Among the great things about the deep South is that we have grits, the best college football in the land and very little snow.
Think about it. If a Southeastern Conference team doesn’t win the national championship, it will leave claw marks on whoever does.
And we love our grits. A lot of people make fun of us about that, but have you ever tried to let cream of wheat get cold and then play Frisbee with it?
And yes, it will snow occasionally, but most of the time it doesn’t stick or else it’s gone in just a few days.
I’ve often said in this column that life is about perspective. And even though we complain about how cold it’s been the last few days, it hardly immobilizes us south of Macon, and in a few days us country boys will be back running nets in the creek.
Recently, I had a friend from Illinois tell me how much he spends every year on snow removal. I was shocked. Another friend told me about being on a team of workers who had to go to Nebraska on a project, and as soon as they got there, a blizzard hit. They were snowed in for two weeks. He said it was the most boring two weeks of his life. He said there wasn’t much to do but diagram sentences and debate the rules of hopscotch.
And given that a few on their team were mostly monosyllabic, the challenge of diagramming sentences and conjugating verbs had very narrow parameters. But it was concluded, he said, that “grits” was “collective singular.”
In other words, people from the deep South know that you don’t order just one grit. We have the technology, we just don’t do it.
Not only is life about perspective, it’s about things being relevant. I grew up in an old farm house with poor insulation, linoleum on the floors and a wood burning heater. Today, many people would call that a camphouse. So when we got freezing temperatures, it seemed a lot colder to me back then than the same thermometer reading today. It gets just as cold as it did when I was a kid, but the fact that the bathroom is not 50 yards from the house does help me put it all into better perspective. You see, reading a Sears and Roebuck catalogue with your teeth chattering is really poor ambiance.
I once attended a meeting in Point Claire, Ala., just across the bay from Mobile. It was early April, and a colleague of mine from Indiana said only two weeks prior he had shoveled the last snow from his driveway. So I said, “Welcome to God’s country.”
Of course we were in Alabama so I reminded him that God did have a sense of humor. He gave us Selma and fire ants. (I once would have added my beloved Atlanta Falcons to that list, but I’m cutting them much more slack these days.)
There is irony in the fact that we like to talk about the weather as much as we talk about politics. And we can’t do much about either one. We can bundle up for the cold and brace for the incompetence.
Even if we don’t farm, we want to know how much it rained. Even if we don’t deliver the mail, we want to know how muddy the roads are. And even though we know that any extreme cold seldom lasts in spurts of more than two weeks, we compare it to winters before.
All that said, I’m mostly a summer person. My rationale is that I can always find a shade tree, and the grits take longer to turn to Frisbees. Also, if my feet ever get really cold, I’m so miserable I can’t even diagram an Alabama sentence.
(P.S. I do have friends in Alabama, and they tell Georgia jokes.)
Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.