Signs I'm Back in the South

Signs I’m Back in the South

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—Instead of good-bye at—where else?—Nashville’s Pancake Pantry, our waitress bid adieu with a “be blessed,” just dripping with sugary sweet Southern goodness.

—There’s American cheese on my omelet. (Not. Real. Cheese.)

—Everything else on the table is processed and dispensed from a bottle.

—It barely took deboarding the plane to get peppered with every Southerner’s favorite question, “when are you getting married?” followed immediately by “so when are you having kids?” A friend actually said to me last night, “[redacted] is turning 27 at the end of the year and doesn’t even have his first kid on the way! That’s so late to start having kids; he better get started soon.” And he was serious as a heart attack.

—FoxNews is blaring in the background of our home, while my granddad yells, “I can’t find my ears (his hearing aids)!”

—The “supper” options in this town are limited to Ruby Tuesday’s, Applebee’s and Red Lobster. I wish I were kidding.

—Kids not related to us just walk in the door whenever they please. (They’re unbearably cute; they can get away with it.)

—I was just asked how close I live to “San Josie” (not Jose).

—I’ve ditched my shoes in favor of barefeet, and don’t lock the doors so aforementioned kids can pop by when they like.

—No one calls others by their real names; rather it’s “shug” (“sugar”), “toots” (“tootsie”) or “hun.”

—I might just spend all day tomorrow, my only full day home, lounging by the pool, sweet tea in hand.

—“Fixin’ to” has re-entered my lexicon.

—The highways are littered with billboard “notes from Jesus” and other church-y paraphernalia trying to guilt you into where you spend your Sunday morning. (I should add, I am  in no way opposed to church or religion; I just don’t think it should be so strictly forced upon anyone in such a tasteless manner.)

—A sales associate at a boutique asked “why on Earth” did I move to San Francisco, because, well, the thought of moving outside of Tennessee—now, ever—is simply unfathomable for many Tennesseans. They’re a bit like Texans, only less obnoxious on the paraphernalia front (Texas, I love you, but the flag on everything—lawn chairs, belts, tattoos—gets a bit much at times).

I’m heading from Tennessee to my cousin’s med school graduation in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday, so I’m sure there will be even more redneckness to come, the further South I venture…

(See more on back where I come from here.)

COMMENTS
  • May 6, 2009

    ahh I wish I was there with ya! I fell IN LOVE with Tennessee when I visited! I hope to go back sooon!

  • May 6, 2009

    God, you’re right about that damn Texas flag. I have a hard time believing the Vermont flag shows up on purses like ours does. I’m not even kidding about that a little bit.

  • May 6, 2009

    Don’t forget the word: you’ins.
    And please bring home the Tony Chachere’s – I miss that red salty goodness on my grilled corn on the cob!
    Happy Travels.
    -H.

  • May 6, 2009
    Carrie

    I love the South for certain reasons. I love how slow everyone moves and everyone cares each other. Texas is amazing, Austin might just be the best place to live.

    Love your blog!

  • May 6, 2009

    Ok seriously, I want to visit Tennessee… Never been and I like anyone calling me “sugar” haha. Have fun with the fam!

  • May 6, 2009

    Aw, hell. You just messed with Texas, and, according to 19.4% of their gas station paraphernalia, you can’t do that. It doesn’t say the consequence, but leaves that up for the imagination. “Don’t mess with Texas” or… I’m slashing your tires and breaking this sweet shot glass over your head.

    I hope to show you some of the more redneck areas of Mobile, but your stay here will be short. But I can point out where a young man sat on a running plow for perceived enjoyment, the courthouse where the Spanking Judge presided, and the infamous Leprechaun tree in Prichard.

  • May 7, 2009

    Ah, home sweet home. My childhood was mostly spent in Cincinnati. While its right on the Mason-Dixon line and technically not the South, really, who is Cincinnati trying to kid? Its got a little southern vibe going one. It should own it. For me, the sign I’m home is when people say “Please?” when they mean “I didn’t hear you, can you repeat that?”

