Growing up Southern

Patricia Bradley Strictly Southern

photo (9)It’s been my belief all my life that growing up Southern is different from growing up anywhere else in the world. Then I got to wondering if that was true. So, I thought I’d mention a few Southern activities from my youth and see if people in the other parts did something similar.

Like catfish grabbling. You have to go to the river and look for an old log, or a rock ledge under the water where catfish can hole up. Often people grabble in the spring when catfish spawn. The female lays the egg and the male hangs around to keep the eggs aerated and to protect them from predators. But I’ve known people who grabble all year…although I don’t understand why anyone would want to wade out in the river in December or January and stick their hand under the water and feel around for a 50 pound catfish. Now, this isn’t anything I’ve ever done, but I’ve known a few people who loved to do this. I admire their courage, but question their sanity. And that’s okay in the South.

Another game we played was hunting for snipe. It was played around midnight, usually by kids at camp. Several older kids would get up a snipe hunt and reluctantly agree to take along some of the younger ones. The younger ones were given a bag (usually a tow sack) and a stick and led out into the woods where they were instructed to beat the ground and whistle for the snipe and they would run into the bag. While the younger kids were beating the ground and whistling or calling the snipe, the older kids would disappear, leaving the others to find their way back to camp.  Yeah, I know. That was just plain mean.

Of course there is also food of the South. If you order Iced Tea (and yes it’s capitalized) in the South, it will come sweetened. You have to ask for unsweet tea and endure the raised eyebrow of your waitress. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is. Then there are grits. There is no such thing as a grit–it’s grits and always swimming in butter. It is a corn product and was not a staple of my diet until I was grown. My mother hated grits and therefore we never tasted the delicacy until after we left home. I don’t know why my mother hated grits. She just did.

I don’t know what you call soft drinks where you live, but in the South any soft drink is a Coke initially…as in, “Y’all want a Coke?” “Yeah, gimme a Dr. Pepper.”

And the language. I will save the language for another blog post, but there is one word that seems to really bother the Yankees who move south. Directly. I’m not sure what that word means to you, but to me, it means something will happen later, as in “I’ll get to cleaning the barn stalls directly, maybe tomorrow.” I really don’t understand why there should be any confusion about the meaning of the word directly.

So, that’s my first post on Strictly Southern. Are these things I’ve described strictly Southern or am I just a little delusional? Leave a comment with things peculiar to your region of the world.