If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you should never generalize about any group of people, even Southerners. So take whatever you read here with a grain of salt, which you’re going to do anyway if you’re a Southerner.
Let’s call these, “Observations from Someone Who Has Lived in the South All of His Life with the Exception of One Year in Boston and Four Months in Washington, D.C.”
“I’ve never met a fisherman who wasn’t kind, black or white. And those relationships never get talked about.”
Actually, I didn’t say that. The quotation was attributed to C. Eric Lincoln, an Alabama native and retired professor of religion and culture at Duke University. He’s right, you know. A person who spends time on a stream or lake with nothing on his mind but the next bite is naturally a kinder person, especially if he’s a Southerner. Does anyone disagree?
Southerners are not necessarily friendlier than other people; they’re just not in as big a hurry to get to the point.
I defected to public relations for a year and eight months, and I had two clients in Indianapolis, an area I telephoned rather often. Every time I called, whoever answered said immediately, “Yes, what can I do for you?” I wanted to ask how the weather was, if the corn was drying up, how Mama an’ ’em were doing, but the Midwesterner wanted me to get to the point. I did.
When a Southerner says, “Y’all come to see us,” it may be just an expression.
He or she doesn’t necessarily want you to drop over that evening. But if the Southerner says, “Why don’t y’all come over tonight about 8 o’clock?” he’s being specific. That means y’all really should come over.
On a per capita basis, the South doesn’t have any more strange or eccentric people than the rest of the nation.
The reason you might notice them more in the South is because we don’t try to hide them. In the South, folks in a small town know Uncle Harold is kind of funny, and they accept him the way he is. They’re peculiar, but they’re our’n.
Southerners, men and women, are better cooks.
That’s because they know what needs to be cooked and what doesn’t. You cook green beans until they’re done (which means they’re not crunchy), but, as a rule, you don’t cook tomatoes. And you don’t put sugar in cornbread.
“Any good Southerner ought to be able to talk or pray for five minutes without preparation.”
I didn’t say that, either. That came from Dan Carter, a professor in the humanities. Mr. Carter stretched it a bit; a five-minute prayer spoken in public might be too long. But a five-minute conversation is not too much for a Southerner, especially my wife, even in the grocery store, unless she’s in the Express Lane.
You can’t pull the wool over a Southerner’s eyes in anything except professional wrestling.
I did say that.