A true Southener

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True Southerners a.. Only a true Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit, and that you don't "HAVE" them but "PITCH" them. a.. Only a true Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess". a.. Only a true Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder". a.. Only a true Southerner knows exactly how long "directly" is - as in, "Going to town, be back directly." a.. Even true Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl on the middle of the table. a.. All true Southerners know exactly when "by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well. a.. Only a true Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. (If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana puddin'!) a.. Only true Southerners grow up knowing the difference between "pert'near" and "a right fur piece." They also know that "just down the road" can be one mile or 20. a.. Only a true Southerner both knows and understands the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash. a.. No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn. a.. A true Southerner knows that "fixin'" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb. a.. Only a true Southerner knows that the term "booger" can be a resident of the nose, a descriptive, as in "that ol' booger", or something that jumps out at you in the dark and scares you senseless. a.. Only true Southerners make friends while standing in lines. We don't do "queues", we do "lines"; and when we're "in line", we talk to everybody! a.. Put 100 true Southerners in a room and half of them will discover hey are related, even if only by marriage. a.. True Southerners never refer to one person as "y'all." a.. True Southerners know grits come from corn, and they know how to eat 'em. a.. Every true Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that redeye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are NOT a breakfast food. a.. When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin' ... ," you know you are in the presence of a genuine Southerner! a.. Only true Southerners say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it - we do not like our tea unsweetened. "Sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk. a.. And a true Southerner knows you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway. You just say, "Bless her heart," and go your own way!

-- Charles Steen (xbeeman412@aol.com), April 13, 2002


They also have their picture made and not taken. They also hide and watch to see how things turn out.

-- Emil in TN (eprisco@usit.net), April 13, 2002.

Charles, when I lived in Alabama they were tamaters not tomatoes ; )

-- Dave (multiplierx9@hotmail.com), April 13, 2002.

And we know how to call the hounds with a true "Rebel yell" (or to applaud when we have a spit cup in one hand and a beer in the other :>)

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), April 13, 2002.

this was fun, lots of laughs and so true! I have family in Southern Texas and just love it when they visit. I try and hang on to the accent as it is so neat, but I forget so many of the downhome sayings. Thanks! LQ

-- Little Quacker (carouselxing@juno.com), April 13, 2002.

Don't forget about all those kids messin' and gommin' in the kitchen and pestervatin' the old dog on the porch.

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), April 13, 2002.

I have heard this before and I never knew I was a southerer. Here in the Ozarks we all talk that way. Also when someone offers to clean your plow for you.. Well, It aint good!!

-- corky wolf (corkywolf@hotmail.com), April 13, 2002.

Don't forget to Freshen! Never Clean but everything is freshened. "Just goin to freshen up a bit" "Just freshened the house" "You need to go freshen that room!"

AND don't forget...Smothered is GOOD. :-}

-- Laura (laauramleek@yahoo.com), April 13, 2002.

The only thing freshened is the cow.

-- Emil in TN (eprisco@usit.net), April 13, 2002.

Not in the deep South it aint.

-- Laura (laauramleek@yahoo.com), April 13, 2002.

A true Southerner will always be polite until they're angry enough to kill you. If you think you can't be well and truly chewed out politely you've never encountered a true Southerner.

A true Southerner knows what it means when you tell a small child to tell someone else "goody, goody, goody."

In the food vein, sweet tea and sweet milk is fine but sweet *grits* are most certainly NOT.

........Alan. (Who's fixin' to go to bed now, y'all.)

-- Alan (athagan@atlantic.net), April 13, 2002.

In the upper midwest your Father is "Daddy" for only a few years...in the south he is "Daddy" all his life no matter how old his children are.

-- Charlie (kneedrop@triwest.net), April 13, 2002.

