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Where Does the South End?
Townhall ^ | September 21, 2009 | Paul Greenberg

Posted on 09/21/2009 12:50:12 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Dear Old Friend,

It was wholly a pleasure to hear your theory about where the South ends, probably because any theory about the South will get a conversation going around dinner tables, at barber shops, in graduate seminars on Southern history, and just about anywhere else in these talkative latitudes.

Your theory is that the South ends where the last monument to the Confederate soldier can be seen. This would mean that Bentonville, up in the far northwest corner of Arkansas, and known far and wide as the capital of Wal-Mart, qualifies as Southern. This might comes as a surprise, or even an unwarranted claim, to folks in Arkansas farther south, who think of the northwestern corner of the state as Midwestern. Or at least Oklahoman.

If you think being considered Midwestern is a step up from Southern (and I am rather fond of Midwesterners myself with their open, friendly manner), then you're not a Southerner. If you think of it as a step down, then you're a Southerner no matter where you live. Or at least you're someone who prefers the distinctive to the bland.

I know where the South ends in Arkansas. Or begins, depending on which way you're traveling. It's at the Mammoth Orange diner in Redfield, Ark., colloquially known as the Big Orange. Check it out. You can have one of those big burgers while you're there. I wonder if they still serve Grapette sodas. An RC Cola and a Moon Pie might be too much to hope for in these all too advanced times.

The South ends at Redfield because Southernness is a function of mean elevation above sea level: the lower the altitude, the more black folks and black soil, the more traces of the plantation economy and culture, the more Southern. Which is why the Arkansas delta is more Southern than the Arkansas hills. Redfield is just before the hills begin, therefore it's on the uneven line of demarcation between North and South. Q.E.D.

I've often thought the Big Orange ought to put up one of those markers like they have out west to note the continental divide. Only this one would say: "Here the South Ends, May the Lord Be With You. (At Least as Far as Little Rock.)" On the other side, the marker would say: "Welcome to the South, Y'all." The welcome wouldn't be complete without that second-person plural. Not just geography and climate change when you enter Dixie, but the language.

So how come you find pockets of deep-dyed Southernness in unlikely places like the hills of eastern Tennessee or in the middle of Missouri? The then-little town of Columbia, Mo., where I went to school for a couple of idyllic years, was in Boone County, which at the time used to be called Little Dixie.

My explanation: Southerners on the periphery of the South have to be the most aware of their Southernness in order to hold on to their identity. The way you might find the most ardent nationalists of any stripe on the outskirts of the nation. See George Orwell's essay, "Notes on Nationalism."

Southernness, it turns out, is a moveable feast, for Southern is more than a geographical designation; it's a cultural one. Folks in Mississippi don't have to talk about being Southern; they just are, while the baneful tribe of professional Southerners seems to crop up most conspicuously in the outer reaches of Dixie.

There's also a Southern diaspora, which knows no bounds; you may run into representatives of it on New York's Upper East Side or in Paris' fashionable Sixteenth Arrondissement. Or in a simple little pension in Florence. Just listen for an accent that sounds like home and there the South will be, for the South extends far beyond the South,

The other Great Question of our time, or any American time, is: Where does the West begin? That's a column for another day. But one sure nominee would be Kansas City, Mo., though I've heard it said that Fort Worth is where the West begins while Dallas is where the East peters out.

As someone who's been lost more than once on a Dallas freeway, I can testify that Dallas certainly isn't the South. Indeed, those who claim the South fought the Civil War to keep Atlanta from happening may never have considered the possibilities of Dallas.

To be truly Southern, there must be something agrarian about a place even if it's a city. It must have at least a long-lost connection with an agricultural society to qualify.

Grits, black-eyed peas, hurry back, and all that.

Inky Wretch


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: civilwar; confederacy; dixie; paulgreenberg; south; southern
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What say you?
1 posted on 09/21/2009 12:50:13 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If you live north of Houston, you’re a Yankee.

If you live north of Dallas, you’re a damn Yankee.


2 posted on 09/21/2009 12:55:12 AM PDT by smokingfrog (No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session. I AM JIM THOMPSON)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Nowhere. It shall rise again.


