If wishes were fishes, we’d all cast nets.

In August, we talked about the southern way to forecast weather, as us mountain folk have little faith in today’s meteorology. We also mentioned that we should keep our imminent forecasts to ourselves when abiding in the big city – 1) people will just think you are a hillbilly (a fact that we are trying to minimize) and 2) the big buildings, smog and lack of similar landscapes tend to skew our forecasts; making us look like dumb hillbillies.

I thought it pertinent to also speak on the Southern folklore that shapes our everyday life. I mean, city folk just don’t have these superpowers and must rely on science to predict their futures. I know, right! Weird. We know that birds and owls can predict death, we know what foods to eat on New Year’s Day, we know what to steal from our neighbors to cure our ailments, we know how to ward off evil spirits and everyone knows to cross your windshield if a black cat crosses the road in front of you! But the sad fact is that city folk just don’t know these. 😦

Some of these you may share with the city folk and some you probably shouldn’t. I’ll let you decide.

These are just 10 to make you smile…and a little homesick!

  1. After your haircut, bury your hair under a rock to make it grow back thicker.
  2. Always go in/out same door.
  3. Death comes in threes.
  4. If you dream about death, it’s a sign that a wedding day is near.
  5. If two people put spoons in a cup at the same time, they will be married.
  6. If your noses itches, then someone is coming to see you.
  7. Never let a swing stop moving on its own or someone you care about will die.
  8. If your hand itches, then someone is bringing you a present.
  9. Wind chimes will call up the dead.
  10. If you walk on a grave, you will be haunted by that person.

That is all for now. I’d love to hear some of the superstitions that you grew up with, so that I can pass them on to my kids! You can never be too careful.

The Devil Is Beating His Wife.

When it rains from a mostly blue sky, then the devil is beating is wife. I never really understood this saying, but I hear it time and again.

Weather. Being from North Carolina, you can easily experience all four seasons in the same week. Nothing like treating your sunburn with some fresh powdered snow. We only watch the Weather Channel for the music, not for the actual predictions that couldn’t be farther from the truth. So in the absence of decent weathermen, we predict our own weather.

How do I explain how a country girl tells the weather? Easy: If cows are laying on their bellies, the leaves are upside down, or maw’s knees are hurting –  it is going to rain. The louder the frogs sing, the more rain. If the sky is red at night, it will be pretty the next day. If the sky is red in the morning, it will most likely rain. If it rains before 7, it will be clear before 11. If it thunders in the winter, snow is coming within 3 days.Clear moon, frost soon. If woodpeckers are sharing a tree, then a harsh winter is ahead. The wooly worm’s coat will indicate whether or not we will have a harsh winter. But quite simply…in the country, you can smell weather coming.

In the city, surrounded by concrete and skyscrapers, this just doesn’t work. I would suggest to just mute the weatherman and look at the radar. If you are covered up in a big blob of green, some rain is coming your way. If the blob on the radar is a bright color, then beware.

The only thing you can smell in the city is smog, which is no indication of weather. So don’t embarass yourself with your homegrown weather predictions that won’t ring true.

 

 

 

Some People Don’t Have Enough Sense To Pour Piss Out Of A Boot!

Our last chapter in country girls surviving the city, is on dating. (Don’t worry – I still have plenty of lessons on foreign countries, marriage, pregnancy and parenthood.)

Maw said that there was no use marrying a boy who couldn’t change the oil in the car, fix the toilet or vote Democrat. (She married a plumber. )I feel bad when she gets to heaven and realizes that I can’t do either of these and vote Republican to boot. Maybe that is why she wanted a perfect match for me – a ying to my yang.

So let’s do a quick review on dating in the country. Ready? Fast food, BBQ, beer, tail-gates, cruising town, beer, athletic events and long dirt roads…and beer. A special occasion might merit the back row of the twin cinema…and beer. Did I leave anything out?

Now onto the new stuff.

