It was some ten years ago when I had the honor of meeting a genuine, “dyed-in-the -wool”- Yankee. Neither Alec nor his lovely roommate Annie, had ever been further South than the city limits of their beloved “Bwyoston.”
At first, it had been pretty-much ‘touch & go,’ for both Me and Susie Mae, to ‘Sociate’ with them, due to the differences in our manners of speech.
Alec’s desire to feel comfortable among us “Southerners,” prompted him to enroll in a ‘crash-course’ of Southern Customs, at “Bwyoston College,” in order to prepare himself for his indoctrination into the “laid-back” life of Coastal Carolina. I will have to admit that he had excelled in his studies, and this was evident by his first greeting. “I’m happy to meet ‘YOUSE-ALL.”
We thought it appropriate to invite them to breakfast at “Jethro’s-Grill, Pool-Hall, & Funeral-Parlor.” “Jethro’s,” was ‘the place’ to get a good breakfast in the tiny community of “Eastward;” located between the Ocean and the Florida Highway.
Lula Belle, the waitress, and assistant Cook; greeted us with “Hidey! How Y’all?” She seated us in the one booth beside the Coffin Display Room; and handed each of us a menu; written on a ‘nickel tablet.’
I cautioned them, by all means, to avoid ordering ‘Hash-Browns,’ ‘Eggs over-easy,’ ‘Wheat Toast,’ or ‘Bagels.’ Annie, bless her little heart, asked for a cup of “De-caffeinated Coffee,” to which Lula-Belle asked; “Y’all ain’t frum Raoun’ Heah, is y’all?” “Wheahbouts y’all frum?” “Bwyoston;” Alex replied.
Lula Belle, then looked at me and asked; “Whad-E-Say?” “I’ll tell you later,” I said; although I should have known that explaining to our guests, the fact that Lula Belle was not necessarily, “The sharpest knife in the drawer,” would ease the tension somewhat.
Annie; then looked up from her menu and asked. “What are Grits?” “Is it anything like Cream of Wheat?” Lula Belle said, “Naw-m: ‘Cream of Wheat,’ is what sick folks; and them, whot’s in a Nursing Home, eats.”
I figured I had better explain to our friends, that Grits is ground Corn, and is sorta-like Cream of Wheat, except that; Grits are usually doctored-up; either with Butter, or Red-Eye-Gravy.
Lula Belle agreed, and quickly added; “Yes Ma-am: Breakfus without Grits is ‘jus-bout’ like a Stop-Sign without Bullet Holes in it. It jus’ ain’ t Southern.”
Now, Alec, He caught on quicker than Annie did. That is; ‘up-til he taken his first spoonful of them Grits.’ He rolled them around in his’un’s – mouff fer a while; an then tried to ‘swaller.’
It were real lucky that Deputy Sheriff, Buster Stanfield, was playing pool and eating them free donuts, whot Jethro, gives to, ‘th’ Law.
Him being right handy, an all; He run over an commenced a’beatin’ Alec on th’ back, ’til he could get his breath. Then Buster hooked his thumbs under his pistol-belt, and said; “Y’all ain’t frum Roun’ Heah, is y’all?”
Alec and Annie, were both “fatuated” with our ‘neck-in-the-woods,’ and for several years afterwards; they taken all they vacations down here. Annie, she never did get to where she enjoyed our delicious, Southern Cooking.
Alec, however, were a different story. He would get-up, jus’ ’bout ever morning and slip out behind th’ ‘Smoke-House’ and eat him a big, bowl of GRITS.
He even scared Annie. perty-much, to death; ‘telling her that, if she told on him, “He’d lie out of it, and tell everbody that she had lately commenced, “Dippin’ Snuff.”
Just goes to show you that; “It takes all kinds of people to make a World; and We’ve Got Most of Them!” Dj.