Someone asked me recently why I thought the South was such a great place to live. I don’t think it is a great place to live, I know it is. There is a lot of truth in the old saying “American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God” but they wanted to know why there is no other place I would rather live. This is why:
- Atlanta. We built it, Sherman burned it down and we just built it back and put the world’s biggest hotdog stand there. If you need help finding it, it’s right across the road from the North Avenue Trade School.
- Barbecue. My family’s veins run with barbecue sauce in them. It’s not barbecue if it doesn’t come from down here.
- Fried Catfish. Must be served with fries, slaw and hushpuppies. If you think a hushpuppy is a brand of shoe, you probably aren’t from down here. If you aren’t sure what slaw is, we’ll know you aren’t.
- Southern Fried Chicken. A staple of Sunday dinners all over the south since Colonel Sanders was just a Private.
- Sweet Tea. The champagne of the South. Always iced. If you have to put something in it you ordered the wrong kind and if your server lets your glass get below half full, ask for another server.
- Kentucky Colonels. You can’t sling a dead cat without hitting one and there is no higher honor than to be called “Colonel”.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway. Moses had to walk up a mountain to commune with the Almighty. Today we can take a minivan.
- Mississippi. No matter how bad we goof something up, Mississippi will always do us one better-plus they have Natchez and gave us Morgan Freeman who may just be the best actor ever.
- Gone With the Wind and To Kill A Mockingbird. Two of the best books ever written. A copy of each will always be on my bookshelf.
- Peaches. Whether freshly cut with a sprinkle of sugar, churned in an ice cream maker or baked into a cobbler, there is nothing better.
- Churches. We have more flavors than Baskin Robbins and some have nuts in them.
- Spring. If you can get past the pollen, there is no better place to be than the South in Spring.
- Spring thunderstorms. Takes care of number 12 and there is nothing like the smell of a Spring shower.
- Coca-Cola (Coke). Don’t call it a soda or a pop. It’s a Coke. You may order a Coke and get a Pepsi but they mean the same thing down here.
- Emory University. The Harvard of the South. Bonus points for being a Methodist institution and you won’t find a Pepsi machine anywhere on it.
- Rich’s. The Store of the South and no better place to shop than Rich’s. It will never be Macy’s in my mind. The Pink Pig and the Rich’s great tree will always be favorite memories.
- Easter. The South does Easter in style. Ladies still wear big hats and seersucker suits for the men. Easter egg hunts on big lawns of shaded oak trees and grand old homes, followed by freshly squeezed lemonade and homemade cookies.
- Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans. The Old South in a nutshell. Don’t mind the occasional hurricane, that’s part of the charm.
- Trees. The South wouldn’t be the South without them. We feature Oak, Maple, Sweet gum, Birch, Bradford Pear, Dogwood and 350 million Pine trees. Beautiful anytime but lots of trouble in an ice storm.
- Ice storms. The only winter beauty some of the South ever gets and a powerful reminder of why we don’t live in the North.
- Jack Daniel’s and Maker’s Mark. Tennessee and Kentucky’s greatest contribution to Society.
- Athens Georgia. Home of the University of Georgia and of course, the Georgia Bulldogs. Go DAWGS! Sic ’em! Woof Woof Woof!
- Fresh Air Barbecue-Athens, Bogart, Jackson and Macon. Voted best barbecue in Georgia. This is a shameless plug for the family business but screw it, we’ve been here 82 years and I’m writing a book about it. I’m still working on the table of contents.
- Southern cemetaries. Landscaped and kept free of weeds and debris by the hands of old Southern ladies who consider it their sacred duty, plus they keep florists in business and they save the government money by doubling as parks. I can’t imagine what my grandmother is doing in heaven right now without a cemetary to tend.
- Vegetable Gardens. Only in the South can you live in a 2 million dollar mansion in Buckhead and get away with having a vegetable garden in the backyard.
- Chic-fil-A. They didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich. Founded in Atlanta and no, they will never serve a Pepsi so long as founder Truett Cathy draws breath.
- Manners. Southerners always hold the door for the person behind them when entering a building. “Please”, “Ma’am”, “Thank you” and “Sir” are taken for granted here, as well they should be.
- We don’t care as much what is politically correct down here. We still say “Merry Christmas” and scorn “Happy Holidays”. Of course, we ride around in pickup trucks with a Christmas wreath strapped to the grille too.
