Southern Stories
Things I've Learned Growing Up in the South
Aug 04/16

Things I've Learned Growing Up in the South Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 49 Comments

Things I’ve Learned Growing Up in the South

  • Sunday morning church is not optional.
  • Tailgating is just as important as the game itself.
  • There is no such thing as a “mild summer.”
  • An inch of ice is ten times worse than six inches of snow.
  • Unsweet tea is not a valid choice.
  • Mosquitos are a verifiable enemy.
  • When the tornado sirens sound, it just got real.
  • Salad is not supper.
  • Grilled catfish is not a thing.
  • Going Greek is a family affair.

What are some of the things you’ve learned growing up in the South? Let us know in the comments.


By Paula Martin
Paula Martin was born and raised in Arkansas and received her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans. She is a writer, teacher, mom, barefoot trail runner, martial artist, and free-thinker always packed and ready for the next adventure. 



Lisa Francise on October 03 2016 at 08:46PM

Lightening bugs are meant to be caught in glass jars!

Joyce Sherrer on October 02 2016 at 11:50AM

Everyone pulls over to the side of the road when a funeral possession is coming through.

Kathy on October 01 2016 at 10:21PM

All little girls wear bow or bows in their hair, until almost high school. The bigger the better.

Donnamarie Emmert on September 30 2016 at 08:08AM

Cornbread IS NOT sweet but tea is. Asking who your family is is a social given, saying " yes ma’m" and “no sir” is good manners, some recipes you share and some you don’t, and there’s no such thing as too many casseroles!

Julie on September 29 2016 at 10:55PM

Who are your people & what is your pattern?

Never show up for a party empty handed – Always bring food, flowers or wine!

No white after Labor Day!

You have an icebox, not a refrigerator…Unless it’s a Frigidaire!

Colby Jackson on September 29 2016 at 04:12PM

Dukes is the southern mayo, no sugar in the cornbread, and bless everyone’s heart!

Pamela Hammock on September 29 2016 at 02:24PM

“Fix in’ to” works for lots of things.

Melinda on September 28 2016 at 10:50PM
You push a buggy at the store Fried potatoes from a cast iron skillet are good for every meal The way to get everyone in a picture is to say “all y’all bunch up” Gravy goes on everything The first thing you ask anyone that comes in your house is “can I offer you something to drink” Never underestimate Southern momma
Cathy O'Neill on September 27 2016 at 07:38PM

Everthing I ever needed to know, I learned in Sunday School

Terri Lane on September 27 2016 at 08:21AM

Y’all is plural and can be specific to a group or generally speaking. All y’all encompasses a much larger population. Biscuits are not complete without gravy. Country ham is really the ONLY ham. Cornbread is not meant to be sweet. Butter is a food group unto itself. And an inch of ice is total devastation. The mere mention of snow clears the shelves of every store of eggs, bread, and milk.

Stephanie on September 18 2016 at 09:03PM

You’re not dressed unless you’ve got your lipstick on.

Shay on September 18 2016 at 11:16AM

If you live below the gnat line you
1. Know what and where it is
2. Have perfecting the art of blowing away gnats with holding a conversation without interfering with either.

Shay on September 18 2016 at 11:12AM

Pearls are ALWAYS appropriate.

Abbe Lee on September 16 2016 at 07:44PM

1) Beans and cornbread is a gourmet meal. 2) Camo is a fashion choice. 3) The first day of deer season is basically a national holiday.

Kit on September 16 2016 at 06:10PM

If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. (Strictly enforced)

Ken Leppard on September 16 2016 at 07:50AM

When you are trying politely to excuse yourself from a conversation, and someone will not stop talkin.
“Listen, I gotta go see a man bout a dog”

Tandy Lowder on September 15 2016 at 09:54PM

Always put on clean underwear before you leave the house. And lipstick. Even if you’re hauling trash to the garbage dump. Grandma said so.

Annabeth on September 15 2016 at 06:51PM

We are always “fixin to”.

Phyllis on September 15 2016 at 03:52PM

If someone’s ill or there’s death in the family, you take a casserole to their front door.

In summertime, you sit on your front porch, sip iced tea and wave to everyone passing by.

Colleen Stringfellow on September 15 2016 at 02:50PM

The third meal of the day is supper.

