Moving to Mississippi… continued

This is a continuation on my expansion of the 26 Things To Know About Mississippi Before You Move There article that I’m referencing, as points 1 & 2 took an entire post to discuss.  The rest should fit here.

Magnolia grandiflora; the state flower of Mississippi

#3: Yes, it’s true that the summers are long and that the winters barely make an appearance, the rest of the description doesn’t quite explain weather in Mississippi.  Perhaps the average high in summer is 81… in north Mississippi.  But down in the southern extreme of the state the last time we see 81 degrees is in April.  From the end of May through the end of September it is in the mid to high 90’s.  The humidity is through the roof and most people stay indoors during the day if they’re able.  The humidity is relatively high all through the year.  In winter, here, the average temperature is in the lower 40s, but with the humidity, the cold seeps through to your bones and is a cold you can’t seem to shake off.  The humidity is in the 90’s during summer & feels about like taking a damp, wool blanket out of the hot dryer, throwing it over your head and walking through warm pudding.  It’s not nice.

#’s 4, 5, & 21:  Football… ugh.  I will agree that most of the state is absolutely insane over football.  I don’t see the appeal.  I’m not alone, but I think we are few and far between.  I have heard that Mississippians never route for a home team except during championships between Ole Miss and State.  I couldn’t tell you much more as I have absolutely no interest in football.  I don’t even know why USM (are they calling it Southern Miss now for sports?) isn’t a contender in football between the other two major universities, but it isn’t.  Though Saturdays in this town during football season, you don’t leave the house because everyone’s here for games at my university.  As for Brett Favre, I don’t care about him either, but there is a drive under the side of the USM stadium with former players and he used to attend this university and play football here, because his name is on a flag there.  Also, he lives about ten minutes from my house.  It’s not a secret if you live in this town.  I’ll even tell you.  In Hattiesburg, go west on Hardy Street/HWY 98.  Once you pass the community of Bellevue, look to the left.  There is a fence that’s got to be 50 miles long on the side of the highway with fancy rich people lighting.  That’s him.  You are welcome.

#6: Ah, religion.  I have to agree again that most people here are very religious.  Christian religions, but mainly Southern Baptist.  In my town there are also four Catholic churches, two Presbyterian, two Methodist, two Episcopalian, two Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), one Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness, and Seventh Day Adventist.  But probably ten Baptist churches.  I remember one moving from downtown to a place near where the new mall was opening.  Their thinking was people would leave the mall and suddenly want to worship.  Sure…  Also there are two Jewish synagogues and Unitarian Universalist.

As to whether or not most of the Christians are following the rules of Christianity?  That’s another question altogether.  The Mississippi state governor does not follow the rule of LOVE everyone, as he has a war on women and the LGBT community.  But, several towns and cities in Mississippi (including mine) have made it a town/city law that LGBT peoples are to be included and protected under the law, not discriminated against.  There are lots of people fighting for equal rights for all who do not have them, including the right to marry.  Me?  I’m not religious.  I was raised Catholic, but can’t get behind what most Christians stand for, when they shout about people persecuting them or not loving everyone.

#7:  Language is a tricky thing.  As the writer of the article stated, “Now, keep in mind that the different areas of Mississippi don’t all sound the same…” and that is very true.  Their rules, while they might be true of certain people in certain area’s it is not a common enough thing to say that just about everyone in Mississippi says things this way.  How’s yer mamma’nem, for example is regional to the area’s near New Orleans and south-east Louisiana.  It is said along the Mississippi Gulf Coast up into my town, but not everyone says this.  By the way, it means how is everyone, as in your family.  Not everyone in Mississippi says y’all, though that is probably what you’ll hear the most.  Not everyone says fixin’ta either.

#8: Hunting and fishing are prevalent in Mississippi.  I’d wager that more people are hunting than they are fishing.  It is certainly based on area.  Anytime I’m along the Miss River, I don’t see people fishing out of it.  The old path of the Miss River, yep, people will fish that.  Lots of people fish along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  My relatives are not from here, but from the delta of Arkansas.  They are river fishing people.  They ended up in Mississippi and my father stayed, though my grandparents, aunt and uncle settled in a town on the Miss River.  The lakes I visit rarely have people fishing on them, even during perfect fishing times.  Perhaps this is a thing in central and northern Mississippi.  It’s not common around here to see fishing equipment in the back of somebody’s truck, but droves of people wear camo anything and everything year round, when hunting seasons open it gets a little crazy, the hunting departments of stores always have people in them, the fishing?  Not so much.  I don’t oppose hunting, if the hunter is respectful, but those people are hard to find.  They usually like to shoot a lot of deer, waste the meat, get the head taxidermied and mounted to hang on their walls, over-kill the population.  I can’t abide those hunters.  Fishing is quite relaxing and rather nice.  It’s the quite and the cast and reel that’s going on.  I do hate keeping the fish though.

#9:  Hunting.  I’ve already hit on this.  Yes, it is a huge deal for some reason.  But there is at least 25% of the population who doesn’t hunt, myself and just about everyone I know included.  Hell, my father owns camo and rifles and goes out to our land to hunt during the season, but he ends up reading his Sci-Fi books in the quiet calm of the early morning and watches the deer instead, should they show up.  I love that about him.

I do not know a lot of people who hunt, or even know how to handle a gun… and I know a lot of people.  The one’s that do know how to handle a gun did not learn until they were at least a teenager, though they were all taught that guns are dangerous and to never, ever touch one, or point one at someone.  My sister and I both know how to shoot guns, but we’re not fond of guns.  I like knives and swords from a collector & mild interest standpoint, but not guns.

