Pierre Fontenot Wednesday, May 14, 2014 0

We were strangers. They were Them and I was Not Them and it took us less than three minutes to like each other. This sort of thing ain’t uncommon in The South.

It’s a constant thing with me, to be again-thankful, that I was born Southern.


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A southern friend moved up to Boston. Hear tell there’s a bit of education going on up there, but apparently friendliness is in short supply.

She’s standing in line at the grocery checkout lane. Down Here, we acknowledge each other, maybe even make a little small talk as we wait for someone with twenty items to check out of the ten-items-or-less line. She did that up there and they looked at her like she was near crazy: either that or got a case of Old Testament leprosy.

Poor things: all educated and plumb clueless about friendliness. And could there be a worse accent?


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It just ain’t as simple as north or south. I do business with a guy from Minnesota. He’s got a lot of friendliness going for him, despite being raised without rice ‘n gravy and gumbo.

I had two ladies from Chicago in the store about a month ago and I think I could’ve learned something about friendliness from them.

Those exceptions being noted, I do hold that we southerners are some hugging, smiling, friendly type people, and in the beauty contest of America we are the no-brainer Miss Congeniality.


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For a southern country bumpkin I’ve met some folks. One of the reasons I met them was that I was running away from my southern country bumpkin brethren.

I thought, ‘I gotta get outta here! The Cool is over there. The Winners are over yonder.’ And so I went, over there, and over yonder, looking for greener grass and UpTowner people, and gee golly gosh, was I disappointed.

Them people didn’t even know how to hug, For Crying Out Loud! Life ain’t hardly worth living without a hug every now ‘n then.

They didn’t catch the subtle. When somebody is fishing for an “it’ll be okay” it don’t take a southerner a bunch of brains to say, “It’ll be okay,” and the world gets one okay better.

When somebody needs a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, even southerners that rode the little yellow bus know what to do to make things better.

We read eyes.  We read between lines.  We care.

I can’t imagine living somewhere where only family cared.

We care about Everybody down here.


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Any chance religion has a part in this?

We southerners are not too cool for religion. We think there’s a Him, and we think there’s a Point to life, and one of them is to love each other, and if lovin’ is a stretch, then at least we should be friendly to each other.

Where else in America do average people wake up and hope to be nice? We southerners count it a good day if we made somebody’s day better. We want to make each other smile, or better, laugh, or better-better, liked, or best, loved.

There’s a gazillion billion people on earth and only we few are Southern Americans. We ain’t stuck with Southern; we’re blessed.


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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where we think Friendly is easy on the conscience.

Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories are posted on Eighty-one’s Facebook page, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, about pillow time. Uncle P can be reached at