side that would sell them beer, sneaking around with friendly girls who were on birth control (and sometimes not), smoking cigarettes starting at 14, and playing with explosives, found on most farms. Here’s another tip, ladies: Country boys are better lovers, simply because there is less to do out in the sticks, so they get a lot more practice.

After an absolute train-wreck of a divorce, my brother, who was living in the Dallas area, told me I should pack up the kids and move to Texas. I laughed and told him no thanks. I couldn’t imagine why anybody would want to leave the best state in the Union. I had a home up in the hills of the central coast mountain range of California. It was pure bucolic splendor, with deer grazing, tall oaks, and every spring when the rains came, the hills burst forth the most beautiful green grass with bright orange poppies, tall bluebonnets, and all sorts of other wildflowers. A little creek would run through my property, and the wind would make the tall grass look like waves on the ocean.

Later, when I couldn’t find a job because I wasn’t bilingual, I found myself backed into a corner financially, and I had to move. The Lone Star State as I learned about it from books and movies began to beckon me. Stoic cowboys, tall in the saddle…big cattle ranches…..everybody wears Wrangler jeans…..the men are polite and call you “ma’am”. Visions from the movie “Giant” sprung into my mind. Oh, to find a tall, handsome, lanky Texan! Somebody not afraid to slug it out in a cheesy diner with a big gorilla named Sarge, while The Yellow Rose of Texas blared from a juke box.

So I moved out here. About that same time, a good friend of mine moved her family out to Alabama from Salinas, California. After I arrived in Texas, I drove the 750 miles back and forth between her place in Dothan and mine in Dallas. I began to find that some of the stereotypes about the south are simply not true, while a few others are right on the money. There is a part of Dallas that is much like the old TV show that goes by the same name. There are JRs out there, sleazy cut-throats in the oil industry, and their spoiled, snooty wives. If you want to drive the Dallas freeways, make sure your life insurance is paid up. People out there drive like it’s their last day on Earth. To be fair, there are a ton of Left Coast Transplants in the area, and I’m pretty sure we brought our road-rage driving habits with us.

Once you get out of the metro area, though, the people are some of the friendliest on the planet. For example, in California, grocery clerks are unfriendly and hardly look you in the eye. In Texas, they look at you, talk to you, and are so sweet and congenial. That was my first “Ah ha!” moment out here.....the direct openness of the natives, and that warm southern hospitality that outshines the sun.

Driving into Louisiana, the woods are deep and dark, and the humidity hangs thick in the air. Low fog hangs over the cypress swamps at dusk, giving them an ethereal beauty. I would stop and eat at the Waffle House in that state. The people were so laid back and relaxed, it really contrasted with my West Coast hyperactivity. They seem to say, “What’s your hurry? Sit back, relax, and enjoy your grits, darlin’!”

Mississippi’s forests in the springtime are bursting with Dogwood trees and magnolias, and their blossoms make the forest look like a fairy tale land. Some of the southern mansions are right out of Gone With The Wind, contrasting the single-wide trailers and tar-paper shacks just down the road. Again, there was no rudeness and no hidden animosity.

Cruising into Alabama, I had to leave the main highway and follow a two-lane road through the entire state in order to get to Dothan. I felt like a time traveler who had gone back in time to the 1930s. Some of these small little hamlets saw their heyday long ago, but they are still inhabited. Old brick buildings, small little town squares, and everything feels a little surreal. It’s like the movie Fried Green Tomatoes in real life, and I could swear I saw ghosts in the old buildings and abandoned gas stations.

Alabama is chock-full of natives who are proud of their southern roots. They are friendly, polite, but a little on the wild side, and parties just seem to happen. As I was sitting with my friend on her front porch, sipping a little beer and talking about old times, along comes a neighbor and her husband. They bring a bottle. Here comes another neighbor and his relatives. Things start getting lively. Then along comes some more folks who were just driving in the neighborhood and thought they’d stop in. Round about two in the morning, this West Coast gal was all in, but the party was still in full swing.

Let us not forget Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia. All beautiful states with wonderful people. A special "yee haw" to all y'all!

