It's more than a location on a map, or a direction in which you travel, that is south. We are talking about, The South. The South, the lands that are below the Mason-Dixon Line.
It has nothing to do with Confederate flags, for the those of us who truly understand what it means to be Southern.
It is not a flag, which is truly not racist, the flag marks a time period in our Southern history, in this Nation's history, and one in which we were divided.
Being southern is a way of life, instilled at birth, and passed on from one generation to the next. My southern ties may have been cause for concern decades ago, but this nation as a whole not only underestimates the South, they misunderstand us.
1. Southern Hospitality is instilled in you at birth.
People walk into your home, and they are going to feel welcome. It's not a matter of show boating, of brown nosing or any other insincere motive. It is what we do. It's what our momma raised us to do.
It doesn't matter if you aren't exactly our favorite person in the world, we will still show you the same kind and courtesy treatment we show everyone else. It's not being fake. It's called being nice.
We are going to offer you something to eat, some sweet tea, and ask about your momma. Southern hospitality is shown at all times, under all circumstances, and to all people. It's honestly, nothing more then the every day, polite little things that have some how gone by the wayside, but we still carry them on.
It's about following the Golden Rule, as a way of life. We don't do it, for the sake of tradition. We do it because it's the Southern way and it makes you feel good, to do things for other people.
2. We love our SEC teams
We love our SEC teams, and game day is like Disney. Come game day, we are dressed in our game day best, tailgating beforehand, and all set to watch our team play.
We decorate our house, inside and out, with our team's décor. We have our teams cup, wine glasses, a sticker on our car, everything we own has something to do with our team.
There are some patterns we have to stay away from, like hounds tooth, and colors, like Tennessee Orange, because if you dare wear them, everyone knows them. If you aren't a fan, everyone around here will think you are. It doesn't matter how pretty the pattern is, you can't wear it, unless you want to be mistaken as an Alabama fan.
3. Southerners love Sweet Tea.
When you walk into a restaurant, and your hostess seats you, and your server will come to your table to get order. In the South, a server will typically ask you something along these lines, "Can I get y'all started with something to drink? Sweet Tea? Water?"
When you go to a restaurant down there, you expect them to have sweet tea. They'll never offer you unsweet tea, always sweet. In fact, the South loves sweet tea so much, they call tea without any sweetener in it, not iced tea, but unsweet tea.
When people host parties, they typically have at least twice as much sweet tea as they do unsweet tea. That's because they know that people around here don't drink it.
4. The phrase "Bless Your Heart"
The phrase bless your heart, seems to have gotten a sarcastic connotation through out the rest of the world, but in the South we know what it actually means. We know that those three little words can mean so many things.
Bless your heart can be sarcastic and can be said in an aww.. poor pitiful you, suck it up, type of way. In a way that shows that you have absolutely no sympathy for the person that your saying it for.
The phrase can also be used to disguise an insult like, "Oh hunny, does that dress come in any other color besides yellow? Oh it doesn't. Well, bless your heart. A nice robin eggs blue would've been nice."
It can be used to give a genuine compliment like "It was so sweet of you to volunteer to do the bake good sale. Bless your heart, I didn't expect you to bake two cakes too."
Or it can be used to express condolences, "I am so sorry that your brother died. Bless your heart, your family has already been through so much."
The phrase is a Southern favorite, it's a go to. The context and tone, determine how the phrase is meant. We use it for everything and it's one of our favorite phrases.
5. Lawn chairs and front lawns
Everyone pictures southern people sitting in their front yard in a lawn chair, and that's not a total lie. While not all of us sit in our front yard in our lawn chairs, we do have an obsession with lawn chairs. And it's a big, complicated one.
Now first and foremost, lawn chairs are typically reserved for the back yard, or the ball field. We don't typically have the folding lawn chairs in our front yard, unless it's a yard sale.
Secondly, most of us actually prefer the camping type, lawn chairs, and the bigger the seat in it, the better. Hopefully the arm rest has a cup holder, and it's the hold grail if it's the one that has the fold out table.
6. Front porches and rocking chairs
We do have rocking chairs on our front porches, and we do use them. We sit back, with our sweet tea, and take a moment to enjoy this world, and we rock with our children in our arms. Not only do the children love it, but we do.
There are times when we look out at the world, take in the stillness and rock ourselves for a sweet moment. There is a reason we love our rocking chairs, and no they are not over-rated.
7. Our Southernisms
We are aware at how strange they might sound to anyone who has never heard someone say Heavens to Betsy or I'll be John Brown, but around here not only do we know what they mean, but we've probably said them ourselves.
We have many southernisms that we use, that perfectly summarize our exact feelings and life. Maybe it's because we grew up with them, maybe it's because we know what they mean and they apply so well to our life, or maybe it's both. I don't know, but I love our southernisms, they are finer than frog hair.
8. We love momma's cookn'
Nobody's a better cook than momma. The food might not be the healthiest, but since when is fried chicken, fried okra, and cornbread, healthy? Or good for the waistline? But that doesn't mean it isn't delicious.
Momma's cooking is sure to put a couple of extra pounds on you, and your grandmother's, just thinking about hers adds about 15. But it's worth every single pound and every single hour in the gym you spend working it out.
You get the recipes handed down to you. You've been raised to cook them. You have them almost down pat, but they'll never be as good as your mom's or your grandmother's.