How to know it’s cold in Dixie

Published 10:49 pm Monday, October 20, 2008

Did you feel it?

On the heels of record-setting high temperatures last week, Mother Nature finally decided that the calendar was indeed correct and ordered the thermometer to take a nose dive.

Even by late October standards, this past weekend was downright cold. Over inside the Bryant household, the president and Chief Operations Officer – that would be the wife, Deborah – ordered the heat to be turned on Saturday night. Armed with that order, I slowly rose from the cozy confines of my recliner, forced my eyes off the Virginia Tech at Boston College football game, and flipped the switch from AC to heat.

Goodbye summer…hello high electric bills.

But other than declining temperatures and falling leaves, when do we exactly know that summer has officially left the southern states? Based on my intensive research, here’s the answers I found to that question.

We store away our water skies in the garage.

To keep the tushy warm, we install fur-lined seats in the outhouse.

Even though we know it tastes like six-week-old hot water, we order coffee instead of sweet tea at the Waffle House.

A tobacco-chewing Southerner will be sure to spit where it won’t freeze.

Those as rich as possum gravy (meaning they have money) are seen purchasing gas logs instead of cutting fire wood.

All lard and bacon grease is moved inside off the back porch.

Long johns replace shorts and bathing suits on the clothes line.

If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the most minuscule accumulation of snow, our presence is required at the local grocery store. It does not matter if we need anything from the store, it is just something we’re supposed to do.

Knowing that Christmas is right around the corner, Southerners will immediately begin making their way to the Lay-Away Department at the nearest Wal-Mart.

For those Southerners with a lot of money (richer than possum gravy), they know that the arrival of cooler weather means more time spent indoors. For that reason, they will purchase one of them fancy satellite TV dishes. Upon making such a purchase, they will have the dish positioned directly in front of their mobile home. It’s a prestige thing because they know the dish cost more than the trailer.

We are excited because we know the first frost of the season isn’t far away, meaning the collards will taste a lot better.

Deer season is now open.

We make sure our homes are warm so our false teeth won’t freeze while soaking overnight.

We reposition the water bowl in the dog pen so it remains in the sun for longer periods of time.

It’s a relief knowing that tornado and hurricane season is over. That means no one is fixing to lose a trailer.

And, the final way we know it’s cooler down in Dixie, the geese flying south for the winter land in our backyard.

(Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at or by calling 252-332-7207.)