Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Blog War!!! I was miscontrued!! BK must recant!!

Ok, its not that serious, but one of my best friends (the Brits would say "mates", but it sounds a little too weird to most American ears... pity, because it conveys what I mean better than "friend") whose initials are BK interpreted a previous blog of mine as stating that he "disliked" Alabama. Let the record show that my exact wording was "It seems he rather enjoys living on the fringes of the South after having spent his entire life in the Deep South." I chose my words carefully then, and even contemplated elaborating on what I meant. I'm actually glad that he misunderstood my comments because (a) it allows me to ramble on about what it means to be an Alabamian and (b) the misunderstanding an enjoyable top 10 list from BK on the beauties of Lawrence County. So let me explain...

I have never understood BK to dislike or despise Alabama. What I do suspect is that one of the reasons he enjoys living in Gainesville, FL is the fact that it is on the "fringes" of the South. Alabama is 100% pure-dee (never actually had to spell that before) Southern, which means it has both the good and bad elements of the South's history. Politics in Alabama can be particularly frustrating, so I can see why it might be nice to live close but not too close. For this reason, I postulated vis-a-vis (the PhD thing is going to my head) BK's feelings about his homeplace. Having lived "away" in Southern Middle Tennessee for a while, I can relate a little. Of course, BK's other excuse was his hope that he'd get better football and basketball from UF than UA. In fact, one could argue that BK's arrival in Gainesville prompted the mediocrity we've seen from UF of late. Hmmmm..........?

I remember reading a good book called "North Toward Home" by Willie Morris, a Mississippian. At one point, he admitted that, while he was in graduate school "up north", when someone asked him where he was from (noticing his Southern accent), he'd say "North Carolina," simply because it didn't have the same stigma (in his mind) that Mississippi has. I am not suggesting that this is what BK thinks, but I ackowledge that I sometimes wear a chip on my shoulder when it comes to Alabama. It is the place that the entire country views as "backward" (and sometimes for good reason), but I'd rather hear criticism of my home state from other Alabamians instead of outsiders, and certainly not Northerners. One could argue that my adopted state and soon-to-be home, Tennessee, is practically Alabama made over, but there are definite differences. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that Tennessee is only 98.2% Southern. Ouch!! Besides, corn don't grow up on Old Rocky Top.

I know...blah, blah, blah. Enough of my waxing on the finer points of being from Alabama. On to MY top 10 list about Lawrence County (with some overlap with BK):

10. Tennessee River (see BK's #4)
9. Southern accent. I can't tell you how many times I've heard my in-laws bemoan the fact that "we are loosing our Southern accent". And in many places, that is true. But not Lawrence County, AL. I reference Ross Nelson's use of the word "yeller".
8. The flat "I". This might be a subset of #8, and will be difficult to explain in type. But Lawrence Countians are foremost among North Alabamians in their use of the flat, versus dip-thonged, "i". Most Americans pronounce the letter "i" as a dipthong (two vowel sounds together) and it comes out like "ah-ee". If you are from Lawrence County, you don't ever say it that way (though props must go to the Lauderdale County girls Lindsay and Sonya). In LC, "i" is one flat "i". Most country music songs prefer this form. Having married into a family of Middle Tennesseeans, I know that most Southerners use both forms. They pronounce the "i" in "night" different than the "i" in "five". Its obvious that I've thought way too much about this, huh? Anyway, I love to hear the consistent flat "i". For Moultonites reading this, this flat "i" is not easily adopted by newcomers. I reference Ross Nelson's dad, Ken, who did most of his growing up in LC, but still has a touch of South Alabama in him and thus says "light" and "white" different than his son, daughter, and wife.
7. The "finger" wave (not the "one finger salute"). In LC it is customary to acknowledge the presence of an oncoming driver when approaching, but there is no need for a full wave (unless you know the person well). Just raise the pointer finger off of the steering wheel. In some places, they apparently learn it early.
6. Moulton Automotive. BK like the car washes, I like the car fixes. One of the few places where you can trust the mechanic to fix the problem and charge a reasonable price. And a place where I am "the Strickland boy" still.
5. Nesmith's hamburgers. C'mon BK... didn't give it proper recognition. Shame. Shame. A side note that, in N Alabama, you're never far from good barbeque (barbecued pork for you outsiders) and that fine concotion known as WHITE SAUCE (use the flat "i" please). And, by the way, Nesmith's is another place where I am still "the Strickland boy".
4. The variety of terrain. Cotton country, mountains, hills... we've got it all.
3. Jesse Owens Run and Music in the Park. BK listed the festivities in general, but single out the 10k which I've run more than any other (and plan to henceforth... except for '05 of course). Music in the Park is a newer tradition where local bands entertain for free. Its incredibly pleasant on a nice summer night.
2. The small-townness of Moulton. Its not just that everybody knows everybody, but there are alot of good, caring people there. The best evidence is when a loved one dies. Having attended an inordinate number of funerals for a man my age, I've seen how communities react to losing one of their own. I like how Moulton cares... especially with food.
1. I have to concur with BK... Bankhead National Forest. Good for hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, and running... and I've spent a decent amount of time doing all of these things and some others. I left canoeing out on purpose...

I left out anything about lax traffic laws, but I will mention that, when Mary was in labor and we left the house we ran a red light directly in front of a policeman who was so entertained with his conversation that he didn't even bother to see if we had an excuse.

Now I am blogged out.


At 1:21 PM, Blogger Barclay said...

I REFUSE TO RECANT!!! But I wasn't talking about you, so you won't mind. Bobby (last name withheld for legal purposes) is the culprit.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Barclay said...

But I do have one quibble. I DID give a shout out to NeSmith's in #10 when I rhetorically asked, "And who could forget NeSmith's?" I want the two readers of our blogs to have some clarification on that point.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Mommy of Boys said...

Man, can I be from Moulton too??? It's sounds so regal and historic!


At 1:35 PM, Blogger Barclay said...

And I must also add that my omission of white sauce is truly regrettable. The only question that I have now is whether or not regrettable has one or two t's.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Mommy of Boys said...

Oh Strickland boy...

I went back and read BK's blog and he did say Nesmiths/NeSmiths.

I would hope that you could all end the blog war peacefully now.


At 1:37 PM, Blogger Mommy of Boys said...

Definitely two t's!

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