Mr. Steen, In your post your mentioned grits. All I can buy in wisconsin is "instant grits". I like the good old long cooking grits that taste like something. A few weeks ago my wife and I took a few days and traveled to southern Illinois, southern Indiana and a bit into Kentucky. We like the Ohio river valley and it was a restfull & relaxing trip. We tried about 20 different grocery stores and could only find the 'instant' variety of grits. Yes, I know...we weren't far enough south. I'm down to about a pound and a half left in my last 5 lb. bag. This is getting desperate ! Do you or does anyone on the forum know where I can find "real grits" ??? Thanks. Oh, by the way, I think we should all send fried chicken, potato salad & many gallons of good sweet tea to the Mid East people. Not trying to be funny here...just frustrated with the human condition ...and nothing else appears to be working.

-- Charlie (kneedrop@triwest.net), April 13, 2002.

Charlie, send me your address and I will mail you some grits.

-- Sheila in NC (nannie@intrstar.net), April 13, 2002.

.Thanks Charles..love to hear all that "down home" talk,,I miss it so much,(being from WV)), Never hear those phrases out here in Montana. And tho there are a lot of very nice folks out here, their manners leave a lot to be desired,,I still am not used to the "crudeness" of many out here. ..thanks for the trip back home,,",Ya all come back now,,ya heah," :-)..Patsy...

-- Patsy, MT (cozyhollow-gal@care2.com), April 13, 2002.

I growed up hearing and using the word "passel" to mean a large quantity of some food. Now I never hear it used unless I do it. Did the South move or what?

-- Dave (drcomer@rr1.net), April 13, 2002.

Now, my Muthuh always told me that in Mississippi, (pronounced "Mizzippi" if'n you're from there) nobody sweats. Women, (ladies) never sweat, they merely glow, and men never get around to it. They just mop their brows and say, "It's so hot I'm fixin' to sweat."

Tell yer momma we said "hey!"

Y'all be sweet, now, don't be ugly, y'hear.

-- gilly (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), April 14, 2002.

I couldn't believe when I moved to upstate NY that they had never heard the word "fussin"! Don't forget, when you bring the groceries home, you don't put them away, you "put them up". Also, you're not canning tomatoes, you're "putting up tomatoes". I have a shot glass tucked away that says "American by Birth, Southern by the Grace of God"!

-- Cindy in NY (cjpopeck@worldnet.att.net), April 14, 2002.

And a poke isn't just greens that you eat in the spring, but also the name of the brown paper bag you carry them home in. Bet y'all know what a switch is! My mom always threatened to go get one off of a tree and my daddy did a few times!

-- Annie (mistletoe6@earthlink.net), April 14, 2002.

I'm with you Charlie. I can't find grits here in Ohio either. Just those instant thangs..... If you find a place to order them from... Pass it on!!

-- Marci in NE Ohio (Marci@amazinggrazefarm.com), April 14, 2002.

My Mom was a "Southern Belle" and I recon she used to call me "Honey Child". Sure brings back good memories Charles!

-- cowgirlone in ok (cowgirlone47@hotmail.com), April 14, 2002.

Round here it is 'maters and 'taters and a switch is a hickory. I liked to have busted a gut when my nephew asked his daddy where he could find a hickory bush when his first child was born. Jo Ann

-- Jo Ann Weaver (hillfarm3@peoplepc.com), April 14, 2002.

Charles, I never knew "Okies" were true Southerners until today! THANK YOU! - but I'll pass on the grits - I like my corn fresh off the cob!

-- Christine in OK (cljford@mmcable.com), April 14, 2002.

Hello Charles, I was born and raised in the Carolinas and I found it quite refreshing to come to the Ozarks and to have been able to understand the locals without an interpeter.

Sincerely, Ernest

-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (espresso42@hotmail.com), April 14, 2002.

I forgot to add that I heard "Bless your pea pickin heart" a lot! Mom was such a gentle, sweet lady.

-- cowgirlone in ok (cowgirlone47@hotmail.com), April 14, 2002.

