40 Things Only Southerners Will Understand

Someone once said that when you visit the South, you need a translator

Geographically speaking, anyone north of Kentucky and west of Texas won’t have a clue what we’re talking about. But if you were born or raised in the South, or travel for an extended period of time, you most definitely will relate to these 40 things.

Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Y’all better believe “y’all” is a word.

2. And y’all better believe we understand grammar just fine. But some things are tradition.

3. You know everyone in town—and all their cousins.

4. And if you need to know anything about any one of ’em, just ask Margene down at the hair parlor.

My Old Kentucky Home © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. A true Southerner knows that “fixin’” can be a noun, a verb, or adverb.

6. You know the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption, and that you don’t “have” them, you “pitch ‘em.”

7. Grits aren’t just a breakfast staple. They’re a potluck mainstay when smothered with cheese and baked in a 9 x 13.

Related: 5 Things I Learned While RVing The American South

8. Y’all know, with absolute certainty, that anything can be fried, eaten, and enjoyed.

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9. You like to fry everything—fried bananas, fried shrimp, fried chicken, and especially hush puppies, which are the best!

10. Favorite Foods. Cornbread, biscuits and gravy, turkey dressing (not stuffing!), peach cobbler, grits, collard greens, fried okra, jambalaya, and jumbo, and of course, irresistibly rich chocolate cake topped with pecans and more chocolate.

11. A meal without collard greens is no meal at all. It’s a staple of the South, and don’t you forget it.

12. And, yes, we ask for hot sauce at every meal.

Mississippi Welcome Center © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

13. You know tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food, and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

14. Sweet tea is the only kind of tea. Get out of here with your unsweetened crap.

15. You could never and should never ring in the New Year without having some black-eyed peas. These good luck charms are the only way to make it the best year possible.

16. Honey, sugar, dumpling, pumpkin, and sweetie pie are usually not referring to food.

GrandDaddy’s BBQ, Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

17. The squeak of a porch swing and the slam of a screen door will always make you feel at home.

18. Anything beyond the front door is the porch.

Related: Spotlight on South Carolina: Most Beautiful Places to Visit

19. Which is where you like to have your tea, ice-cold, and sweet. (And your gossip hot.)

20. It’s not that we’ve partied in a barn but that we party in barns.

Truth BBQ, Brennan, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

21. With or without moonshine. Usually with. Shhh…it’s delicious with apple juice and simple syrup.

22. We take our whiskey and bourbon very seriously.

23. We’re able to orient ourselves based on which church is on what corner.

24. You know someone of nearly every denomination. You’ve got your Lutherans, your Catholics, your Baptists, your Presbyterians, your Methodists…seriously, the list goes on and on.

Woodford Reserve Distillery, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

25. It’s not a shopping cart, it’s a buggy.

26. Here’s the thing: In the South, football is a lifestyle. From tailgating to the food to the family atmosphere, it’s more than just a game.

27. College sports rivalries are a religion to us. You’re a Tarheel or you’re a Blue Devil. It’s ‘Bama or Auburn. There is no in-between.

28. We will drive hours on a Saturday to go to the big college game day—even as adults, even if we didn’t technically go to that college.

Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

29. Speaking of manners, you were grounded multiple times as a kid for forgetting your “yes ma’am”s and “yes sir”s.

30. Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between “right near” and “a right far piece.” They also know that “just down the road” can be 1 mile or 20.

31. Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines. We don’t do “queues,” we do “lines”; and when we’re “in line,” we talk to everybody!

32. It is courteous to hold the door open for someone, even if they’re 20 feet away.

The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden, Kerrville, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

33. An inch of snow can shut down a whole state.

34. No summer is complete without a big ol’ crawfish boil and a family game of cornhole.

35. Catching lightning bugs in mason jars was one of your favorite childhood pastimes.

36. Along with falling asleep to the sweet lullaby of cricket chirps and toad croaks.

Waterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

37. You’re not ashamed to admit it: You definitely own some camo.

38. And, no, you’re not afraid to get a little mud on your tires. Or your boots.

39. Don’t even think about scheduling something on a Sunday because everything’s closed except church.

40. But if you want to stop by for some biscuits later, just holler!

Ambrosia Bakery, Baton Rouge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff, bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin’ to have classes on Southernness as a second language!

And for those that are not from the South but have lived here for a long time, ya’ll need a sign to hang on ya’lls front porch that reads “I ain’t from the South but I got here as fast as I could.”

Boone Tavern Hotel, Berea, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bless your hearts, ya’ll have a blessed day.

Worth Pondering…

Y’all come back now, ya hear?