The positive of being from the country is that boys are fascinated by our accents, our love for beer and that we can drive a straight-shift, 4 wheel drive and heavy equipment. However, its these traits that make city dating so foreign to us.  City boys don’t go all in at first. They start with coffee dates in the afternoon or maybe drinks after work. If it still feels good after this, they move on to fancy dinners at expensive restaurants or places called Country Clubs.  Ahhh, I remember the first time I heard the words, “Put it on my tab.” They sure do know how to make a girl feel good…and out of place.  Some guys even send you flowers, even if they didn’t screw up somehow.  And dating is true to form in the city. You actually date more than one person at a time and these guys don’t care about your whereabouts since they seen you last. It’s nice.  Side note: since living in the city is so expensive, you should date lots of guys and use your money on more important things, like getting your nails done. Every now and then, you will come across guys who don’t want to insult you by paying for your dinner. Life is too short for this negativity, so you need to throw these fish right on back out to sea.

Now all of these treats are wonderful. I dated guys with fancy cars, houses, yachts (fancy boats that you can live on), planes, etc. However, after a while, you realize that you have nothing in common with them. And when you realize that they can’t change the oil in their car or they try to take you to the opera…you are done.

Let us not forget how good a man looks in coveralls, how calming Bocephus is to our ears and the sweet taste of BBQ. In other words, our roots!

I’d love to hear some stories from you on your first dates in the city!

 

 

 

Jeet Yet?

(Title translation for non-country folk: Did you eat, yet?)

We have covered walking, talking, parking and spitting. Surprisingly, we will need to cover food if you plan on eattin in the city.

You might be a redneck if you know how to wring a chicken’s neck…all in a day’s work if you wanted to eat that night, right? Other days, you were cleaning fish, skinning wildlife or wondering if the poke salad would kill you. Summers aren’t spent breaking beans, shucking corn, digging up roots, canning potatoes, all while living off of cornbread and milk so that you could eat during the winter months. Those true country girls know that I meant cornbread and buttermilk in the same drinking glass! If it wasn’t born and raised in our area, you didn’t eat it. Very simple, just the way we like it.

Forget all of this. Seriously, just forget it. You, nor your palate need to remember these standards. Just go all Frozen and Let Go. You are in the city, now.

Grocery shopping is a whole new experience in the city. Vegetables are not lined in mason jars with handwritten notes in sharpies and found in cold, dark places, fruit isn’t picked from the trees in your yard and meat comes from Mexico (you hope). Green Giant, Del Monte and Smuckers will all need to become part of your grocery list. Forget finding deer meat at the grocery. Again, I mean it; forget it. And the city definition of fresh fish is a ballpark from yours, so buy this at your own risk. Bread and buns aren’t ‘freshly’ baked because they are in bags with use by dates. I know, weird. Oh, and city folk use different kinds of chickens; because their eggs are white, instead of brown.

Without stretching this post out beyond use, I feel like I need to address dining out. Don’t bother looking for fried food on the menu, city folk use symbols to identify all of the healthy-eating choices. This seems to be important to them and some type of count that they keep up with. These foods, nor probably any other selections on the menu, are not cooked with a keg of lard and butter; but some are surprisingly good. I would just go out with whichever city friend has adopted you and let him or her help you decide. Just don’t expect sweet tea and ketchup to be automatically set out on your table, either.

(Be prepared for an upset stomach for the first several months. Your body has culture shock too.)

We may make and prefer our own beer, whiskey and wine; but the city brands aren’t half-bad. They even have ‘lite.’ Its all about appearances up in there, so enjoy.

Chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit!

I’d like to preface this post by saying that although I wrote it over 1o years ago…my six year old showed me living proof that you can’t always take the country out of the person, so I decided to re-write it. It seems that this lesson is timeless.

I decided to treat my boys to a mini vacation in Raleigh about two weeks ago and also took them to an old favorite restaurant of mine, located in downtown. What was once a very small, FREE parking lot back in the day, was now a PAID parking garage. I guess they wanted to squeeze some profit out of that quarter acre, but whatever.