And a perfectly viable defense in a murder case is "He needed killin"

-- Mitzi Giles (Egiles2@prodigy.net), April 14, 2002.

We recently moved to the Ozarks, last May in fact from VA.We are originally from western NYS, born, raised and lived there all our lives til 9 yrs ago.

When I moved to Virginia I felt like we were learning a new foreign language. It took me a bit to comprehend the lingo. In NYS and in many of the northern states it wasn't proper english to use terms like "fixin or fussin" It was proper english to end your words with ing, ed and so forth. In the North we used Ma'me (sp)? or sire to be formal or to reply to someone who might cause us to be angry or offensive. So when iwa scalled Ma'm in the south i wa soffended.

In VA I was really at a loss when folks used aunt with a short a, not aunt with a long one, current for electricity, cut lights on or off, turn loose, soda, yep, hard to use pop, got looks, and the list goes on. Oh, and "hush the fuss' to mean quiet.

so, we move here to AR and they use pop not soda, there is no sweet tea, but regular. Folks also use deal to mean thing. amazing how the lingo is different around the country.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), April 14, 2002.

Ahhh, but isn't it great to still have regional diversity ! This country is being "homogenized" in more areas of our life than ever. Every area where the population is large enough there is the "glob" of retail : wally world, best buy, the usual dribbling of chain restaurants( of which much of the stock must be heavily owned by cardiac surgeons ...beef, cheese, bacon...wowza ! ) Mom & Pop businesses can be found but are going the way of the model T, except for a number of specialty types. Yep, regional food, regional speech, vegetation, architecture(styles of barns ! ) manner of dress, etc., Hey! I like it ! Enjoy it before our species becomes generic clones.

-- Charlie (kneedrop@triwest.net), April 15, 2002.

My Gramma Jewel from Hacoda, Alabama (just north of Florala on the FL AL border) just passed this week. What most y'all have just sayed is true. However, there is just one more thing to add....

Grits are yaller. NOT WHITE White grits have about as much taste as they do color.

Maryland must be considered part of the north by some people because the grits up here are all white. But they do turn the prettiest shade of yaller when I put my free range hens eggs in them.

And, my Gramma Jewel's tea could probably be substituted for pancake syrup if we ever ran out of the good ol' cane syrup. Can't find that up here either.

And, boiled peanuts. I sure do miss boiled peanuts.

-- Lavender, Central Maryland (lavenderbluedilly@hotmail.com), April 15, 2002.

Grits are yaller. NOT WHITE White grits have about as much taste as they do color.

Well, that's Alabama for you. Grits ain't yaller, they're white! Cornbread is yaller and don't be puttin' no wheat flour in it neither! A little sugar in the cornbread for them folks what likes it is OK, I prefer mine without.


-- Alan (athagan@atlantic.net), April 16, 2002.

Here in Alabama any kind of soda is a Coke. You tell them you want a coke, they say what kind...

-- Jerry (Jerry@aol.com), April 16, 2002.

Cornbread.....another point of contention. Well... years ago when I started buying sweet corn from an older gentleman that grew several acres he told me he always overplanted because he wanted the deer to have some. Later on in the early winter I asked him if I could get a few ears from him. It was dry but I shelled it and put it in the oven overnight on low heat. Next day it went through my grain mill. It makes some really super cornbread. I do add 1/4 cup sugar even though it's not necessary. Note: Sweet corn whole kernel cornbread is "slightly" yellow.

-- Charlie (kneedrop@triwest.net), April 16, 2002.

Has anyone heard this one - "have a fit and fall in it"? This was one of my Grandma's favorites. My other Grandma (who turned 90 in December) will still say to an unruly great grandchild "Now, don't be ugly".

-- Cindy in NY (cjpopeck@worldnet.att.net), April 17, 2002.

