How to know it’s cold in Dixie

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

‘Tis the season down South.

As the calendar changes to November, the leaves begin to make their annual transformation into vibrant colors, and college football is drawing closer to deciding the respective champions of their conferences, all that means only one thing.

Thanksgiving….you might answer.

Nope, the time of year has arrived when we flip the thermostats in our homes from air conditioning to the heat mode.

Typically here in the South we enjoy several different seasons….Spring, Summer, Still Summer, Almost Fall, Still Summer….and then, bam, Winter.

For us, October and November (and often into December), the daily temperature reminds us of riding on a roller-coaster….unseasonably warm one day and bone-chilling cold the next. It appears that “ride” continues this week….an expected high of 80 degrees on Tuesday and highs in the 50’s this coming weekend. Overnight lows this weekend and into early next week will be in the 30’s.

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 firewood.

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 major 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 the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at 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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