Yankee’s guide for living in NC

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 11, 2003

During lunch break last week, I was enjoying a good old traditional Southern meal – pork chops, mashed ‘taters and gravy, snaps (not string beans) and apple cobbler, complete with a large cup of sweet ice tea (the official house wine of the South) – while reading the N&O.

Plastered at the bottom of the front page was a story dealing with the high volume of Northerners, especially New Yorkers, making their way to our great state and setting up housekeeping. Instead of making a mad dash home and grabbing my trusty shotgun – fully expecting another

&uot;War of Northern Aggression&uot; – I read on.

Seems that Northerners like our peace and quiet (it’s quite clear they haven’t been to a State-‘Carolina game as of yet) and our pleasant climate. They’re coming here in droves. According to the N&O story, approximately 338,000 more people moved to North Carolina between 1995-2000 than left our state. About one-third of those transplants came from the state of New York.

Since this is a free country, I guess we can’t shoo them away. So, with that in mind, I guess the only option remaining is for us native North Carolinians to show our true Southern charm, extend a hand and say, &uot;Howdy.&uot; To go even further, we ought to suggest to our new state citizens a few simple rules about living here in the Tar Heel State (actually, as a NC State fan, I despise that moniker; I think it should be changed to the Wolfpack State).

The first thing we need to teach our new neighbors from the North is that barbecue is a noun and not a verb. In North Carolina, we do not fire-up the grill and barbecue steaks, chops or burgers. We call it cooking-out or grilling. Barbecue is pork, grilled to perfection, finely minced and seasoned with a vinegar-based sauce (tomato paste based if our Yankee transplants have moved to the western part of NC). In a majority of cases, we’ll consume this pork (actually an entire pig) right off the grill. This is called a pig pickin’. Normally, at such a function, there’s an ice-cold keg of beer nearby and Lynyrd Skynyrd blaring off the CD player.

Our new Yankee friends also need to understand our lingo. For example: &uot;Yeetyet? Naw, u? Naw, uonto? Yep.&uot; Translation: &uot;Have you eaten? No, have you? No, but would you like to join me in the dining experience? Yes, that will be lovely.&uot;

Speaking of dining, we here in the South normally eat lunch around high noon. Supper is served between 6-7 p.m. Neither is referred to as dinner.

Here are some other key things our new Yankee friends need to know when it comes to living here in North Carolina.

N We stand when a lady leaves the dining table and again when she returns. We also stand when we hear our National Anthem and &uot;Free Bird.&uot;

N When meeting a funeral possession on the highway, we show respect for the family by stopping our vehicles on the shoulder of the road.

N In New York, a parent reading a fairy tale to a child will begin by saying, &uot;Once upon a time.&uot; Here, we start by saying, &uot;Junior, you ain’t gonna believe this!&uot;

N Here in North Carolina, tobacco is a vegetable.

N North Carolina is the heart of ACC Country. That is the old ACC, not this new water-downed version.

N Northern transplants need to become accustomed to how true North Carolinians answer a Federal Census. A few examples of those questions are: (1) Do you own or rent your mobile home. (2) Please list the total number of vehicles in your yard, including the number that actually crank, those in the front yard, in the back yard and the ones up on cement blocks. (3) Do you have a gun rack in either your pick-up truck or in your home (note: if you answer, no, please be ready to explain why). (4) List the number of times you have seen a UFO. List the number of times you have seen Elvis. List the number of times you have seen Elvis aboard a UFO.


Possums in our state sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air.

N If it grows, it sticks; if it crawls, it bites.

N A tractor is NOT an all-terrain vehicle. They do get stuck.

N Onced and Twiced are words.

N It is not a shopping cart, it’s a buggy.

N Directions do not include road names or numbers. Rather, it’s &uot;turn left by the dead oak tree and begin looking for the blue-and-white trailer with a red Chevy Malibu up on blocks in the front yard.&uot;

N People in North Carolina actually grow and eat okra.

N &uot;Fixinto&uot; is one word. &uot;I’m fixinto make a beer run to the Stop-and-Go. Y’all need some pork rinds or anything?&uot;

N ‘Cue is not a pool stick. Rather, it’s a nickname for pork barbecue.

N Sweet tea is appropriate for all meals and we begin drinking it just as soon as our mothers wean us off milk. Note: Do not order water at a barbecue restaurant.

N &uot;Backards and forwards&uot; means, &uot;I know everything about you.&uot;

N You don’t have to wear a watch because it doesn’t matter what time it is. You work until you’re done or it’s too dark to see.

You know you are a true North Carolinian if any of the below applies:

1. You measure distance in minutes.

2. You’ve ever had to switch from heat to air conditioning, or vice-versa,

in the same day.

3. You know what a &uot;Tarheel&uot; is.

4. All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.

5. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

6. You carry jumper cables in your car… for your OWN car.

7. You only own four spices: salt, pepper, Texas Pete and catsup.

8. You think that the first day deer season is a national holiday.

9. You find 100 degrees Fahrenheit &uot;a little warm.&uot;

10. You know the four seasons: almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas.

11. Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past time known as &uot;Goin’ wal-martin&uot; or &uot;Off to Wally World.&uot;

12. Fried catfish is the other white meat.

Learn these rules and you’ll get along with us pure-bred North Carolinians just fine and dandy. If you are unable to do so, here’s some free advice: North Carolina has a nice interstate highway system. Both I-95 and I-85 run north and south while I-40 slices east and west through our state. If you have a problem living here, please don’t complain. Rather, pack your bags and choose your highway.