  • May 7, 2009

    Being from Birmingham, AL, and currently living in Atlanta, I have to admit that when Reese Witherspoon’s character in Sweet Home Alabama said that people need a passport to come down South, she didn’t lie.

    I do love my Southern heritage though and appreciate the South even more the older I get it and the farther I travel from it. 🙂

  • May 7, 2009

    I live in Alabama now but I lived in Chicago for a few years. I will ALWAYS be a southern girl. You can take the girl out of the south but you can’t take the south out of the girl!!!

  • May 7, 2009

    I just got back from my first trip down south. We went to Mobile for a wedding last month (and spent some time in New Orleans too. Very cool city!) But, my favorite part of Alabama? A few people called it “Bama” and someone went to the wedding in “gator shoes.” Have fun with your family!

  • May 7, 2009

    I’m a proud TN girl! Still live here (in Chattanooga) but would love to get out someday. When I travel for work to Chicago and New York, I daydream about living in a big city! I would miss TN football, Mayfield milk, and real BBQ though.

  • May 7, 2009

    And the best thing of all about TN is…………….

    COCO!!!!!!!!

    Mayonnaise, Ketchup and Mustard

  • May 7, 2009

    We’re Chicago transplants living in Atlanta; there’s a reason we’re leaving the south. If I see one more billboard trying to save my soul and/or unborn child, or one more bumper sticker telling me that Atlanta belongs to Jesus, I think I’m going to have strip naked and run down the street screaming, “Has anyone seen my wife? She’s late for our abortion!”

  • May 7, 2009

    We put American cheese on everything in the Midwest too! Especially omelets! 🙂

    Have fun with your family!

  • May 7, 2009

    I think Texas pride is simply unexplainable. Yes, it’s ridiculous at times, but it’s just a part of us. And the South? Equally unexplainable. Haha – great blog!

  • May 7, 2009
    Tori

    Hey now…don’t knock the Applebee’s! Remember when it used to just be Shoney’s?! We have come so far…

  • May 7, 2009

    Oh god, the Fox News that was perpetually on while we were visiting Chris’ family in the South. Every so often we would get a blessed reprieve, but THEY ACTUALLY LIKE NANCY GRACE. The horror, the horror.

  • May 7, 2009

    Do you have a Southern drawl? I love me some accents from the South.

  • May 7, 2009
    ali

    oh, this is sooo great.

    i always come back sayin “fixin’ to” and “bless your heart”
    😉

  • May 7, 2009

    My aunt and uncle live in Nashville! I have plenty of relatives from various southern locations and I love the phrase “fixin’ to.” Awesome.

  • May 7, 2009

    You know, I’m a little ashamed to admit this but you just listed all the things I miss about the States. These things you just mentioned – it’s what America is to me. Does that worry you? Or anyone else here? 😉 Granted, Kentucky (where I stayed in the US) is no Alabama but I would dare to suggest that it is not much different from Tennessee – so there you go. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

  • May 7, 2009
    Izzy

    That’s hilarious. Sometimes I feel like I would want to live in the South for a while, just because I’ve romanticized it so much, well certain aspects of it. But then I remember that I could never cope with the political ideals or the xenophobia for long. I’ll stick with the hyper liberal Bay Area, thanks!

  • May 7, 2009

    Get some Chick-Fil-A in my honor…

  • May 7, 2009

    oh honey chil’ bless your hawrt.

  • May 7, 2009

    Fixin to reminds me of To Kill A Mockingbird, aww! Cute entry!

  • May 7, 2009

    I have never been to Tennessee, I’d like to go one day.

    And wow, I am almost 27 and the thought of having a kid makes me almost have a heart attack – I am totally from the north.

  • May 10, 2009
    therunningbob

    My wife continues to threaten me by “…want me tof fix you something to eat?”

    No mention of sweet tea?

    – I “used to” like the south but nor more.

    My god, enough of huge white crosses, 8o feet high! The irony is the number of porn shops along the highway

    Sigh…the south is just a whole world unto itself.

    We’re still searching for the ideal place…we’re thinking Portland is next.

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