ERROL CASTENS: My apologies to Robert St. John

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

My friend Tim Burress started something the other day on his Facebook account, and it’s proven so addictive I decided to continue it here.
Tim had been reading Robert St. John’s “My South,” with its short but meaningful descriptions of our shared homeland, and he challenged his friends to come up with their own comments. I won’t steal other people’s responses to use here, but if you want to read those of his other friends, send Tim (Timothy R. Burress) a friend request.
Meanwhile, here are my offerings:
In my South …
- … ice cream is sweeter when it’s hand-cranked.
- … wisteria and honeysuckle are immigrants; privet and kudzu are invaders.
- … “Bless his/her heart” can be applied either sympathetically or sarcastically, as needed.
- … old folks remember when gravel roads were an improvement.
- … “maypops” can mean either passiflora incarnata or really bald tires.
- … folks keep guard geese – or guineas – to let them know when company’s coming.
- … a Sharpie and a short philosophy can turn a 3X T-shirt into a medium.
- … folks don’t understand the point of “catch and release” for either fish or felons.
- … “daintzin” and “naintzy” are spelled “d-a-n-c-i-n-g” and “N-a-n-c-y.”
- … blood-sucking parasites can transmit such dangerous disorders as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, West Nile Disease and, in election years, misplaced optimism.
- … front porches without swings and rockers are as useful as a scissor.
- … some remember when quail and rabbits were abundant, and fire ants and armadillos were rare.
- … we have lightning bugs, wreckers, Cokes, redbugs and britches – not fireflies, tow trucks, sodas, chiggers and trousers.
- … people know “collard” is not a misspelling of “collared.”
- … we “put up” vegetables – every time we can.
- … amateur archaeologists know daffodils mark many an otherwise forgotten homestead.
- … we like air conditioning, but not so much that we’re willing to forget what tree frogs, crickets and whippoorwills sound like.
- … we value security lights, but not so much that we’re willing to forget what the stars look like.
- … we know to grow Cape Jessamine away from windows lest its fragrance overwhelm us.
- … if the phone rings after nine o’clock, it’s an emergency.
- … we honor our ancestors without forgetting their errors.
- … fly swatters keep flies, terriers, toddlers and other pests out of the kitchen.
- … pickups are vehicles, not dates.
- … we wait until after “and the home of the brave” to start cheering.
- … South is as much a mindset as a direction.
Contact Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or
errol.castens@journalinc.com.