- Sunday dinners with the whole family are cherished memories made and never forgotten.
- Delta Airlines. Its based right here in Atlanta and if you can’t handle our ways down here, it’s ready when you are.
- Air conditioning. In the South, if it quits working in the summer then Delta is still ready when you are.
- Florida. If you’re going to roast in the summer, there is no better place to do it. Except Gulf Shores Alabama.
- Bermuda Grass. Even I can’t kill it with my lawn mower.
- Kudzu. It covers junked cars and decrepit old “See Rock City” emblazoned barns as good as Sherwin Williams and doesn’t cost anything to do it.
- Fishing. Its like playing golf…you don’t have to be any good at it to enjoy it.
- Golf. The more you drink the better your game gets. Extra points if you drive your golf cart into the lake.
- Red Dirt. You hate how it gets on everything and you talk bad about it to other Southerners but by God nobody else had better say a word about it. Nothing looks better when you’ve been away for a while either.
- In the North, they complain about snow storms and ice. In the South, we declare a holiday, close the schools, buy all the bread, milk and eggs in the store (apparently snow induces uncontrollable cravings for French toast), cook chili all day, load the entire family in the car to go drive around and look at it AND-we give the storm a name like Snowjam 84 or The Blizzard of 93 so that we can then spend decades talking about how Snowmageddan 2011 wasn’t anything as bad as the Blizzard of Whatever was.
- When hearing of the plight of others and you have no clue what to say, “Bless their heart” will work every time.
- When someone dies, everyone brings food to your house to make sure you don’t starve before the funeral. You can always tell the ones that care the most-they bring food in genuine Tupperware with a piece of masking tape stuck to it and the name of the cook written in black magic marker on the tape. Southerners are very particular about who they loan their Tupperware out to, especially the Avacodo colored pieces you can’t get anymore.
- Everywhere else, a Sunday drive means going somewhere on Sunday. In the South, it means getting in the car with no clue where you are going, where you will end up or what time you will get home.
- Only in the South will the Baptists and Methodists compete to see who can get to lunch after church first and may very well be the reason Rock Springs Church built so close to Buckners Restaurant.
- Pine cones are useful for making Christmas decorations, hand grenades for the kids to play soldier and are great for batting practice. It is also rumored that had the South carried pine combs with them to throw at General Sherman, the war might have had a different outcome.
- In the South the weather is a favorite topic of discussion because we never really know what it’s going to do. If you don’t like it, stick around because it will do a complete 180 and go the other way before you can order a hotdog at the Varsity. Speaking of the Varsity, in the time it has taken you to read from number 1 down to here, the Varsity has served about 400 hotdogs.
- No matter what part of the South you are in, everything south of you is “down there” and everything north of you is “up yonder”. Where YOU happen to be in the South is home.
- You can’t go to heaven or to hell without transferring in Atlanta.
- We won’t leave if a Hurricane is coming because we’re afraid we’ll miss something interesting, and;
- The best entertainment on television is seeing which of the local TV News teams can find the stupidest person to interview about the hurricane afterwards.
- Grits. Don’t call them hominy or we’ll know you aren’t from around here.
- A Southerner who gives you his word gives you a piece of his personal honor and the word of a Southerner is never to be taken lightly.
Well, this house looks familiar. 🙂
Regena Barber said:
Mike…this is my favorite blog to date. I printed it out to give to some of my “yankee” friends in hopes that after reading it, they might understand “us” better LOL!! Keep up the great work. Regena
The Literate Pen said:
Thank you! Just telling it like it is!
Van Whalerf said:
Michael; Even though I was born a yankee, I have lived here for almost 29 years for most of the reasons you pointed out. You have too much talent in writing to be at the county. I hope you keep up the excellent job writing and we remain friends. I miss our talks! van
J. M. Brewer said:
Thank you Dr. Van! Your friendship and mentoring over many years has meant a great deal to me. I appreciate that you enjoy my writing and thank you for encouraging me to keep at it. I hope one day to follow your example by writing a book but if not I will keep at it one essay at a time. Thanks again for coming along on the journey.
Gayle Blake said:
Love this one! Only bump in the road is the spelling of cemetery. Always 3 “e’s”. Sorry….retired Lit teacher.
J. M. Brewer said:
Thank you! I will certainly correct it as soon as I can!
!00% agree with ALL EXCEPT number 22 THWG, GO JACKETS
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