August marks the 10th year that this ex-Yankee moved to the deep south. I am still not clear on a lot of things that just are here. Some of what is I like, some of what is, I just don’t like. In the south since change for good or for bad is a four-letter word he I accept things as they are.
Speaking of four-letter words I have a thing for nonsense words that mean nothing, words like uff dah which I borrowed from the fine folks in Minnesota years ago. I use these words when I am doing some heavy work or frustrated or jubilant (whatever that means). Soon after I arrived in my world I heard two words much like the Yankee words I just shared. I assumed these words were nonsense so happily spread them around liberally (nothing political here it means spread like fertilizer so calm down you political readers). I did this for about ten years until I found out that these words actually have a meaning………………………………….. and not a good one at that. It has the same meaning that two curse words mean. These curse words meaning have a G and D in the beginning of them. In true southern tradition, the words that I learned reversed the initials and is used to mean the same thing. Now I am not someone who curses except in self-defense so after finding that my 2 favorite southern words mean something I won’t say I began my quest for another expression to use………………..sigh. Sadly so far I have not found replacements for them but I am looking really hard for them right now.
When driving down a country road in central and southern Georgia it is not uncommon to come upon a sign that reads “Quiet Death in the family.” This is a state road sign not one that someone made up in their woodshed. It is impossible to not feel warm thoughts about the good people of Georgia when seeing the sign though one wonders how to make your car quieter. I always turn my radio off but since my windows are up and my air conditioning is going full blast I doubt that it makes much difference, but I digress. The feeling of warmth stays with you until you pass a golf course that is a “Whites Only” private golf course and your warm thoughts become cold. The only good thing is that the course is not well taken care of and the greens are rough (whatever that means).
A few years ago I visited one of my favorite cities in the USA, Spokane. For readers who haven’t been there, it is a very beautiful city. I stepped into a members only store and did what I usually do when shopping in Central Georgia I visit with people………well I tried to visit with people there. My greetings and comments were met with stares that people would use if I had just fallen from the sky or coached the Buffalo Bills and promised to win the super bowl. Man did I ever miss my world. This year I spent Independence Day weekend at 2 Florida cities (St. Augustine and Jacksonville). While in stores and walking sidewalks I did what I usually do in my world I greeted folks giving them “hey y’all” (an all purpose southern greeting) and commenting on the beautiful weather and such. I had the same Yankee reaction I received in Spokane and realized that Yankees far outnumber southerners in Florida…………..sigh after a day down there I wished that I was 4 hours north in my world where my greetings and comments would be met with smiles, hey y’alls and return comments by most everyone here except of course the visiting Yankees from up north.
In my town businesses downtown close at noon every Wednesday. For some reason, it’s to remember the day of the week when slaves were sold at the train depot which is still in good repair. I asked someone why this horrible historical occurrence was still remembered, I was told by black and white folks,”We do this because it is our history”…………this is a history that I would just as soon not remember. Change occurs very slowly down here.
In my world there are plenty of warts, it ain’t the prettiest place in the world, the heat and humidity lasts half a year and gnats attack unmercifully through the seasons of Summer and HOT. This is a place where we have our share of white trash, red necks, and racism on both sides but there are good people everywhere, true southern ladies and gentlemen that far outnumber the other types of people. The people I live and work with are the very best people anywhere. Welcome to my world.