Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Missing Some Things about the South

I lived in the Deep South for four years. There are some things I miss, but others not so much, in Wisconsin-speak.

Chiefly, I miss the food and drink. Even the best barbecue in Madison is not nearly as good as third-tier barbecue in the South. I miss Community Coffee with chicory. (Yes, I could buy it online.) I miss going to the grocery store, using a buggy instead of a cart, and choosing among two or more brands of sweet tea. I miss the guitreau at Mike Anderson’s with an appetizer of gator bits. I miss fresh hush puppies. I miss Milo’s and real Popeye’s chicken with fresh red beans and rice as a side.

I miss “y’all” instead of “you guys.” Collective is “all y’all.” I miss Baptist pastors who make invitations. I have yet to see an “altar call” in the North. I miss being called “Tiger” because I am wearing purple and gold in Louisiana. I miss Tiger Stadium, which is easily three times louder than Camp Randall.

There are a few things I do not miss. When I first moved to the South, I thought “Sir/Madam” was a sign of respect. Now I know it is rote superficial politeness. In the North, it is replaced by real politeness that seems rude by Southerners. I do not miss how far right Republicans were in the South, where symbolic religious issues often take the place of solving real problems. I was considered a liberal because I was insufficiently extreme. I do not miss voting on long tables with no privacy.

I do not miss people who tailgate at 90 mph on the interstate, then dart suddenly right and down an exit. I do not miss cars and people festooned with Alabama, Auburn, NASCAR Numbers and Christian Fish.

More than anything, I do not miss the weather in the South. It was usually too hot for my Northern blood. In the South, a hot day might be 100 and children and the elderly are warned not to go outside because the air quality is poor. In the North, a hot day might be in the high 80s but a cold day might be -40. I prefer four seasons to the green and brown seasons.

No comments: