A MinD in MoTown

Damn Yankee does the dirty South.

On the WordPress dashboard earlier today, a featured blog entry – The Pop Vs Soda Map – made me think of the numerous differences I’ve encountered since moving to “the south,” and the soda v. pop v. coke conflict is just one of many.

Whether it has been the wonders of livermush – I’m using the word “wonders” quite sarcastically – or the fact that roads here are practically barren before 3 p.m. on Sundays, I have stumbled upon more than a few moments of culture shock and decided there was no time better than the present to share them with you fine folks (a word that once upon a time was definitely not in my vernacular).

And so, I present to you: “Damn Yankee does the dirty South” (in bullet form).

  • Sweet Tea– The first time I read the words “sweet” and “tea” combined, I couldn’t help but ask what that was. Naturally, I’d heard of tea/iced tea/hot tea, but never “sweet tea,” which ALL southerners swear by. I cannot count for you the number of occasions where “you’re not from around here, are you?” has been an individual’s response to hearing my distaste for the tea that is sweet.
  • Cow flop – For those of you “out of the know,” a cow flop is an event where you watch a cow take a shit. True story. It is slightly more complicated, however, in that you are betting – we’re talking cash money – on which square the cow will inevitably dispose of his former eats. And you might be sitting there thinking this is a southern event … alas, it is not. Cow flops were quite common when I resided in Pennsylvania, but it seems people here in the big N-C are a bit uncertain when you explain the joys of waiting for Mr. Moo to drop a deuce.
  • The Civil War – I am likely treading on sacred ground by mentioning this, but THE SOUTH LOST THE WAR! Back home, the only mention, ever, of the Civil War was through musty history books and the occasional accidental stoppage on the History Channel while surfing via my recliner. But here, in a land still strangely affected by the events of 150 years ago, far too many individuals want to explain “the untold story” of the war and how the North was actually for slavery. Didn’t know that, huh? Try attending a “Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy” meeting and you, too, shall be “enlightened.”
  • Kielbasa – If you are of Polish decent, you, like me, probably grew up with the traditional kielbasa at Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, in the South, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a piece of this sausage cuisine magnificence anywhere without the label “Jimmy Dean.” Sad, but true.
  • Ranch dressing – To not like love ranch dressing in the south is a mortal sin. Honest, look it up. Okay, perhaps not quite, but it will earn you a few awkward looks.
  • Confederate flag – Anyone displaying a Confederate flag in the North is typically assumed to be a racist, or at least that’s always been the assumption of individuals I knew back home. However, in the South, it’s a sign of pride in being from this neck of the woods. I, for one, view the two interpretations as little more than different ways of saying the exact same thing.
  • Y’all – The first thing a friend asked me when I visited Scranton after moving here was, “are you saying ‘y’all’ yet?” The answer is … yes. Along with “folks,” this word has squished its way into my everyday speech. Meh, it’s whatever.
  • Moonshine – This potent liquor concoction isn’t just an imaginative figment of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” It’s strong and, in my opinion, somewhat disgusting as every Mason jar – oh ya, a Mason jar – of the drink I’ve come by has had some decaying, rotting fruit within. This past weekend, a friend confused the decomposing peaches in the moonshine jar for potatoes. Gross.

These are just a few of the strange differences between the former Union and Confederacy I have unearthed, with a plethora more to discuss and discover. Perhaps I’ll make this a one-per-month thing, if it seems “of interest.”

Let me know your thoughts, FOLKS … Y’ALL come back now, ya hear?

(Oh man, am I lame or what?!)

17 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I am definitely interested – make it a monthly feature!

I’m hoping that you made up the cow flop one because that’s too distressing to be true.

Comment by Megkathleen

A western Pa. native, I’m a pop guy. I also say buggy instead of shopping cart. And we called it Cow Patty Bingo.

Comment by Andy

Came over from HautePocket and as I’m also a displaced yankee living in the south I can relate to your stories. Although I had never heard of the cow flop. Cow tipping, yes, cow flopping, no.

