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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 | 77 Comments

We loved growing up in the south.  "Bless your Heart", "Sweet Tea", Football, Family, & Church.  A dear friend who is now a Southern Ex-patriate reflected on her sweet time of southern upbringing and shared with us her list of  "Things I Learned Growing Up in the South."  We agree with our dear friend.  Enjoy, comment, and share upon her reflections. 

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  • Sunday morning church is not optional.
  • Tailgating is just as important as the game itself.
  • If I didn't hear "Bless Your Heart" at least 5 times a week, something was amiss 
  • 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.



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  • Mosquitos are a verifiable enemy.
  • When the tornado sirens sound, it just got real.
  • Pearls go with absolutely everything.
  • They started us young with Friday Night Lights, then we needed rehab when our  College Team team lost on a Saturday. 
  • Salad is not supper.
  • Grilled catfish is not a thing.
  • Going Greek is a family affair.



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  • As unpleasant an experience as it is, you are required to cut your own switch. 
  • In some states the first day of Deer Season is considered a national holiday. 
  • Expression of your manners; "thank you", "yes sir", "yes ma'm" are a reflection of your parents & upbringing. 
  • There is no such thing as "grilled" catfish.
  • Everyone had a crazy relative who dabbled with a whiskey still. 
  • Everything, and we mean everything is monogrammed. 



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  • Regardless of who dies or how well you knew them, you take food to their house. 
  • "Over Yonder" is actually a place. 
  • Every respectable Southern Woman has a secret pimento cheese recipe
  • If you can add some bacon to Beans and Cornbread it's considered a gourmet meal. 




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  • You actually drive by and even sometimes visit cemeteries. 
  • Always carry and extra stick of lipstick in each purse
  • Camo is a fashion choice. 
  • Every kitchen has a wooden lazy susan


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


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marilyn on February 26 2017 at 08:15AM

No matter where you are going or how late you are, if a funeral procession is coming you STOP in the road to pay honor to the dead and respect to the family. You don’t have to know the person, someday it will be you or your family.

Jeannie Charlene on February 26 2017 at 04:48AM

We have polecats not skunks. If ya roll in the grass ya gona git chiggers. We’re all slap happy. Keep a black snake in ya barn. Red eye gravy, country ham, eggs over medium with biscuits to sop the yellow are for breakfast. Snack between breakfast and lunch consist of making a hole in left over biscuits with thumb and pour cane patch syrup in or sopping syrup and butter mixture with biscuits. Onions go with everything including onion sandwiches. Cocola is any kind of carbonated drink. Everybody has a dog. aint cha gona isn’t a question, if ya momma says it ya better get to it. Everybody has a Granny and Paw Paw, Ant and Uncle. Ruttabeggers , dried butter beans cornbread fried chicken was Sunday lunch. Cornbread – n – buttermilk slice of onion is a meal. Back in my childhood you brought your family member home to rest not a funeral home. WOW memory’s. Blessings are asked before every meal and say your Prayers before bed. Yes Mam no Mam or Sir is a given.

Janie on February 26 2017 at 12:57AM

If you can’t say something nice, you don’t say nothing a’tall. Y’all go out’n play. You can’t cook without bacon grease. Sweet tea with lemon. Honey hush, cornbread ain’t sweet, y’all. “Gimme some sugar” means I need a little peck on the cheek. Dinner at noon and supper at 5:00. Cathead biscuits any time of day. Homemade nanner pudding is expected for every holiday or social event. Decoration day is when tombstones are cleaned and flowers are placed on the graves. Dolly Parton, Pat Summit, and Peyton Manning are recognized as national heroes.

Shauncee on February 01 2017 at 07:58PM

“Cut on the light”, “cut on the water”.

Bill Acuff on January 27 2017 at 01:27PM

Dressing (stuffing) is made with cornbread and not light bread.
Fried green tomatoes.
Y’all be particular. (Be careful)
Onion and mayo or miracle whip sandwiches.

Sherri Agner on January 26 2017 at 07:58PM

A threat is “I’ll cut your water to a drip”,
And if you are upset you’re “all tore up”
Southerners are always polite even if they don’t like you!

Joe on January 26 2017 at 11:56AM

You don’t spit against the wind

James Gaddy on January 25 2017 at 01:48PM

From Texas and have family in SC, NC, Georgia, Virginia and always use Duke’s mayo, address elders as Mr., Mrs., I wear bow ties and monogrammed clothing, and after Church, fried chicken luncheon with all the traditional fixins and iced tea.

Ruth on January 24 2017 at 10:56PM

Fried corn ain’t what it sounds like, dinner on the ground is a legitimate church function, every human hears “Shut the damn door” 100 times a day between April and November because air conditioning is expensive and necessary for survival, funerals are a social function, pets are family, and yo mama an’ ‘em includes the whole family. Y’all is always plural. All y’all is a bigger group. I know, on account of I taught English. Lol.