No Spitting

 

We parked in the garage and just as soon as he exited our vehicle, he hocked a big one by the tire and then wiped his mouth with his arm and kept right on trucking. The very-well dressed lady that parked beside us had very pretty eyes, as I saw every pixel of them. Of course, he also “adjusted” himself, but that is one habit that I have given up on. I just stared at him and asked him to remember one of our lessons about spitting in public and he answered: “What?! You would rather me spit on the sidewalk in front of the whole city? Or did you want me to spit in the truck?” Point taken. Small steps is what we aim to achieve. Anyway, back to our lesson.

Maybe it’s because North Carolina is famous for tobacco or that kids are given their first dip to help break their bottle, but spitting is just a part of country life. Cowboys, rodeo stars, men’s softball players and rednecks getting ready to fight just really enforce this habit throughout our lives.  And spitting kinda saves lives back home. When a kid gets a bee sting, someone just spits a big blob of tobacco on the spot, rubs it in and we continue on. So, it’s really not our fault, but with that said – we still shouldn’t spit in public…at least while in the city.

When I graduated college and transitioned from the college bars to the downtown bars known to cater to my age group, is when this lesson was learned. (Pretty much anything is accepted in a college bar on dollar night, so don’t stress about a little spit.) So my BFF and I (she is from Podunk, Idaho) decided to try our taste at one of the more fancy bars and of course, we were all dolled up in our dresses and heels. A gentleman opened the door for us with a smile on his face and we both instinctively spit before entering.  We did smile back at him and say thanks.

Needless to say, he didn’t buy us a single drink, but the looks of pity were free.

 

It’ll all come out in the wash…

You may have been prom queen or voted most attractive at Podunk High, but this memo hasn’t and won’t reach the city of your choosing. So suck it up. It takes time for others to recognize your potential in cities already full of crowns. On the flip side, you may have been on the bottom of your high school totem pole and will be doing the Miss America wave sooner than you think. In the meantime, get your nails done.

My first few weeks in the city, I kept meeting girls that actually paid people to paint their nails (some of the nails were even fake) on a regular basis! I offered them my discount services, but they just rolled their eyes and told me that I didn’t understand. They were right, considering I sold my college textbooks for drinking money and barely had any plasma left when bills were due. Not to mention that back home, you only got your nails done for weddings and even then you had to cross the state line.

However, one day I discovered that my neck was getting red and I had to walk out of my workplace to prevent the pain that I was about to inflict on my boss, when I found myself in front of a nail salon. I was still so livid that fantasies of homicide were dancing in my head and so I thought…what do I have to lose?

Three words. Oh. My. Gawd.

No one ever bothered to tell me that painting my nails was the least that these wonderful little Asian people did! First, they put me in a chair with heat and massage controls that could run a close second to a good man. Then, while one foot is in this hot Jacuzzi, my other foot was receiving massage and oil. All this while the chair was simultaneously heating and rubbing on me.  Next came my hands…and arms! I think that they intentionally don’t speak a lot of English, because at this point I am not sure I would have understood pictures.

I walked out of that salon with a new focus on life. I understood that city life was about these little things and not homicidal thoughts in an overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated working environment. These little things also let you control your own destiny. Now, my nails are always done.

Even though I have returned to country living, and nail salons are aplenty, my kids don’t realize the importance of this in our budget. However, You Tube and resourceful neighbors have shown me how to make creative designs with a bobby pin and a toothpick, so I manage on my own! (Country girls always survive!)

A friend once told me that your nails always need to be done, because this is the only thing in life that others can’t beg, steal or borrow from you!

 

You Ain’t Got No Corn for Sell…

One thing that I quickly learned is that people in the big city are always in a hurry and couldn’t care two cents how you are doing. So no eye contact, awkward smiles, small talk and frequent waves to people you don’t know. You go where you need to go, say what you need to say and look down while you walk.

In my seven years in Raleigh, I never once saw a bunch of older folks rocking away the afternoon at a gas station or anyone just sharing a sunset, sweet iced tea and a front porch for that matter. So act important! No sitting around…for any reason. This was a hard-learned lesson for me. The first thing I did when I moved into my apartment complex was go knock on my neighbors’ doors. Don’t do this.