I was born in Kansas. When I was four years old, my family moved to Missouri. After graduating from high school, I branched out on my own for college. In Missouri. Then I briefly moved to Kansas for graduate school. And then moved back to Missouri.

Clearly, I’m from the Midwest.

And yet, in my heart of hearts, I consider myself a Southern girl.

I know, I know! It doesn’t make sense, and my truly Southern friends are no doubt rolling their eyes and blessing my heart right now.

But here’s the thing: half my family is from the South! And I’m not talking about a 1/32 type of ancestry. My mom was born in southern Georgia (and I am well aware that’s “suth’n Jawjah,” for the record) and only moved north because my granddad was stationed at Fort Leavenworth.

So between my own mother, my grandparents and all oour extended family, I feel well-versed and immersed enough in Southern culture to claim it as my own. Just a little. Can you all (AHEM. Y’all?) give me that?

No? You want more evidence? Fine. Twist my arm. Here are 10 reasons I consider myself Southern:

  1. Grits: I not only know what grits are, I like them. And I’ll take it a step further: I’m even particular about how I take them. (Lots of butter and salt, please! And believe it or not, keep your cheese to yourself.)
  2. Talkin’: Phrases like “conniption fit,” “catty-wampus,” “bless her heart,” “come sit a spell,” “gooder’n snuff,” “ornery” and “her people” don’t confuse or amuse me. I simply know exactly what they mean.
  3. Good times: I have been known a time or twenty to shout, “Don’t look, Ethel!” or “He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!” Furthermore, I don’t think it’s weird at all to sing about sitting up with the dead, and I know exactly which Mississippi church had a squirrel go berserk. Because in my family, we do love our Ray Stevens. I have two VHS tapes to prove it.
  4. Good food: While I may never (and I mean NEVER) enjoy the taste of fried okra, collard greens and pecan (“pee-kan,” of course) pie, I am well aware of their many virtues and wouldn’t dream of actually turning up my nose at these delicacies.
  5. Funeral food: When someone dies, I immediately pull a casserole dish out of the cupboard. Because if there’s something worse than grieving, it’s doing it on an empty stomach.
  6. The sweeter, the better: As I have mentioned, I like sweet tea – and I like it reallll sweet.
  7. Suppertime: If you invite me over for dinner, I might ask you to clarify. Because in my world, that could mean lunch or supper, and I want to make sure I’m there for the right meal. (Because if you haven’t noticed, half of this list seems to be about food in one way or another. And I’m afraid that’s just about right.)
  8. Timberrr! One of my favorite things about my job – and I’m not exaggerating – is the group of pine trees surrounding the back door of our building. Unless someone’s sitting on the back porch smoking, I get a whiff of those pines and am immediately transported to the many vacations we took to see “our people” in Georgia.
  9. Yes, ma’am: I might be sarcastic, I might be forthright, and I might be snarky. But I know how to mind my manners, thankyouverymuch. Now, northern friends, please do not get upset with me. I’m not saying you’re rude. I’m just saying that I was directed more than once as a child to say “yes, sir” and write another thank you note.
  10. Pop culture (and I don’t mean Coke): I’m a big fan of Designing Women, Steel Magnolias, Alabama (the band) and the Savannah series by Denise Hildreth.

What? That last one doesn’t mean anything? Well, I could tell you about how easily I slip into a Southern drawl when crossing the Mason-Dixie line. Or how I am familiar with Piggly Wiggly stores or often hear my family refer to Driving Miss Daisy. I guess I could mention how, as a freshman, I impressed the drama teacher with my flawless (if I do say so myself) reading of a play’s dialogue filled with Southern dialect.

But really, what it comes down to is this: My family is from the South. And I love them. They are all sorts of crazy, but the truth is, I’m just like them. If that makes me crazy, so be it. If that makes me Southern, well then, I guess that just proves my point.

Where are you {and your people} from? What region do you most identify with?

For more posts about being Southern, check out these fine ladies:

P.S. I’m linking up to OhAmanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.

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