As a Connecticut Yankee who moved and lived in south Mississippi for 9 years and now in central Virginia for 14 years, also one year north of Tampa, FL.I have become pretty acustomed to the ways of the south. I can remember when I first went to MS. and one morning at the restaurant orderd sausage eggs and home frys, I was told home frys! never herd of them, we have grits or hash browns. Went to the Winn Dixie and the sign on the door said "yall come back now". My cousin who was at Keesler air base had been there a few years longer and he said to me, come on were gone to Jitney Jungle,I said what, what is a Jitney Jungle. How about this bumber sticker I saw, "we don't care how you did it up north". But the best part of living in South MS. was the laid back slower pace of life and the great food. Red beans and rice, Seafood Gumbo, Corn bread, Fried chicken, boiled shrimp and lots of seafood. Virginia is kind of half way between CT. and MS.

-- Bruce Burdge (comfretbruce@richmond.com), April 17, 2002.

Remember when I was 10 and we had moved back to MS to live with granny Pearl while Daddy was in Korea. We had been in CA for over a year and before that we were in Germany for 2 years. One of the boys in the 5th grade class came up to me and pointed to some crayons sitting on the window sill and said "them don't belong to be there." I looked at him and said "they don't belong to me." He repeated"them don't belong to be there." And I kept denying that they were mine. We were pretty frustrated with each other before I finally figured out what he was saying! Another time a boy asked me why we moved so much and I replied that it was interesting seeing other places. I asked him if he didn't want to see different things too and he told me "every place else is just like here." I was dumbfounded and just stared at him. He was wrong then, but now?

-- kim in CO (kimk61252@hotmail.com), April 20, 2002.

For y'all that ain't rightly knowing what southernese is, here's a little primer:

"Bless Your Heart"

Someone once noted that a Southerner can get away with the most awful kind of insult just as long as it's prefaced with the words, " Bless her heart" or "Bless his heart." As in, 'Bless his heart, if they put his brain on the head of a pin, it'd roll around like a BB on a six lane highway." Or, "Bless her heart, she's so buck-toothed, she could eat an apple through a picket fence."

There are also the sneakier ones: "You know, it's amazing that even though she had that baby 7 months after they were married, Bless her heart, it weighed 10 pounds."

As long as the heart is sufficiently blessed, the insult can't be all that bad. I was thinking about this the other day when a friend was telling me about her new Northern friend who was upset because her toddler is just beginning to talk and he has a Southern accent. My friend, who is very kind, and, Bless her heart, cannot do a thing about those thighs of hers, was justifiably miffed about this. After all, this woman had CHOSEN to move to the South a couple of years ago. "Can you believe it?" said her friend." A child of mine is going to be taaaallllkkin liiiike thiiiissss."

Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my dearest friends are from the North, bless their hearts. I welcome their perspective, their friendships and their recipes for authentic Northern Italian food. I've even gotten past their endless complaints that you can't find good bread down here. And the heathens, Bless their hearts, don't like cornbread!

The ones that really 'gore my ox' are the native Southerners who have begun to act almost embarrassed about their speech. We've already lost too much. I was raised to 'swanee', not swear, but you hardly ever hear anyone say that anymore, I 'swanee' you don't. And I've caught myself thinking twice before saying something is "right much", "right close", or "right good", because non-natives think this is 'right funny' indeed. I have a friend from "Bawston" who thinks it's hilarious when I say I've got to "carry" my daughter to the doctor or "cut off" the light. She also gets a giggle every time I am "fixing" to do something. And, Bless their heart, they don't know where "over yonder" is, or what, "I reckon" means. And ven "I'll hep you."

My personal favorite was my aunt saying, "Bless her heart, she can't hep being ugly, but she could've stayed home." To those of you who're still a little embarrassed by your Southerness: take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning.

Bless your heart!

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff, Bless your hearts; I hear they are fixin' to have classes on Southernese as a second language!

-- Cindy (sidepasser@hotmail.com), April 21, 2002.

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