We Mississippians do like to grill out though.  Our college boy neighbours were grilling out a few months ago, when it was cold and rainy.  Grilling out and BBQ is a thing we really like to do.

#10: This one is about spot on.  Catfish is huge in Mississippi.  We love deep-fried catfish battered in cornmeal.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say everyone, but about 90% of the population would be about accurate.  A typical fish fry would be cornmeal battered catfish, french fries, hushpuppies, coleslaw and dill pickles.  Or are the dill pickles an Arkansas fish fry thing?

#11:  I’m going to wager a guess that the writer of that article isn’t from round these parts.  Want to know the glaring inaccuracy?  They rhymed pecan with the world can.  You just know they’re pronouncing it pee-CAN.  No one, who is originally from any part of Mississippi would pronounce it that way.  Here it is pronounced puh-KHAN.  Everything else is about accurate, though the pralines and cajun fried peanuts are local to this area near New Orleans and south-eastern Louisiana.

#12: It is very true that James Earl Jones was born in Arkabutla.  It is also very true that because he is so awesome and badass that most Mississippians want to claim him.  However, Mr. James Earl Jones, like Oprah Winfrey, do not want to claim Mississippi.  Yes, it’s cool knowledge, but one can’t really base anything off of it, considering those two in question don’t consent to be claimed by Mississippi.

#13: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog are perfectly OK to claim.  Jim Henson only spent the early part of his life in his birthplace of Leland (outside of Greenville), before his family moved up north, but he didn’t have a problem saying that he was born in Mississippi.  There is even a Muppet/Kermit museum there.

#14: Yes, it’s true that Elvis Presley was born and raised in Tupelo.  His birth place home is a museum now.  But, nobody cares, they all want to see Graceland.

#15: Coca Cola was first bottled in Vicksburg.  Barq’s Root beer was first created in Biloxi (that’s buh-lux-ee, not BI-LOX-ee, just so you know), I believe.  Well, somewhere on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

#16: Crawfish is also regional to this area because of south-eastern Louisiana.  Boiled crawfish as found its way to the northern parts of Mississippi and other regions of the south, but here the boil is spicy and you most definitely suck the heads.

#17: Never heard of any of this.  Must be a central/northern thing.  But what I do know, that should have been on this list are Delta Tamales.  Originally from the Delta area of Mississippi, they made their way down the river to Natchez.  Having family there, I’ve enjoyed them my entire life.  Now there is a place that sells them here locally.  They are the best tamales I have ever had in my entire life… and I’ve tried a lot of tamales.

#18: Jimmy Buffet was pretty popular around here in the ’90’s, but I honestly have no idea if people in this state still love him or not.

#19: Christmas is, indeed, a big deal here.  Even among people who are not particularly religious.  There are parades and most people go to them.  And I think people just really like trees and twinkle lights.  I know my family and I adore Christmas just for the trees, twinkle lights and smells.

#20: The Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs is very lovely.  There are two portions to the park; the section in Ocean Springs, and one in Florida.  Both are nice, though the Florida one has loads of Saw Palmetto’s, but this article is about Mississippi.  I always enjoyed going there.  The portion we go to looks more like a bay, in that you can not see the open ocean, which I suppose it technically is the way the land loops back in front of it.  But it’s very woody, very swampy and nice and relaxing.  I’ve never seen an alligator out there, but they are there.  I usually see cranes and other coastal birds and squirrels.

#22:  Biloxi does have a seafood festival.  Also considering most people are of the catholic religion there, they have the Blessing of the Fleets, when shrimp season opens up.  It’s what it sounds like; a Catholic priest (possibly even the diocesean bishop) blesses the fishermen and their boats to encourage good hauls.

Seafood markets in my area are not bad places to get fresh seafood at good prices, but the best place to obtain fresh seafood is right off the boat.  I always enjoyed driving to the coast, getting on the boats and dad buying ice chests full of fresh shrimp.  I also enjoyed that when we arrived back home, we would go through all of the shrimp, pulling the heads off and bagging them for freezing.  So many awesome little creatures that were also caught in the nets like crabs and squids.

In high school I went to a science camp on the coast and one of our field trips was on a shrimp boat.  It was actually pretty nice.  Don’t get me wrong, it was messy.  The owners of the boats wear thigh high waders and raw shrimp are a bit slimy and the deck of the boat gets slimy, but I found it to be quite peaceful.  I thought if I ever went into the seafood industry that’s what I would do.

#23: I honestly don’t know if chicken and waffles is a Mississippi masterpiece.  It’s certainly not our creation, though it is available on menu’s now.  Two places in this town.  It is good, but even if one fancies it up, we can’t really claim chicken and waffles.

#24: Cruisin’ on the Coast is a big deal.  Sadly I’ve never been to it, though I have been to the Petite Jean, Arkansas car show several times in my life.

#25: This is quite misleading.  I know otherwise, but this point still makes me think that the only place in the state to find art is in Ocean Springs.  Yes, they are huge for art, but then most places in Mississippi are.  There are loads of artists, craftsmen, and art museums.  Really, this point should have just said that Mississippi is a very artistic state.  There are artists, crafts people and museums all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as just about every other region in Mississippi.  There is even a fine art museum in Laurel, which is north of me.  They get loans from major art museums.  My town’s not too shabby on the arts circuit, either.  It’s all over the place, from the large cities to the tiny towns.  Really you just can’t throw a rock here without hitting something pertaining to art.

#26: Mississippians are pretty friendly, and most have great manners.  Though this is not true for everyone.  I’m not even including people who have relocated here from other places either.  I’ve encountered a lot of born Mississippians who are complete assholes.  Yes, you’ll meet a lot of friendly and nice people, but it’s like anywhere else and you will always encounter not so friendly people.

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