3 posted on 09/21/2009 12:58:30 AM PDT by screaminsunshine (!!)
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To: smokingfrog

If you live South of Biloxi, you’re either treading water or drowning.


4 posted on 09/21/2009 12:59:42 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $1 million for Sarah Palin if she runs; What will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’ve seen the battleflag flying as far north as Carbondale, IL.

The South ends in Florida about Lake Okeechobee. South of that is something else, can’t routinely get grits or sweet tea.


5 posted on 09/21/2009 12:59:53 AM PDT by Eagle Eye (Kenya? Kenya? Kenya just show us the birth certificate?)
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To: Eagle Eye

A lot of southern Illinois and Indiana is more southern than much of urban Georgia.

...and Texas is Texas. Texas is not part of any geographic region, it IS a geographic region.


6 posted on 09/21/2009 1:03:08 AM PDT by MediaMole
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

...these days I’m just trying to figure out when and where America ended.


7 posted on 09/21/2009 1:04:50 AM PDT by americanophile (Sarcasm: satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

8 posted on 09/21/2009 1:06:54 AM PDT by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
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To: americanophile
...these days I’m just trying to figure out when and where America ended.

It's not dead, it's just learning a hard lesson.

A damn hard lesson.

9 posted on 09/21/2009 1:10:54 AM PDT by Talisker (When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on it's own.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I have no clue. But I’m sure you can’t get good panzarotti there.


10 posted on 09/21/2009 1:21:41 AM PDT by Rodebrecht (Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Does it snow there with any accumulation? Do the residents of said place own snow shovels? If the answer is “yes,” it isn’t the south.

I am proud to say that I, and my daughters, are G.R.I.T.S.


11 posted on 09/21/2009 1:26:59 AM PDT by Jemian
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Visit the southern 2 tiers of counties in Iowa, and they speak with a heavy southern accent; no kidding! I didn’t believe it myself until I visited there. Even in rural Northern Missouri they speak with a heavy southern accent.

There used to be an old joke, if you removed the southern 2 tiers of counties from Iowa, and added them on to Missouri, you’d increase the IQ levels of both states!

Sorry Southern Iowa. I love ya!


12 posted on 09/21/2009 1:27:19 AM PDT by hawkeye101 (Electing lawyers to political office is like hiring a raging alcoholic to run your bar!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; dixiechick2000; Yudan; WKB; chasio649; Travis McGee

there are really two souths

there is the South......Oklahoma to Lower Missouri to Louisville to Lexington and even part of West VA and then Old Dominion and parts of Maryland even and then all parts south with major Yankee pockets nowadays

then there is Dixie...a whole nother subject and from where I am so lucky to come from...

basically east Texas from Dallas east and into the southern half of Arkansas and Western TN and even fingers into old cotton land in western Ky and then south below the Tennessee river (Nashville where I live now is NOT Dixie) and into northern Alabama, most of Georgia except metro Atlanta and into South Carolina, and tidewater NC and VA and then back down into northern Florida and fingers dipping down as far as Clewiston and Lake Okeechobee and even Davie and then back up across to Louisiana to Beaumont TX....anyhwere you can smell decaying earth or moss on trees or red clay hills or coffee or black water then you are there

there is no other region in America with as much distinctive collective character...no matter where I go in the world when i hear a Dixie native speak I know it...immediately

Capitals of Dixie are Charleston, Savannah, Macon, Mobile, Montgomery, Tallahasse, New Orleans..yes, Aiken....Birmingham is sorta just South and not Dixie...whereas Franklin south of Nashville where I live now is defintely Dixie

Memphis, Richmond and Jackson Mississippi are Dixie but are now so gilded with gone to seed it’s just too sad to wax about them the same anymore.

North Carolina has been invaded...it’s hard to tell anymore...maybe Winston?

We view the south as opposed to Dixie as tolerable just less genuine or if you will...lapsed.


13 posted on 09/21/2009 1:28:58 AM PDT by wardaddy (Obama, you suck Bro and we are kicking your butt for now anyhow)
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To: hawkeye101

My late father’s side of the family is in Allendale (tiny!) and St. Joe, Missouri. I once took a transfer to work in Centerville, Iowa and an older lady in my office knew more about my family than I’ll ever know. Weird.


