A MinD in MoTown


Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.
March 2, 2009, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Damn Yankee does the dirty South: The Series, Proud Yankee

It snowed. And if I were back in Scranton, this would not be blog fodder by any means.

But I’m not. I’m in good ole’ North Carolina* where the white fluffy stuff is rather a big deal, which is why this topic has forged its way into my “Damn Yankee does the dirty South” series (which thus far only includes one post from September, but I’m expecting more in the future).

downsized_03020911391The snow started late afternoon/early evening yesterday and people in this region were already panicked. As I, a native Pennsylvanian, and my boyfriend, a native New Yorker, happily drank our Miller Lites and downed some 39-cent wings, our waitress struck up a conversation about whether or not we thought people might come out to eat in this weather. Clearly the hordes of people typically converging on this restaurant were noticeably absent that Sunday, all fearing the wrath of God in the form of tiny ice crystals falling from the sky.

By the time I arrived home – 7 p.m.-ish – the roads in my neighborhood had already turned to slush as my wuss of a dog refused to get her pretty little self wet in an effort to relieve herself in the great outdoors (which inevitably meant me cleaning up her not-so-accidental “accident” off the hardwood floors later that evening).

Fast-forward to 3 a.m. when I finally decide sleeping on the couch is unwise – I do this all too often – and head to bed. One quick glance out my front door showed a street, cars, trees and everything else sparkling under a blanket of white. It was rather beautiful … ’til a snow plow made its way down the road. Alas, the schools had all closed hours beforehand and I knew my job would still beckon hours later.

This morning, I was greeted by the snowy, yet icy terrain, a result from the freezing downsized_0302091140a1rain that also fell overnight. My dog again refused to do her business amid the wet weather, so I’m expecting a lovely “surprise” when I arrive home later.

Regardless, my town of Mooresville has practically shut down due to the “inclement” weather. Banks are closed, school kids are spending their Monday sledding and making snowmen instead of learning, restaurants are refusing to open their doors and the streets of MoTown are nearly barren. It’s rather ridiculous.

And for how much snow? FOUR INCHES. Seriously, more than four inches could not have fallen across this region – or at least this town – and yet people are avoiding their vehicles and a typical Monday for snow that will barely reach their ankles, for snow that is rapidly melting under a very bright sun.

As someone who routinely woke up to inches upon inches of snow on the ground and was lucky to see even a 1.5 hour delay from school, it simply amazes me how this tiny bit of winter weather could alarm so many individuals. The downsized_03020911441schools closed last night only an hour or two into the storm with no knowledge of what would occur overnight. I think the Scranton School District might’ve closed once in my years as a student the night before classes were to occur, and that was a miracle in itself.

Things like this simply don’t happen in the north, so I still find it shocking that people in the south react as they do.

Yes, I understand that here in North Carolina, they don’t have the adequate equipment or manpower to handle a snow storm of any caliber. But the widespread panic? It’s just a few flakes, people!

I’m fairly certain that this complete fear of snow is something I’ll never grasp nor become accustomed to. Regularly walking to school in several inches of snow – my jean bottoms frozen by the time I arrived, as well as any bits of hair that escaped the blow dryer earlier that morning – and living within a practically white city from December through March was the norm. Not knowing if the Mooresville McDonald’s will still be serving today as a result of four friggin’ inches? A little bonkers, if you ask me.

*All of these photos were taken by yours truly in Mooresville today. The first is just outside my newspaper’s office. The second are some trees outside our building with a large snow-covered parking lot in the background. And the third is along Main Street in Mooresville (only a block away from our office), with Soiree (an amazing restaurant) in the forefront.

NOTE: My “Grace in Small Things” will regularly appear in the left column if you’re interested rather than in separate daily blog posts. Or you can visit my GiST Blog for updates.

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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?!)