We don’t do ‘hurry-up’ very well

Published 8:13 am Tuesday, August 12, 2014

With 35 years in this business, all spent at North Carolina-based newspapers, I consider myself an authority on Southern living.

Over the years, I’ve penned columns dealing with life in the south – “purtnear” dealing with everything between barbecue and the three R’s (rasslin, racing and rednecks).

Knowing the rules of living in the South is either bred in an individual lucky to be born below the Mason-Dixon Line or learned by those who relocate here. It’s my duty as a born-and-bred Southerner to remind our guests from other parts of the world about the rules of the South.

1. That farm boy you see at the gas station did more work before breakfast than you do all week at the gym.

2. It’s called a “gravel road.” No matter how slow you drive, you’re going to get dust on your Navigator. Either drive the road or get out of the way.

3. The red dirt … it’s called clay.  Red clay.  If you like the color then don’t wash your car for a couple weeks – it’ll be permanent.

4. We all started hunting and fishing when we were seven years old. Yeah, we saw Bambi. We got over it.

5. Go ahead and bring your $600 Orvis Fly Rod. Don’t cry to us if a flathead breaks it off at the handle.  Note: We have a name for those little 13-inch trout you fish for … bait.

6. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

7. If your cell phone rings while a bunch of mallards are making their final approach, we will shoot it. You might want to ensure it’s not up to your ear at the time.

8. There’s no “Vegetarian Special” down at the local diner.  Order steak. Order it medium rare. Or, you can order the Chef Salad and pick off the two pounds of ham and turkey.

9. Tea … yeah, we have tea.  It comes in a glass over ice and is sweet. You want it hot…sit it in the sun.  You want it unsweetened … add a lot of water.

10. If you bring Coke into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice.

11. So you have a $60,000 car. We’re real impressed. We have a quarter of a million-dollar combine that we only use two weeks a year.

12. Let’s get this straight. We have one stoplight in town. We stop when it’s red. We may even stop when it’s yellow.

13. We eat dinner together with our families. We pray before we eat (yeah, even breakfast).  We go to church on Wednesdays and Sundays and we go to high school football games on Friday nights.  We still address our seniors with “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am” and we sometimes still take Sunday drives around town to see friends and neighbors.

14. We don’t do “hurry up” well.

15. Greens … yeah, we have greens, but you don’t putt on them. You boil them with salty fatback, bacon or a ham hock.

16. Yeah, we eat catfish, bass, bream (pronounced brim) and carp. You really want sushi and caviar? It’s available at the bait shop.

17. They are pigs and, yes, that’s what they smell like. Get over it.

18. Grits are corn. You put butter, salt, and maybe even some pepper on them. If you want to put milk and sugar on them, then you want Cream of Wheat … go to Kansas; that would be I-40 west.

19. The “Opener” refers to the first day of deer season or dove season.  Both are holidays. You can get pancakes, cane syrup and sausage before daylight at the church on either day.

20. So what if every person in every pick-me-up truck you meet on the road waves at you? It’s called being friendly. Understand the concept? If not, keep on driving ‘til you leave the South!

21. Yeah, we have golf courses. Don’t hit in the water hazards. It spooks the fish and bothers the gators … and if you hit it in the rough, we have these things called copperheads, cottonmouths and diamondbacks and none of ‘em are baseball players.

22. That Highway Patrol Officer that just pulled you over for driving like an idiot … his name is “Sir,” no matter how young he is.

23. We have lots of pine trees. They have sap. It drips from them. You park your Navigator under them and they’ll leave a logo on your hood.

24. You burn an American flag in our state, you get beat up. No questions.

25. We don’t have an accent, you do!

26. We have a lot more guns than we do television sets and we LOVE TV!

27. There are three major spectator sports in the South: Football, NASCAR and stormy weather.

28. In the South we pull the car over when a funeral procession goes by. It’s called showing respect. And even if you complain about it, we will still pull our cars over for your funeral, which may be sooner than you think.

29. Those briars you are complaining about scratching your $500 Gucci shoes aren’t weeds, they are blackberry bushes. They serve TWO functions, they produce blackberries for blackberry jam and they test how tough your clothing is – we like them!

30. If you don’t like any of this, please be reminded that we have a great highway system here in North Carolina. I-95 runs north and I-40 runs west. Take your pick!

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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