14 posted on 09/21/2009 1:35:51 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $1 million for Sarah Palin if she runs; What will you do?)
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To: smokingfrog
If you live north of Houston, you’re a Yankee

Go to Hell.

Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Go directly to Hell.

And no, I'm not smiling.

Your mother entertains Yankees for nickels and dimes.

15 posted on 09/21/2009 1:37:55 AM PDT by Eagle Eye (Kenya? Kenya? Kenya just show us the birth certificate?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“though I’ve heard it said that Fort Worth is where the West begins while Dallas is where the East peters out. “

Bwahahahahahaha!


16 posted on 09/21/2009 1:40:06 AM PDT by Daniel II (I'm Jim Thompson, this is my brother Jimmy, and this is my other brother Jimmy)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Seems to me I read about some scholarly type doing a study of “the South,” and as a rule of thumb he defined “the South” by the simple expedient of looking in the Yellow Pages of the local phone books. If a place had businesses with names that had the word “Dixie” in them (Dixie Diner, Dixie Cleaners, Dixie Auto Sales...), it was Southern. Supposedly it worked pretty well and the use of the word “Dixie” petered out right where you would have expected it to.

As it happens, I’m from Mt. Vernon, OH, home town of Daniel Decatur Emmett, who wrote the song “Dixie,” and I remember my Ninth Grade Biology teacher lived on Dixie Drive. There might be other uses of the word “Dixie” in that particular town to honor its claim to fame (I haven’t lived there in many a moon, so I haven’t kept up), but that would be an exception to the general principle that northern towns wouldn’t have much Dixie in them.


17 posted on 09/21/2009 1:42:00 AM PDT by Deklane
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To: Eagle Eye

“I’ve seen the battleflag flying as far north as Carbondale, IL.”

I’ve seen it painted on the top of a barn roof between Cincy and Columbus, OH.


18 posted on 09/21/2009 1:56:19 AM PDT by WKUHilltopper
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; All

The South Ain’t A Place!!!

It’s A State Of Mind!!!...;0)


19 posted on 09/21/2009 2:14:41 AM PDT by 1COUNTER-MORTER-68 (THROWING ANOTHER BULLET-RIDDLED TV IN THE PILE OUT BACK~~~~~)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The south ends at the border of all the blue counties that consistently vote democrat.


20 posted on 09/21/2009 2:35:05 AM PDT by meyer (Do not go gentle into that good night - Rage, rage against the dying of the light.)
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To: smokingfrog

lol


21 posted on 09/21/2009 2:41:23 AM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com ............. http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You don’t get more southern than east Tennessee. Or at least thats the way it used to be. The Yankees have all moved in and bought it up.


22 posted on 09/21/2009 2:44:43 AM PDT by beckysueb (Hey Obama, get out of Sarahs' house!)
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To: 1COUNTER-MORTER-68

Exactly!


23 posted on 09/21/2009 2:49:19 AM PDT by beckysueb (Hey Obama, get out of Sarahs' house!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

IMHO, the south ends on the western side of Missouri and west of Dallas. That becomes the west. Kentucky and the Carolinas and the Virginias are for the most part southern. And it goes all the way to the east coast. Florida isn’t southern. I don’t think it ever has been. I figure the south begins where the accent begins and ends where people have never heard of “nanner puddin’”.


24 posted on 09/21/2009 2:58:09 AM PDT by beckysueb (Hey Obama, get out of Sarahs' house!)
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To: beckysueb

;0)


25 posted on 09/21/2009 3:00:00 AM PDT by 1COUNTER-MORTER-68 (THROWING ANOTHER BULLET-RIDDLED TV IN THE PILE OUT BACK~~~~~)
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To: Eagle Eye

ping


26 posted on 09/21/2009 3:02:40 AM PDT by x_plus_one (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell)
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To: wardaddy
WD, I like your analysis of the South vs Dixie. I might add that 2 other areas that might be added as part of a new Dixie category; NC east of Raleigh and the Southern Highlands of TN, VA, NC (except Azzzhville), GA & KY.
27 posted on 09/21/2009 3:06:53 AM PDT by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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To: beckysueb
IMHO, the south ends on the western side of Missouri...

Some on the western 'side' of missouri still understand the meaning of general order eleven and jayhawker mayhem. We aren't the wild wild west or yankees or sincere southerners but we do have great bar-b-que...

