You can see them coming down the interstate, moving into our tiny piece of tranquility and blundering through our lives like a rogue cow discovering somebody left the lid off the sweet feed can.
They are the Yankee horde, hurtling their frozen bodies down here to get away from the worst weather known to mankind. And they are so happy to be here because they believe they pretty much know everything that you need to know to improve your life, if only you would listen.
I have prepared a primer for them that doesn’t say “shut up” the way they would. It’s more of a sweet “hush, puppy.” Having grown up in the South and lived there part of my adult life before a career-mandated stint in the North, I feel uniquely qualified. So, Yankee friends, here goes:
• First, and foremost, the war isn’t over, so don’t think you can taint our history by suggesting that enslaving people was wrong. You had slaves, too. So there.
• If you know that my life would be better if I did it the way you did it up there, why did you leave up there to come down here?
• Even if I do something really dumb, I have my reasons and the more you point it out to me the more I’m going to shift into my jackass gear and resist your ideas.
• Don’t start whining about hearing gunshots in your neighborhood because if you do, I will just switch from a 10-round magazine to one of my many 30-round mags.
• Never accept an offer of homemade hootch by asking, “What’s in it?”
• We know you come from places where ordinances protect you from developers destroying your land by cutting down every tree and considering erosion a myth. We believe in ordnances, not ordinances.
• If you are going to insist on saying, ”We don’t do it that way where I came from,” please add, “I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
• When you want to talk about dogs, there are a few do’s and don’ts. Don’t rave about rescues, or call dogs “furbabies.” It’s a dead giveaway that you’re from “up North.” Do, however, know your coon dog breeds: bluetick, black and tan, treeing walker, plott hound and redbone, to name a few.
• It doesn’t impress anyone if you mention that you moved down here after retiring from neurosurgery, stock trading, financial advising, or running the largest company in the northeast. If, however, you have shot, skinned, gutted and cut up your own deer, do mention that. Don’t brag. Just say something like,”The last deer meat I put up was my best yet.”
• Southerners love their food, so be careful. If you want to say “no” to sweet tea, just add that you have diabetes. They will understand. When eating breakfast in a restaurant and you’re asked “grits with that?,” say “yes ma’am.” Grits are made right here and not eating them is not only an insult but a missed deliciousness.
• Chicken. There are only two kinds of chicken in North Carolina. The Lord’s chicken (Bojangles) and Jesus’ chicken (Chick-fil-A). Can I get an amen?
Larry McDermott is a local retired farmer/journalist. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org