I really am a Southerner. I say this somewhat begrudgingly though. Not that this is a bad thing, its just that I hold my hometown of Chicago very near to my heart and I love my summer vacations there. I love my Northern family. I love the museums and Lake Michigan and Portillos. I love deep dish pizza and thin crust pizza, Wrigley Field, Schubas and all of the fests. So even though I have lived in the south since I was eight years old, I have never truly admitted my southerness....out loud and on the internet. How's that for a coming out party? Now granted, there have been times over the past 24 years that I thought well, maybe I am Southern. Like when I began calling a shopping cart a buggy. Or when I write my check to pay the power bill instead of the electric bill. Or the time I mentioned to my father that I had stopped by the package store and he had no idea that I meant the liquor store. I have been known to throw around words like ain't or fixin, y'all and I do enjoy eating grits and collard greens and fried okra. I have been known to sing a little "Devil Went Down to Georgia". In the days of my youth, I was not opposed to goin muddin, skipping school to spend the day at the dam and I know that in order to throw any sort of a party in the fall one must first consult the SEC schedule and plan accordingly. And of course, there was the summer when I first started listening to Jimmy Buffet and none of my northern cousins had any idea who I was talking about and thought that it was a form of country music and turned their nose up at it. (That might have simply been them, not a north v. south type thing.)
Point is, I love the South. I have adjusted quite nicely to the southern way of life. I married an Athens local. My children are most definitely Southerners and well, this is my life. In the South.
Now, to take it a step further. I no longer live in the metro Atlanta area. I live in the country. I live in a place where by the time the girls were 3 years old they knew the difference between a barn and a chicken house. I am quite used to seeing trailers for houses and kudzu growing over the power poles. But today, as I was driving back to my school from a meeting at another school, I started looking at the area as if I were looking through my father's eyes. His Yankee, son of Italian immigrant, eyes, and realized that while I have adjusted, this place would be culture shock to him. I made this realization as I passed by a large warehouse building with a green roof and in really large letters on the front of the building was the name of the store, "Dave's Goody Barn." I can only imagine what might be inside such a large "goody barn." And I can only imagine what my father's reaction would be to seeing "Dave's Goody Barn." I don't think it would be good.
oh,Trust me, the midwest has their own version of "country" that I'm sure your dad has seen and chuckled about. there are things about the south that i will never get used to like the ultra religiousness factor, but one thing that is great about the south that i didn't notice in Chicago is that everyone is so much more open here, more friendly, more willing to get to know you. I think this is something that we should be proud of... we're friendly "folk."
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