28 posted on 09/21/2009 3:08:48 AM PDT by x_plus_one (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If they serve grits and sweet tea, it’s the south :-) If the entire area shuts down with a forecast of snow arriving, it’s the south!

Where I live in NC (south of Asheville) it has totally been invaded by northerners. Asheville cannot even be considered a southern city and I avoid it like the plague. Hubby wants to move out west to Montana or Wyoming after we retire in about 12 years to get away from the yankees (no disrespect to northern freepers) but I don’t know if I can handle the snow/cold.


29 posted on 09/21/2009 3:42:54 AM PDT by NCMom57
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To: NCMom57
Where I live in NC (south of Asheville) it has totally been invaded by northerners.

The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks have been invaded by Chicagoland yankees.

Two minutes around these disgusting types is more than enough time to decide to avoid them at all costs.

30 posted on 09/21/2009 4:03:56 AM PDT by TYVets (Let’s Roll!!! The leadership of the GOP has no spine and no guts, but we conservatives do)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Mason Dixon Line is 100 miles north of wherever you grew up.


31 posted on 09/21/2009 4:06:46 AM PDT by MontaniSemperLiberi
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To: americanophile

Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”? It’s the first thing that came to mind. Or maybe 1917 on Jekyll Island?


32 posted on 09/21/2009 4:11:21 AM PDT by Rearden (Deo Vindice)
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To: wardaddy

That’s a fine and accurate tour of the South and Dixie.


33 posted on 09/21/2009 4:14:27 AM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; snippy_about_it
You know you’re from the South when...

You know the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption, and that you don't "have" them, you "pitch" them.

You know how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc. make up "a mess."

You can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder."

You know exactly how long "directly" is _ as in: "Going to town, be back directly."

You know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl on the middle of the table

You know exactly when "by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.

You know instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. (If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana puddin'!)

You grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far piece." They also know that "just down the road" can be 1 mile or 20.

You know and understand the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

You never assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

You know that "fixin'" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.

You know that the term "booger" can be a resident of the nose, a descriptive, as in "that ol' booger," a first name or something that jumps out at you in the dark and scares you senseless.

You make friends while standing in lines. We don't do "queues", we do "lines," and when we're "in line," we talk to everybody!

You never refer to one person as "y'all."

You know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

You know tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that redeye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

You say things like, "Well, I caught myself lookin' .. ,"

You say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it _ we do not like our tea unsweetened. "Sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk.

You know that if you are with a couple of friends you could be with 2 or 10. The number doesn't matter.

You know you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway. You just say, "Bless her heart" and go your own way.

34 posted on 09/21/2009 4:24:13 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Barack Obama: Just Another Wright Wing Extremist)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Texas and Virginia.


35 posted on 09/21/2009 4:26:04 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: wardaddy
Birmingham is sorta just South and not Dixie.

If you're referring only to the city limits of Birmingham, that might be partially true, but the metropolitan area is very much Dixie. Huntsville has long been home to many from all over because of Redstone Arsenal, and that area is probably less Dixie than most of the state. But the Birmingham area is Dixie, unless you think the fact it is a younger city disqualifies it.

36 posted on 09/21/2009 4:30:24 AM PDT by Will88
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You know you are in the South, when a smart-ass damn yankee
tells how to do everything bass akwards.

Bullfrog


37 posted on 09/21/2009 4:55:55 AM PDT by Bullfrogg
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
As someone who's been lost more than once on a Dallas freeway, I can testify that Dallas certainly isn't the South. Indeed, those who claim the South fought the Civil War to keep Atlanta from happening may never have considered the possibilities of Dallas.

To be truly Southern, there must be something agrarian about a place even if it's a city. It must have at least a long-lost connection with an agricultural society to qualify.

Okay, here we have a glaring contradiction. What, does the writer think Dallas is the home of the Cotton Bowl because no other city was interested? It may be the north-westernmost corner of the "South", but Dallas certainly qualifies under the "past connection with agricultural society" test.

Besides, the diner waitresses there smile with approval when you order grits. 'Nuff said.

