1. Not all Southerners have Southern accents
Olive oooohl (said in Paula Deen’s accent)
This one shouldn’t have surprised me. I’m from New York City and I do NOT sound like I’m from NYC. Well, except when I say corn or horn. That -aw sound is hard to resist sometimes.
When we moved to Georgia two years ago, I expected everyone to sound like Paula Deen. Not so. While there have been a small few that I’d consider having a Southern accent, most people don’t sound like they have one. At least not to me. Maybe I’m immune to hearing subtle differences in accents? I know more West Virginians sound Southern to me than Georgians.
2. Forget Texas. Everything’s bigger in the South
Houses. Cars. Bugs. Portions. You name it, it’s bigger in the South. McMansions cost less to buy than a small rowhome in Baltimore. Now that’s what’s up.
3. My disdain for the “Rebel” flag.
I guess I should explain what I mean by the “rebel” flag. The rebel flag is the stereotypical flag used in movies and on paraphernalia associated with the Confederacy. It has a red background, with a navy blue “cross” and 13 white stars on it. Most people don’t even know that what they consider to be the rebel flag, the flag of the Confederacy, is wrong. It was used on the battlefield, but I digress.
No, the “Confederate” flag really isn’t everywhere like in the movies, however, I do see it more than I’d care to. For example, some homes display the rebel flag instead of the American flag. Others have it on their license plates or screen-printed on their windshields (by far, the tackiest of all).
This is a sensitive subject for me. Native Southerners consider this flag as Southern heritage, akin to the firing cannons to defend the South from the “Northern Aggression.” I see it as a reminder of dark ages. To me, it’s synonymous with racism, slavery, hate, and ignorance. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Northerner. Perhaps it’s because I have a thing about flags. (Side note: I will never display another country’s flag in my car as many immigrants or first-generation children of immigrant parents do. I think it’s just tacky.)
I know that many people associate the rebel flag with the Southern lifestyle: Southern drawls, home-cookin’, good manners, sweet tea and country music. I’d rather associate it with this, but then I wouldn’t be honest here. I really think it’s a cop out… a lie to cover up what it really stands for: racism and hate. Why else would Georgia adopt a portion of the rebel flag as their state flag for decades, right after the Civil Rights Movement?
One of my neighbors admitted to me that the only reason she didn’t vote for Obama was because “I didn’t want a black President.”
I rest my case.
4. It actually gets cold down here.
Sure, it never reaches “snot-icicles” cold here, but it can get to freezing or below-freezing. Those days I welcome with pure unadulterated joy. Even the dogs like going for long walks when it gets colder.
5. I’m starting to call it my home.
For what it’s worth, I will always be a Northerner at heart.
However, the Yes, ma’am‘s have grown on me.
The Spanish moss has enchanted me.
I think I’ll stay.