Delaine Henry on January 24 2017 at 10:30AM

These are great! Being from South Louisiana means a whole different level of southern. While we have manners and respect our elders, drink sweet tea and love the SEC, we also think frogging should be a national sport, boiled crawfish a national dish, and Mardi Gras a national holiday. We, too believe food is the center of every gathering, and everyday the sun comes up is an occasion to celebrate. We don’t need fancy, we just need family. Swamp People are real, and they are us, our family, and our friends. We are at home everywhere with everyone, and we will welcome you and make you feel the same. We love good music and beer and to pass a good time, and If you don’t automatically ask for (and receive) a go cup when you leave the bar, you are not far enough south.

Tom on January 22 2017 at 06:51PM

I don’t live in the south anymore, but this really takes me home. And as close as it is in some ways, the southwest is not the south

Alison Roberts on January 18 2017 at 10:50AM

Hand written thank you notes on monogrammed stationary.

Kathryn on January 12 2017 at 11:48PM

“I don’t know nothin bout birthing no babies!”

Lisa Francise on October 03 2016 at 08:46PM

Lightening bugs are meant to be caught in glass jars!

penny on October 03 2016 at 10:00AM

Manners are not optional, We say Grace, respect your elders, Resect each other, Never mess with a Southern Woman’s kids, Stand and place your hand over your heart for National Anthem, Patriotism is taught, we never meet a stranger, food is the center for all events—Marriages, births, deaths, post tornado grill offs (because you have no power for days and that food in the freezer will just go bad other wise) When we refer to mixed marriage we are talking about Sec teams not races, such as We have a mixed marriage—my husband is a Bama fan and I am a Tennessee Volunteer Fan. The rest of the country thinks we are uneducated because we talk with a draw. (they are only jealous! )

Shanon Horridge on October 02 2016 at 01:04PM

Alabama natives..1. Roll Tide is a daily greeting to all you meet. 2. Cheese in grits is Not an option 3. Homemade biscuits and dark cane syrup fresh from the cane 4. Crab gumbo made by my great granny 5. Make sure you rainch them dishes good before you put em up 6. A switch in my world is NOT a change, its what your momma whoops you with 7. Yes sir and no ma’am. 8. Adults are addressed as Mr Or Miss before their name 9. Dinner is at noon, supper is at 5 #10….Piggly Wiggly nuff said….. Roll Tide

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.

Charlotte Austin on October 01 2016 at 01:59PM

Hush your mouth! Get outta here! Both express disbelief.
Johnny cake is not cornbread. Hot Cornbread is placed in cold milk for supper. Onion is optional to taste.

Dottie on October 01 2016 at 12:40PM

Well Bless your heart is interchangeable…can be good or bad. Always take good to the family of the deceased( there will always be at least one chocolate sheet cake with pecans, it’s standard for funerals) Friday Night Lights is a big social event…the whole town goes. When company is leaving your home you will here " y’all cone back now…you hear". When you take food to a gathering of any kind. .you NEVER take anything store bought…it has to be HOMEMADE!

Belle Coffell on October 01 2016 at 08:29AM

Y’all, no offense but the “Going Greek” comment is perfectly acceptable and it is a family affair….I loved the Greek life. ADPi forever?

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!

Anna on September 30 2016 at 07:21AM

I live in Southeast Georgia and we do not use Going Greek here. Have no idea what it means. Now going Dutch means everyone pays their own bill at a restaurant get together.

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!

Dawn on September 29 2016 at 03:30PM

VBS at every church in town is a legitimate summer childcare plan.

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

Debbie on September 27 2016 at 11:59AM

Remove “going Greek”, NOT common Southern.
Catfish is NOT grilled! Fried!!!!
Always hold the door for the person behind you.

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.

Linawell on September 21 2016 at 12:20AM

The Civil War is NOT over!!

Sandra on September 20 2016 at 02:27PM

Going Greek means ONLY that you are expected to pledge the same sorority that your mother , aunts grandmother and cousins did. If your Grandmothrt pledged Tri-felt then you are a legacy and you pledge them too.

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.

Heidi on September 17 2016 at 09:06PM

When your momma or granny tells you ‘They about to snatch you ball headed if you don’t straighten up!’

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.

Stacey Massengale on September 15 2016 at 12:29AM

“WhatI’dJust Say” was not a rhetorical question that required an answer….when the hands went up in the air and Momma said that’s it I’m done it was time to hug your friends goodbye cause you were ’bout to die….let me see/hear you do that one more time was not a challenge….

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

Karen Parrish on September 14 2016 at 04:04PM

God don’t like ugly.

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!

Kristin Willis on September 12 2016 at 08:08PM
Front porch sitting is considered a common practice, and iced tea is served on a tray in a pitcher with glasses! Pull over for a funeral procession!Be a gracious host, feed your guests! And meat and potatoes with every meal! Fold fitted sheets, it’s an art and iron clothes! And for the love of sweet baby Jesus, respect your elders and stand up with your hand over your heart for The National Anthem and The Pledge of Allegiance!
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.

DeWayne Donaldson on September 10 2016 at 07:19PM

The plural of “you all” is “all you all”!

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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