So, I’m assuming that anyone reading this might have heard of the website, Only In Your State. But, then it took a friend of mine to mention it to me only a few months ago, because I’d never heard of it, so perhaps you don’t. If you have read things in this blog, then I’m sure you know that I’m from Mississippi. I was born and raised here. Do I know all there is to know about this state? No. Do I pretend to? No.
I understand that this state, just like any state, is varied and diverse. I would never dare to say that such and such is a state-wide thing or that EVERYONE or ALL PEOPLE in this state do or love such and such. I’ve not been everywhere in my state, but I’ve been to enough places to know that it is all very different.
So, for the most part it really bothers me that some yankee girl who hadn’t been in the state for long, posts every single article for the Mississippi section of Only In Your State. It wouldn’t bother me, except for the fact that most of her posts are the same things over and over again, or that there are glaring generalizations in most of them. And for a few, complete misinformation, and when pointed out she doesn’t bother to correct. Why? Because I’m assuming that she thinks she’s correct, enough so to not take the word of someone who actually knows something about it. Poor sportsmanship, madam.
This is exactly the reason I don’t make lots of posts about Mississippi things, because there is only so much that I know; only so many places that I have explored and I’m not about to write down all these “facts” that I know nothing about. I’m not Walt Grayson for Christs sake… and neither is she. But she’s the one writing about everything that she’s probably never seen or experienced. When I write, I say, “OK this is what I know because I live here.” or “This is all that I know, that I personally experienced, but I can’t say it’s always this way… because I don’t know enough about it.” She seems to know everything about everything, though a lot of what she says is too generalized or is just plain incorrect.
01. I know quite a few people who have no qualms over buying boiled peanuts in a can. These people are not yankees who have moved here and made their home, nor are they from some other part of the world. They are born and raised Mississippians. Sure, those people would rather buy fresh boiled peanuts or make them at home, but if it’s not available, it’s simply not available and this is nothing to be ashamed about. Though I obviously can’t speak for everyone in Mississippi about this, or other points. If I know enough people from different regions of Mississippi, then this is not far-fetched.
02. Barring non Mississippians who later relocate here, This is true and also untrue. When I was growing up, if your family and your relatives were from Mississippi, as in your parents or relatives weren’t from another state, this was pretty spot on. Manners were a huge deal. You couldn’t back-talk or sass your elders. You had to obey any and all adults. You couldn’t cut-up or act a fool in public. You couldn’t slam doors. You couldn’t run around screaming. Or else you’d get a whippin. Most children that I knew or met or encountered or who happened to be dining at the same establishment, this is the world their parents were raising them in. It was a pretty wide-spread thing.
Today, not so much. I’m sure this is still a thing with people and in certain area’s. But most families that I know or encounter in various parts of the state, most kids get to do pretty much whatever they want and their parents don’t care. They won’t reprimand them, they won’t tell them to stop. There was one black lady at the Pizza Hut in my town. She and her four kids were dining there and she had a switch. And she kept saying, “If y’all don’t settle down you’re gonna get it!” She wasn’t angry or mean and she didn’t once hit her kids. She did parade them up to the pizza buffet using the switch to keep them in line. My sister and I though she was awesome. She wasn’t about to let her kids run around or jump on people or scream or any other such thing. And then I’ve seen white parents yank their kids up by the arm and beat the fuck out of them right there in the store because they said they wanted some candy. Some people are trying to get their kids to behave, some are tyrannical and scary, but most people I encounter just don’t even care.
03. Yes… and no. I think that yes, most people are probably like this. The people that I know that do go to church, this is pretty much how things run. But I also know a lot of people who do not go to church… at all. So… while it isn’t 100% as there are loads of people in this state that don’t attend any church, I think it’s probably pretty accurate for a lot of people, as they are church going folks.
04. Pretty much true. There are obviously health conscious people in the state, but barring them or the people who aren’t originally from here, most of the Mississippians that I meet save bacon grease and use it.
05. Yes and no. I have found that a lot of people are nice and do have manners, but that most of them do not. All over the state.
06. This is one that I can say is true. Just about anyone I’ve ever met, or any time I have encountered a funeral procession, people pull over and wait. There are license plates from all of the state that I have seen pull over, or I happen to be in a different section of the state. I’ve only encountered perhaps three or four cars in my entire 35 years who did not stop. In my family, we pull over, turn on our lights and have silent contemplation for the dead as they pass. It is permissible if you only stop, or if you only pull over and you don’t turn on your head lamps.
07. I will agree that hot tea is not the overall accepted norm in Mississippi. I will also agree that A LOT of people drink sweet iced tea. There are people that I know who aren’t from Mississippi & sweet iced tea is a huge thing for them. But there are a fair number of people who enjoy unsweetened iced tea, like my sister and I. And there are a fair number of people who do enjoy hot tea. Most of them aren’t from Mississippi or even the south, but a lot are. Hell, my family and entire extended family on my mother and my fathers side do not drink sweetened iced tea. Perhaps one time a year for a couple of them, but just it’s not a thing. And that is a lot of freaking people. Though granted my fathers family are from Arkansas and only his brother and sister live on the Miss/Lou border. But my mothers biological family? All Mississippi.
08. I have no idea what any of that means. My family is not into sports. My immediate family, that is. No sports at all for them. I enjoy a bit of non American Football or Rules Football, Hockey, Cricket, Squash… basically anything that is not American football, basketball or baseball. Apparently I make a terrible American and southerner. My paternal grandfather liked baseball, my fathers brother likes football and baseball. Most of his Arkansas relatives LOVE football, as they’re always squeeling out Sooooweeeee!!! Go Razorbacks! or whatever it is.