When I first encountered sweet tea I was being asked to make it. I was told to keep putting sugar in it until you could chew it. True story.

Also, if you would like to fit in with your southern friends it is called the War of Northern Aggression. This will please the old folks. Trust me.



Comment by Idealcrap

Cow flop? Seriously?

Also..I agree with your observation about the Confederate Flag.

P.S. Hi Idealcrap.

Comment by hautepocket

Cow Flop? Kielbasa? The Civil War? This is a horrible plot for a porn film.

Comment by rs27


Now thats what I’m talking about!!!!

Comment by Matt

Meg: I think I might try this on a monthly basis. Not sure I have enough tales to do so more often, unfortunately.

Andy: They say “buggy” in the south, too. But cow patty bingo? I’ll stick to cow flop, ha.

Ideal: Welcome! Ha. I’m going to try this War of Northern Aggression thing next time I head to the senior center for a story. I’ll get back to you about how that works out.

Haute: Oh ya, cow flop. It’s pretty gross, no lie.

rs27: Horrible? I was thinking the best porn flick ever … or at least the most original?

Matt: You would. ::Shakes head::

Comment by amindinmotown

I’m just glad you’re admitting that you use the word ‘yall’. You were still in denial last time I came to visit you =P

Comment by patrick

I would bath in ranch if it were socially acceptable.

Comment by so@24

Patty: No, no, no, I was not in denial about “ya’ll.” I was in denial that a southern twang had emerged in my voice. Get it right, mister!

24: Eww. Are you a southerner? ‘Cause they probably would, too.

Comment by amindinmotown

Actually, back in high school there was a crew of kids, myself not included, who loved the Ranch dressing our junior year. They put it on fries, hamburgs, chicken patties, anything they could. I found it nasty. Interestingly enough the school apparently changed types of Ranch the following year, and I had to listen to these guys complain that the “good ranch” was gone. Of course they didn’t put it on anything too nasty, like eggs, lol.

Comment by mackiep1

I wouldn’t be able to survive down here if it weren’t for the comfort of knowing 100% of my friends also living in the South came from PA or Ohio just last year.

Comment by Aimee

Mackie: You ’02 people were idiots. That’s my explanation for the ranch obsession.

Aimee: Ha, how’d you manage that?! Aside from my boyfriend, everyone’s a “southerner” it seems.

Comment by amindinmotown

Ok as someone who grew up in the south, about two hours from Mooresville I have to reply.

Sweet tea – I must admit I am one of the people who swear by it although I do like hot tea as well.

Cow flops – Yes, I have heard of this. Yes, I have seen it. My exact thought was silly Yankees until I remember that I had friends in high school who used to regularly try and go cow tipping.

The Civil War – Maybe it’s because I’m black but I realize the South lost the war. I remember going to a “Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy” meeting. At least 90% of the room turned to stare at the black guy as he walked in. Needless to say, I didn’t stay for very long.

Rebel Flag – Black people in the South consider it to be racist as well, I know if someone had sported one in the grew where I grew up they probably would have been beaten.

Kielbasa – Only time I ever had it was going with a friend to her grandmother’s at Christmas last year.

Ranch dressing – Outside of the occasional buffalo wing or ceasar salad, I never eat the stuff.

Y’all – I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have a Southern accent and I do use the word “y’all” often.

Moonshine – One way to tell you grew up in the South is when you know whose grandparents make it and they know yours did too.

Here’s one that confused me the first time I went to Ithaca, New York.

Grits – I had never realized until then that many people about the Mason-dixin line had never even heard of this staple of Southern breakfasts. I asked for some and the woman looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

Comment by Kendall

Rebel Flag – Black people in the South consider it to be racist as well. I know if someone had sported one in the area i grew up in they probably would have been beaten.

Comment by Kendall

Kendall: So glad someone from the south commented on the things I mentioned. =) I’ll definitely be including grits (ew!) in my next installment, ha.

Comment by amindinmotown

You’re welcome. Haha MinD, I posted something for you on my blog.


Enjoy and I look forward to your next installment. : )

Comment by Kendall

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