4. Language in the South is so lyrical - poetic even- and they have a way of making things sound so much better than they really are. Like "palmetto bugs" -- doesn't sound so bad, right? It kind of reminds you of softly swaying palm trees, so that you don't mind the "bug" part that comes next. But guess what -- palmetto bugs are ROACHES, people! Ginormous roaches, with WINGS, that must be lassoed before you can vanquish them.
5. In a similar vein, Rob encountered new terminology for certain medical conditions. "The Blood" = High Blood Pressure, and "The Sugar" = Diabetes. I kind of like these names better, makes it sound less clinical.
6. You may have heard this before, but in the South, they. love. football. I'm not saying this is necessarily a Southern phenomenon, but I haven't experienced the same level of devotion up North (ok, there are a few people leaping to mind as I type this . . . ) While I might be a true fan of a particular team (We Are . . . Penn State!), it might not occur to me to trick out my minivan in team colors. We noticed the ferocity of football devotion more in Florida than in North Carolina, so to preserve myself from being accused of favoritism if I ever make it back to Florida for a visit, I'm covering all my bases: Go Gators! Go 'Noles! Roll Tide! (for all you U of A folks living in the panhandle)
7. Growing up, we always went "down the shore" in the summer -- which for us was Sea Isle City, NJ. I have beautiful, glowing memories of that town and that beach, and I spent many happy hours in the Atlantic surf. Then I moved to the Gulf Coast and I was spoiled forever. You stand on the white sugar sand and look out over the Gulf of Mexico and you are mesmerized by the striations of blue and green stretching out as far as you can see. From there, we moved to the North Carolina coast, and enjoyed those lovely beaches as well. There are advantages to being in the Navy, after all . . .
8. Of course, the flip side to living on any coast in the southern US is the threat of hurricanes. I've found that it's pretty difficult to explain a hurricane. It's not enough to say "it's the hardest rain you've ever seen" because it's so much more than rain. There is the beautiful, breezy calm day that comes 24 hours prior to the storm, making you think that nothing is churning out there in the Gulf; there is the rain, the driving, thrumming horizontal rain that lessens and intensifies as the successive bands of the storm come through; there is the wind, the crazy wind that takes a 15 foot pine tree and bends it so that the top is sweeping the ground, or shears the metal canopy of a gas station right off of its foundation; there is the noise, the rushing and howling of the wind and the eerie, screaming whine the power lines make under the strain; there is the silence that comes when the eye passes; and then there is the noise that begins all over again, only from the opposite direction, like a record in reverse. Add to this the constant threat of flooding and/or tornadoes and you've got one nerve-wracking situation, especially if you decided not to evacuate and you are laying in bed with your baby between you and your husband, just listening and waiting.
(Numbers 9-11 are all about food. If you've ever read my blog, you had to know it would come to this . . .)
9. BARBEQUE!!! Rob and I have eaten A LOT of barbeque, and I'm telling you, no one does it better than the South. (Believe me, we have looked!) We've been lucky enough to have eaten at some fantastic barbeque places in Texas (The "Big Daddy" platter ring any bells, Rob?), Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and sometimes, when the craving is hitting us hard, we think about a summer vacation to tour the great rib joints of our past. If you are ever near Kinston, NC, you should check out Kings BBQ, Home of the Pig in a Puppy. What? Never heard of a "Pig in a Puppy?" Suffice it to say that it involves hush puppies, which may be one of the world's most perfect foods . . .
10. If I'm really feeling like some greezy, fast food, then I'm probably in the mood for Bojangles. They have a sausage biscuit that I wanted more than anything when I was pregnant with The Boy, and I just found out they have a franchise about an hour away. Sounds like a road trip to me.
11. If you want a chicken fried steak as big as your head, or a steaming hot roll thrown at you from across the dining room, then I've got the place for you. The staff at Lambert's Cafe tosses hot rolls from a cart as they walk through the dining room -- it's up to you to catch them. Or duck. But it's a ton of fun, especially for kids. A word of advice: go hungry, as in a 36 hour fast kind of hungry, because the portions are HUGE.
12. In Pensacola, people decorate their homes as much for Mardi Gras as they do for Christmas. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Rick and Joanne.) And they have King Cakes and moon pies for Mardi Gras, so anything that includes multiple cake products ranks pretty high with me.
13. A state with no vehicle inspection laws makes for some pretty interesting cars on the road. One of my favorites was the car with the hood that was held on by a man's belt. You got to give it to the person who can rig that up well enough to actually stay on while cruising down the I-10.
**You know, it just occurred to me that, to some, this might seem like a rant. But no, no! We have so many sweet memories of living below the Mason-Dixon line, a land of kind and loving people who we are blessed to call friends. I've just always thought it was funny how you can stay in one country, but be in a totally different world.
9. jenny ryan
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