Sunday, August 21, 2016

The South

My Question today is about the "The South". Where is it? What is it?

The questions sound dumb but I'm a west coast boy who has found himself living in Georgia.
In my youth (the early 70's) "The South" had a certain 'reputation' & visiting that part of the nation with long hair and west coast licence plates was an adventurous thought. I did that once in 72, it was different but not bad.

I was in North Carolina for a September to Feburary visit & some years later I spent a summer in Mobile Alabama (all via the USCG) so I had a small taste of "The South".
I was not a fan of the humidity and in Elizabeth City NC I saw ice in a river for the first time. "The South" and it's climate was someplace I could pass up,
It would have to be an important reason to come back to "The South", especially in the summer. The reason turned out to be a girl....

When I was stationed in Illinois I had to fly down to southern Illinois/Missouri area a time of two, I heard the "southern accent" there & that got me to wondering where is "The South"? Illinois wouldn't be called a southern state by the way I understood it to work, At the very least you could count the states that seceded from the Union in 1860 to be the south but that was then. The Mason-Dixon line? Where you got grits with breakfast without having to ask?






I'm really not sure where "The South" is today.

I spent a winter in Rockport Texas (Texas is Texas but is it "The South"?) and I've been in northern Georgia for six months now and I'm  not really sure that any of my present gross generalizations about "The South" are close to 'correct'.

The southern accent is still here but not everywhere, I can get grits with breakfast but (so far) they have not shown up without asking for them. I have not been called "boy" by a cop since my Mobile visit in the early 80s and all the grocery store deli's I've been to have the same food I'd find in any grocery store in Washington state or Arizona. Maybe I just Haven't been to the right Piggly Wiggly when looking for Red Beans & Rice?

I did see a bag of collard greens in a supermarket produce section in with the bags of lettuce. I asked a passing mom with 2 small kids (she sounded southern FWIW) what you did with them & she told me how she fixed them & how her "Momma" did it (boiled, she used a pressure cooker & her Momma just boiled them "all day").

I'm thinking that our modern world of corporate grocery store chains, fast food restaurants and the media is blending the country. My girlfriend is a Yankee from Connecticut who has spent over half her life in Texas/Georgia due to working for a major corporation and I suspect her experience is not unique.  FWIW there is a touch of the south in her voice, like a lot of people in the area.

I did not mention flags...  The usual Confederate battle flag here in Georgia or the Texas Lone star flag I saw in Texas. I have to mention that during my visit to the Terlingula TX area the lack of American flags  was noticeable in the sea of Lone Star flags.
These flags are the heritage of the locations, no matter what symbolism the viewer ties to them.

Where is "The South"?  I'm not sure in today's world there is a "The South" but I'll bet if someone describes the civil war as "the war of northern aggression" they can tell you where their chunk of "The South" was.



620,000 Americans died in the 1860's deciding states rights when the south tried to leave the union. 150 years later corporate America & the media have succeeded in evolving an America to where a west coast boy can find himself living in the state of Georgia and be able to seriously ask "where is the south".


Time to go down to Waffle House & have some grits with my eggs  (I'll have to order the grits).