A heart planted in Dixie
By Joe Black | (email@example.com)
I was born in the South, have lived here most of my life (so far) and own a pickup truck, but I may have to turn in my “Southern” card.
I don’t live and die by the SEC, I don’t hunt or fish, did not particularly enjoy my one NASCAR experience, and have just never been that comfortable in a baseball cap (although I have been known to wear one from time to time).
I do like sweet tea but I seem to have lost most of my solidly southern accent. I guess that’s because of too many conversations with people that aren’t from around here. Yeah, I know ... I need to do something about that.
I don’t own any camo but I think I can find a duck call somewhere. I’m pretty sure I can still use it but I haven’t tried in a really long time. I own a canoe but that doesn’t really give me many Southern points because it doesn’t have a motor.
There isn’t much fried food around my house which should definitely cost me Southern points but the health reasons for avoiding anything fried are at the top of my priority list. Oh, but there is that little catfish place near my house that everyone knows I have a regular hankering for (and they opened Friday, by the way).
So what makes someone Southern? I think it is less about where you were born but more about where your heart is. (Although Florida snow-birds are not really southern at all — they just learned how miserable northern winters can be.)
And about that. I want snow that is more of an occasional nuisance, not a way of life. My biking buddy T just moved to Massachusetts where the bike season runs roughly from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For sure not for me.
I do like to travel and do often find myself north of the Mason-Dixon Line. I can find my way around New York on the subway and can tell you where to find a good restaurant in dozens of cities. But the emphasis is on “visiting” those places. I never really wanted to live there.
I did spend a couple of years in West Virginia but I usually refer to that as my sabbatical, if non-ministers can have those sorts of things.
I don’t fly the flag of the Confederacy but that is because it offends some and I was always taught that I don’t have the right to be offensive (check with King James on that one). Besides that, my southern ancestors were the poor folks, not the ones waging war.
I love a slower pace, four seasons, the sound of tree frogs, warm waters, and accents where the vowels are all drawn out and single syllable words can become multiples.
I love good manners and places where it is bad form not to say yes m’am or no sir and where it is totally unacceptable not to respect your elders.
I always want to live in a place where you can find barbed wire and barns, where there’s more than one hay season, and where you know from mama’s bawl when her calf is being weaned. I do love to listen to the northern loons but I’ll be just fine with the call of the quail and the haunting message of the whippoorwill.
Born here. Bred here. Gonna spend the rest of my life living here. Maybe more cosmopolitan or “metro” than my upbringing might have been expected to produce but my heart is firmly planted in Dixie.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)