“How many Yankees were there? 10,000! How many Rebels? TWO! What did they do? CHARGE! What did they do? CHARGE! What did they do? CHARGE!” I am performing a cheer for Paul that we used at our community swim meets when I was growing up in North Carolina in the 1970’s. The wide eyed look on his face is one of bewilderment and worry. If I could read his mind I think it might be saying “Mental note: check the mail for any telltale ties to hate groups”.
“Ya’ll are moving to Bawston? That’s almost a foreign country! People are different there!” One of my neighbors’ said when I told her I was moving from Virginia years ago. And I knew that what she meant by “foreign country” was both literal and figurative. Boston was basically southern Canada and Yankees were rude, brash and liberal. The liberal part suited me just fine. It was the rude thing that I was worried about.
My brother Jake from North Carolina visited us a week ago on a work related trip and sent me this e-mail: “I would say that people don't really say "good morning" or look up at you when you try to say it.” I laughed when I read the e-mail, picturing him trying to engage people on the street. But his e-mail pretty much summed up what I had forgotten. The pleasantries and genteelness of the south are not as evident here. And I began to think about how I missed them.