38 posted on 09/21/2009 5:06:47 AM PDT by Charles Martel (NRA Lifetime Member since 1984; TSRA rookie)
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To: SAMWolf

Question? Dijuetyet? You are sure nuff from the south. And if you live in western NC you have to know the difference between a polk, sack and bag. Well there’s lots more but I hardly have time to tell’em.


39 posted on 09/21/2009 5:09:40 AM PDT by usslsm51
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To: smokingfrog
If you live north of Dallas, you’re a damn Yankee.

What if we at least partially understand? (And BTW the same thing that happened to the South, in some ways, happened to the North too which is why I care. And now it's getting worse.)

ML/NJ

40 posted on 09/21/2009 5:16:28 AM PDT by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
I've lived in Texas for about 9 years now, and do my best to be a proper/polite Texan and Southerner.

I never knew that you're supposed to let women out of the elevator before the men. I know now.

I also never knew you're supposed to look behind you when going through a door, and hold it for anyone following you (Omigosh, even for black people! Who woulda thought there is far less racism in the South? It's counterintuitive to this Cali boy, but I know now that my opinion of the South was molded by lies and innuendo coming from scumbag yankees). They don't do that in California, and I realize that there is a lot more tolerance and "love for fellow man" goin' on here.

I feel truly blessed that God sent me to Texas and made me marry a small town Texas girl, and I shudder at the thought of raising children anywhere but the South.

When the Civil War comes, I know what side I'm on.

41 posted on 09/21/2009 5:49:19 AM PDT by I Buried My Guns
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

... There’s also a Southern diaspora, which knows no bounds; you may run into representatives of it on New York’s Upper East Side or in Paris’ fashionable Sixteenth Arrondissement. Or in a simple little pension in Florence. Just listen for an accent that sounds like home and there the South will be, for the South extends far beyond the South...

If you say “diaspora” you ain’t Southern.


42 posted on 09/21/2009 5:52:47 AM PDT by NCLaw441
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To: wardaddy; dixiechick2000; 2ndDivisionVet

“Oh Dixie Land where I was born.
Early,Lord one frosty morn.”
You can’t get anymore Dixie than Yazoo County Mississippy,
where the delta meets the hills.
I am not sure where Dixie ends I just wish it didn’t end.


43 posted on 09/21/2009 6:01:01 AM PDT by WKB (From "Handout" to "Bailout")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Anything north of I-10 is yankee country!


44 posted on 09/21/2009 6:20:16 AM PDT by The Sons of Liberty (FUBO - You Lie!!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I like the idea of drawing a distinction between ‘the south’ and ‘dixie’. I will point out that we should never have stopped using the term “border states” for some states : I have lived in Nebraska, Missouri, and Arkansas, and I felt/thought that MO and AR had more in common in folkways, attitudes, etc, than did MO and NE, and certainly more than AR and NE. I do not feel that MO counts as midwestern, at least not all of it, but it may not be *quite* southern...Border state is the best term IMO.


45 posted on 09/21/2009 6:26:16 AM PDT by kaylar
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
This might comes as a surprise, or even an unwarranted claim, to folks in Arkansas farther south, who think of the northwestern corner of the state as Midwestern.

Having lived the first 27 years of my life in Arkansas, I've never heard any Arkansan deny that any part of the state is in "the South."

46 posted on 09/21/2009 6:27:25 AM PDT by Sloth (Ted Kennedy's brain tumor has killed more people than my gun.)
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To: beckysueb
Florida isn’t southern. I don’t think it ever has been.

Florida is the only State that refused to surrender to the Federales at the end of the Civil War. The Governor wrapped himself in the Stars and Bars and committed suicide on the front lawn of the Capital rather then surrender.

47 posted on 09/21/2009 6:42:44 AM PDT by KDD
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To: KDD

Thanks for the info. I didn’t know that. But Florida was overtaken years ago by the liberal elitists and Snowbirds.


48 posted on 09/21/2009 6:49:01 AM PDT by beckysueb (Hey Obama, get out of Sarahs' house!)
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To: KDD

Hearkens to the title to a Three Stooges short: “Dutiful But Dumb.”


49 posted on 09/21/2009 8:13:30 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: All

Being Southern is a state of heart and mind....;)


50 posted on 09/21/2009 8:15:37 AM PDT by Maverick68 (w)
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