Observations of southern Georgia…here are a few things I noticed while Coleen and I were RVing outside a small town in southern Georgia. We were there for several months, so had a chance to get to know the people and learn about southern customs, especially in rural Georgia.
People are generally very friendly and polite. They use ma’am and sir, sorry, excuse me, and please. They are pleased to meet you, and wish you a good day. It’s not uncommon for the cashier to wish you a blessed day. That isn’t going happen too often in Los Angeles.
Their terms and euphemisms that are truly southern. You don’t push a cart in the grocery store; you push a buggy. Things aren’t expensive; they want three prices for them. You don’t plug in your toaster; you plug up your toaster. You don’t take your wife out to eat; you carry your wife out to eat. (I’ll say there are some very strong men in the south, and leave it to that.)
Speaking of buggy, yes it is buggy. There are bugs less than half the size of the periods on this page, and they get bigger from there. They are varied in color and size. They creep, fly, and crawl; some bite; and others eat things. Most are a nuisance, while some are a bigger nuisance. Everyone has bugs, even fine upscale homes, where the lady of the house claims they have none. These homes have a contract with the exterminator, who discretely parks behind the garage out of site of the neighbors when he makes his monthly visit.
Vehicle turn signals must be optional, with many residents choosing not to use that option. Like everywhere else, people are in a hurry, but not quite so much on the rural roads in the south.
When you eat out down south, you don’t just have the option of choice of potato and the vegetable of the day -- you get two, or maybe three, sides. There maybe eight or more to chose from, with choices like tomato pie, cabbage, okra (fried, stewed with tomatoes, or just plain), greens (collards, mustard, or turnip), pineapple casserole, scalloped corn, sweet creamed corn, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, sliced tomatoes, and rice and gravy.
I didn’t forget grits and cheese grits. Grits are a staple in the south, like potatoes are in the north. It’s proper to eat grits with any meal. I recently overheard a man saying he was going home to make fruit grits. He cooks them in cream, with apricots, raisins, and apples. He was lamenting the fact that it was too early in the season for fresh apricots from his trees, and he would have to use some he put up last year.
Nope, I didn’t forget beans either. Purple hulled, butters, baby limas, large limas, blackeyes, pink, red, and navy, and lots of others.
There are just about as many different beans in the south as there bugs.
There are lots more things that make the south a truly special place: watermelon fields, sports, peanuts, cotton, bar-b-que, and the slow movement of just about everybody and everything, during the hot, sultry summer.
One of the great things about RVing is the different, places, cultures, foods, and customs of the many varied regions of this great United States. If you’ve never spent time in the south, it’s time to enjoy the experience. If you have, it’s time to visit again.
Editor's note: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article sharing some of his observations of southern Georgia. The culture, language, and people of the southeast are very special. We are thoroughly enjoying the friendship and hospitality, as well as the food and other customs of this area.