Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.-
When A Good Yankee Goes South.
“Song, Song of the south
Sweet potato pie, and I shut my mouth
Gone, gone with the wind
There aint nobody looking back again” – Alabama
I pulled up to a red light the other day and surveyed the scene in the car next to me. A puff of blue hair poked up over the dashboard, attached to a hunched elderly woman just barely tall enough to reach the pedals. In the passenger seat next to her, suddenly illuminated by a beam of Heavenly light as the clouds broke open and a choir of a thousand angels burst into Hallelujah chorus, was quite possibly the most majestic silver mullet that I’ve ever had the pleasure of beholding. The bearer of this marvelously commanding coif slowly turned in my direction and we locked eyes for a moment. He gave me a small, knowing nod and flashed me an equally glorious 2 toothed grin.
I was awestruck and unable to move for a moment until the sound of the horn behind me broke my trance. The light had turned green, and I was about to lose sight of this amazing creature forever. I was deeply saddened and gave a little wave goodbye as I watched Mulletman and his lady love putter off into the sunset in a ‘Grease’ finale sort of fashion.
“Where had such a stunning creature come from?” I thought to myself. It took no longer than a moment to snap back to reality and realize that such a wonder should not come as all that grand a shock to me anymore. I was, after all, in the Deep South now.
I was born and raised a purebred Yankee on the distant shores of a land where the locals refer to soda as “pop”, and the tea only comes in one variety; unsweetened…with lemon. There, the grass is lush, full, and real. In this distant land, Hill folk only exist in fairy tales and Baptists are as mythical as Leprechauns and Unicorns.
Then, one fateful day I found love in the arms of a handsome stranger and before I could even say “I do”, I was whisked away to a new and unusual place called “The South”, where the world and the people in it seem to move and talk slower and smoother than a spoonful of chilled molasses. If you cut them, they will surely bleed red beans and rice, grits, and barbeque. They’ll ask what land I hail from, and the only way to properly communicate the place of my origin is to hold up my flattened right hand with thumb extended and point to a spot somewhere in the vicinity of my lifeline.
As I settled in and became adjusted to my new surroundings, I never even noticed that I’d been afflicted with a reddening neck as the south seeped into my veins and threatened to take over my body. Then one day, I caught myself turning to my ill-behaving children and proclaiming, “I’m fixin’ to whoop up on ya’ll.” That’s when I realized that I had officially become one of them, like infected prey eventually becomes a zombie after being bitten.
“You’d best be gettin’ used to the ideer of bein’ a Southerner now ‘cuz there aint no cure” I thought to myself. I had become well versed in their language, using phrases like “I’m gonna set fer a spell”, and “Would ya just lookit the size of that varmint”, which is usually directed at the possum or raccoon helping himself to a trash can buffet. I’ll frequently find myself looking up at the mid-day sun while wiping the sweat from my brow and blurting out, “Hoo-wee. It sure is a hot one, aint it?” I’ve also become quite adept at fighting off the giant, man eating cockroaches that still manage to find a way into my humble abode, and threaten to “carry off them youngins” in the middle of the night.
The years will continue to drag on and the days will pass, and sometimes in the still of the night I’ll find myself lying awake and feel the battle raging inside of me as I struggle to hold on to the Yankee heritage that is slowly slipping away. I’ll always have fond memories of snow forts and 10 cent refunds on “pop” cans, though, and that’s something that the South can’t take away.