But my Facebook news feed is FILLED with people exclaiming SMTTT or Go Dawgs or Hotty Toddy or Roll Tide or WHO DAT! or other such nonsense things. I don’t like football. I don’t tailgate. I don’t watch it. I don’t go to games. I don’t know who has the Mastadon or the Elephant or whatever in Alabama or who has a tiger or why there’s a cowbell for one or some hot drink for another. Mississippi something or another has a bulldog but is his name BeeBee? Bully? Bubba? Billy? Mississippi something or another has Colonel Sanders, but changed it to a bear, but are still really Colonel Sanders? Something something… There’s something about an egg bowl? Someone has or had a little brown jug? Someone’s the Fighting Okra (though that sounds pretty awesome). I realized I might be getting high school and colleges mixed up and I don’t really care.
I also know a lot of people who don’t enjoy football at all. I know people who are not football crazy, but might tailgate once during the season or go to one game because that is their alma mater or because they like dogs. But if I were to take a giant assuming guess, it would be that most of the state is football crazy. If they’re not going to a game they’re watching all of them on the telly. Apparently more than one game happens a day because people on my feed will be bickering about Alabama something vs Mississippi something during the game and then be all WHO DAT! and I’m like, “How much freakin football are these people watching.
I was just in Starkville. My sister and I were there with the sole purpose of seeing a play. Apparently that is weird. Most of the people milling around outside before the play was starting could only talk about football. Some lady was freaking out like she was on speed about Texas something and she HAD to know the score but remembered she had an app for that and was promptly looking it up. She probably had ear buds in listening to the game while the play was going on in front of her. I do not know or understand these people… but I would definitely believe that I am surrounded by them. That probably 90% of the state is football crazy. But I do not personally know or hang out with these people.
09. I do not know a single person who is from Mississippi that can accurately tell you which portion of the state someone is from simply based on their accent. They can tell you a person is from New Orleans and they might can accurately guess if someone is from their town via an accent, (though most times these people will be having a conversation and you’ll here, “You’re from Tupelo? Me too!!” But they had to be told.) but really they just know that the person is “not from around here”, but no one I’ve ever met could correctly identify an accent. And I know people from the hills, the delta, the coast, Natchez, Jackson, all over basically. I agree accents vary wildy all over the state, as do customs and traditions and religious preferences and food, etc, so nothing is always the same, but the slew of people I know or meet don’t know the difference between them to guess a place. Or else they guess incorrectly.
10. I know quite a few people that like to go to Wal-Mart for fun. And I’m not talking just teenagers or college students. You either have nothing to do, but want to window shop, and you choose a store and sometimes that store is Wal-Mart. Other times you go to Wal-Mart for some milk and bread but want to leisurely wander the store looking at what’s for sale in the different departments… because it’s fun. People do this. I get she’s probably trying to make Mississippians look good and there are lots of ways for people to have fun here, whatever their fun is; fishing, dancing, hiking, swimming, the movies, a play, football games, parties, etc. So, that we’re not all poor po-dunk people and the highlight of life is going to Wal-Mart like when the Brady kids put on their Sunday best for a trip to Sears. But it does happen. It happens a lot. To say it’s not a thing at all is a bit weird.
11. Again this a yes or no. More times than not, and in various regions of the state, I will be broken down for some reason or another and people just pass me by. I’ve even had a few people stop and were weird about it. Like they’ll feel like a schmuck if they didn’t stop to help, but really couldn’t have cared less and were rude and snarky because they didn’t really want to help. I get if you don’t have a mobile, other people have already stopped, you don’t understand automechanics, you don’t have your jumper cables with you, you are on the way to hospital or are running late for something. But all 30 or 50 people that pass you can’t possibly all have some running late emergency and they forgot their jumper cables or their mobile, etc.
But, then I have also been pleasantly surprised (and got the feels) by the people that did stop and help push the car out of traffic or took me to get petrol or let me use their mobile or just wanted to change the tire for me (unless they were those three goody two shoe bitches who didn’t even want to help, but stopped anyway and were mean? What the hell!), even though I know how and have the tools, and they were in a suit. I have, sadly though, found those to be few and far between. I would go as far as to say do not expect automotive help if you get stuck in Mississippi, but I would also say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover either, because some scary looking guy that you assume is inbred and uneducated will want to help and he’s actually a really swell guy. Or a man in a resplendent three piece suit will want to stop on the side of the busy free-way to change your tire for you. Or a girl who looks like she knows nothing at all about cars might saunter up to you from her Audi and tell you she has jumper cables and can help (that’s me by the way). If she tells you she can help, she’s not lying. Loads of people look at me and think I’m lying for some reason and then I help and they’re like, “Oh, wow… Ok.” I’m not the only girl to get this reaction. A Mississippi girl who can help automechanically speaking will not necessarily be driving a huge Ford truck, be wearing daisy dukes, and cowboy boots. I mean, I don’t even know that girl. She will also not necessarily be driving a patched up piece of junk, be weird a jumpsuit, smell and be missing teeth. I don’t really know that girl either.
Most girls I know personally don’t know anything about automechanics but it is a thing. For me, personally, my grandfather was a mechanic in WWII, and as a profession. He taught my dad. My dad assumed he had sons and insisted on teaching my sister & I. I’m glad he did. While I can’t rebuild your engine or carburetor & I certainly can’t regrease your wheels with out a guide, I do know loads of things.
Basically don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t expect help because you might not get it. Be grateful for the help you do get, even though it may be few and far between.