I wrote this as an ode to the southern states, to let them know I appreciate their honesty, friendliness, and sometimes orneriness. You never have to guess where you stand with a southerner. The Confederate “Stars and Bars” doesn’t offend me one bit. It is part of their culture and who they are. This region has been disparaged as the home of the redneck, inbred ignoramus, but I haven’t met any of those yet. I’ve met a lot of rednecks, yes. Their necks are truly red, because they work outside all day on farms, ranches, or oilfields. If I were in distress, a redneck would jump right into the fray, whereas somebody from, say, Silicon Valley, might stay in their car and mull over whether or not they might get sued for their actions. We got each other’s backs out here, and I don’t feel that I have to check mine for knives.

...continued below....




posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 01:35 PM
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I have come to love the south. Music seems to emanate from the soil itself. The land just seems to pull it out of folks. Out here in Lubbock, the music scene is incredible, as good as Austin. Even when I am on my 5 acres out on the prairie, I find myself singing and humming. I believe the Texas musician Pat Greene said it best: “There’s music in the dirt down there.” Where would the 50s music scene have been without Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Big Bopper, and that eternal icon, Elvis Presley? How boring would my teenage years have been without Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, The Allman Brothers, The Charlie Daniels Band, ZZ Top, .38 Special, The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, Black Oak Arkansas and The Edgar Winter Group? Who among us old enough didn’t rock in the 80s and 90s to R.E.M., The B-52s, The Black Crowes, Blind Melon, and the incredible Stevie Ray Vaughn?

What’s my rant? Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. I have come to love the south, and the south has embraced me as a long-lost daughter. To those who put it down, y’all are just all hat and no cattle, bless your lil’ hearts.



posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 06:35 PM
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I'm kinda offended by your inclination to think that southerners are better than us yanks, but I do appreciate a good story. Yeah, I wish I could live down south, but till then, I see your beef.

SnF.



posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 07:13 PM
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:American by Birth and Southern By the Grace of God"

As a southern boy being born and raised let me say first "GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!"
Iv been to the left coast and up north and I was made fun of the way I talked a lot but when a northerner comes down we treat them with respect no mater what accent they have. For example I had "notice the word had" a friend that lived in Sacramento Ca she asked me to come visit so I did and when we went out our were with her friends I was just a punch line just by the way I talked. Im not saying all were bad but here at home we dont make fun of the way people talk. May be its just a one sided complaint from just one experience but now I never go above the mason dixon or west.

The south dose have some backward thinking folks but I also found some in PA that was kind of a trip was almost like being home. Everyone that I know or grew up with are simple folks just want to live and let live and stay out of others business. I was married to a new yorker, boy that was fun her folks called me a "Red neck" right off the bat just because I drive a jacked up 4x4. Very few yankees and southerners mix so Im glad yall got a good thing going.

"Yall come"

Edit to add
Dont go praising to much about the south we gave the world Jimmy Carter, the KKK , penuts and Coke a Cola

edit on 3-12-2011 by ga-`tv-gi because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 07:30 PM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


Thanks Druid, but I cannot say that southerners are better than yankees because I've never been to the northeast. However, the few people I know from New York and Maryland are very nice people.

I just wanted to give the south a pat on the back for making me feel more at home than California ever did.

Thanks for the S & F



posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 07:37 PM
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reply to post by ga-`tv-gi
 


Every place has people that are backwards. What gets my goat are the people who automatically assume people from the south are rednecks. Some of the smartest people I've met have been from down here.

We could have done without the KKK and Coca Cola, but I love peanuts. Not sure how to feel about Jimmy Carter....



posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 10:08 PM
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reply to post by FissionSurplus
 
Well said. I was born in N.Y. and grew up in Ga. Ga. is all the home I've ever known. I have gotten some good natured pickin' at because of the misfortune of my birth place (i.e. d--- Yankee) but that's only because they want to hear me say; "You woulden't call a kitten a biscuit just 'cause it was born in the oven, would you?"
I am glad to see someone appreciate the rich culture we have here in the South for a change.I have had to live in other regions where the South is disparaged and it sort of ticked me and tickled me that the people in those places could not take any criticism of their area's faults even in a joking manner. Over all, I'd say we have the best sense of humor.



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