I just had luncheon at a table of Alabama county officials at the conference I'm at for work. I loved that when they asked me where I was from and I said Kentucky, they warmly claimed me, "Oh, another southern state. Y'all like Round Ball, huh." I've always identified as a Kentuckian as being from the Southeast. It's strange when folks from MA or CA or even DC consider it "mid-western"--what!? Nuh uh.
The rest of the lunch reminded me why I like the culture of the South. Humor and kidding one another is so integral to the culture. I love how quick people are in this regard, how ready the laughs are. Everyone at the table had laugh lines around their mouths and eyes--if you're going to have wrinkles, sign me up for those.
Bits of conversation that I enjoyed:
Tablemate #1 to Tablemate #4: *nodding at me* Her mamaw and papaw, she said, are in their 80s and still play tennis. It's probably because they eat healthy like her.
Tablemate #4: Well, if that's the case, I'll probably die tonight.
Tablemate #1 to Tablemate #2: If you ate vegetarian, you'd be fit and trim like her *nodding at me*.
Tablemate #2: *drops his fork of chicken back to the plate* If you've got something to say, say it.
Me to table: Are any of you from coastal counties?
Tablemate #3: Naw, we have a big lake though.
Me: Do you have problems with flooding?
Tablemate #3: Not really, not like the rain flooding you got in Kentucky.
Tablemate #1: I live up on Sand Mountain, so it don't flood. I'm on Sand Mountain, then there's a valley, and then another mountain. They're so close you could thow a rock and hit it. You might have to throw it 4 or 5 times though.
Tablemate#3: California and Alabama aren't too different
Me: Why do you say that?
Tablemate #3: I wanted to see what you'd say. Ha ha!! That was a gooood answer.
Server lays down platters of mini un-identifiable desserts. Everyone looks suspiciously at them. I try one, it's rice pudding. Tablemate #5 sets it in front of Tablemate #4 as a dare.
Tablemate #4: What IS it!?
Me: Rice puddin' (where'd that final G go? ha ha)
Tablemate #6 looks suspiciously at the 2 tiny dishes left in the center of the table.
Me to Tablemate #6: I'll try it if you try it. *we reach for the dishes, and spoons. we both try it. the rest of the table waits for our responses, expecting me to like it and #6 to reject it. I'm expecting that too*
*simultaneously, we grimace and push the dishes of mushy banana away*
*everyone laughs and cheers*
As I left, they asked if I was supposed to report back at work, giving the Alabama folks a grade. I assured them I was not. But I gave them an A+ anyway. Very fun. Opposite of the stuffiness that I feel sometimes in DC.