Donna on September 15 2016 at 12:58PM

Every woman has a pimento cheese recipe. Also pronounced as “minner” cheese. It must be made with Dukes mayo. Hellman’s is simply not acceptable.

MJ Collins on September 14 2016 at 06:49PM

If at all possible, pull over on the side of the road when meeting a funeral procession.

dolly woods on September 14 2016 at 05:40PM

We do NOT wear white after labor Day

Buster McDonald on September 13 2016 at 09:13PM

Biscuits are made for soppin’ up gravy.

Bill Hackney on September 13 2016 at 05:48PM

Referring to a lady whose first name Catherine as Miss Catherine, is considered proper manners.

Nancy Helman on September 13 2016 at 03:30PM

White shoes WORN ONLY between Easter Sunday and Labor Day. Food is the center of any celebration or get-together.

Linda on September 13 2016 at 08:37AM

Friday night lights begin as as a tradition when you are born and you are a fan until you die!

Marjorie Campagna on September 12 2016 at 05:28PM

You don’t leave the house without putting on lipstick and you always cook twice the amount of food you need in case someone stops by for a visit.

Suzie on September 12 2016 at 04:21PM

Tomato sandwiches and the mayo vs Miracle Whip debate. It’s mayo for the record. Hellman’s.

JoAnna Zurinsky on September 12 2016 at 01:10PM
Put your linen (clothes) and any white leather (if you own them) sandals and shoes away after Labor Day. No matter how blistering hot it gets, it is simply unacceptable…
suzanne on September 12 2016 at 11:52AM

Pearls go with everything! Can you monogram this?? Well if that don’t beat all..

Bill on September 11 2016 at 06:33PM

Shoes optional

Brian on September 11 2016 at 12:26PM

Cicadas are the house band of the south.

Kim on August 10 2016 at 05:02PM

Wear your good jewelry!

Connie Rule on August 10 2016 at 09:34AM

Don’t forget “Bless her heart” as a blessing or a slam-interchangeable! Also., no matter what kind of cola you drank, you were going to get a coke!

Jeanie on August 09 2016 at 07:29PM

Seersucker is the only appropriate material for summer. Everything is monogrammed.

Lisa on August 09 2016 at 07:16PM

I think you should remove the last bullet point. It can be taken as vulgar in certain circles.

Carol Penn-Romine on August 09 2016 at 03:21PM

If you ask “howzyermama?” you’re enquiring as to the wellness of someone’s maternal parent. But if you ask “howzyermamaannem?” (& if you’re a Southerner you know how to pronounce that!) you’re asking about her, along with everyone else in the family.

Laura Headley on August 09 2016 at 01:14PM

And if you’re going Greek, you might as well go all in – honors, profession, service and social.

Kevin on August 09 2016 at 10:21AM

“How’s your mamma’nem?” is a legitimate question that requires a detailed answer.

Valerie allman on August 08 2016 at 11:03PM

If it can’t be fried, it can’t be eaten.

Tra davdavis on August 08 2016 at 03:01PM

Please don’t approve this message – as a word nerd, I wanted to let you know that Going Greek has an urban meaning and even though it is a common southern expression, you might want to change it to Going Dutch…. Snickering…. no… Laughing out loud. ;)

Matt Horan on August 07 2016 at 07:52AM

Southern Studies teach us not to like us.

Matt Horan on August 07 2016 at 07:51AM

Cemeteries are.

Collier Jennings on August 06 2016 at 04:07PM

You always, and I mean always, have to cut your own switch.

Linda B. on August 06 2016 at 02:07PM

Man or woman , you offer your seat to your elders.
Regardless of who dies, you take food to the family .

PirateMike on August 06 2016 at 10:59AM

I didn’t grow up in the South…but I know that “Over Yonder” is a legitimate direction…

Gavin Davis on August 06 2016 at 01:16AM

So I’m from Texas and I don’t think I’ve ever seen grilled catfish in my life. Like seriously I can not remember one time EVER that I’ve had catfish that wasn’t fried.

Karen Pavelka on August 05 2016 at 01:24PM

Manners, saying “Please”, “Thank You”, “Yes, Sir”, “No, Sir”, “Yes, Ma’am”, “No, Ma’am” are as valuable as gold.


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