Sunday, July 02, 2006

"Foreigner Invades Small Town in Georgia"

Most of my family lives in a very small town in Georgia. I mean, very, very small.

The town publishes its own weekly newspaper. I did say weekly. Mama called the other day to have something put in the town paper. Mama and Daddy live about a 2 hours' drive away. Mama wanted to print a tribute to a late loved one in our family.

When she phoned, an unfamiliar sounding voice answered on the other end of the line. By unfamiliar, I mean the woman had a foreign accent (she was a Yankee!) Mama explained what she would like to put in the paper. The woman abruptly told her that they "do not accept these things over the phone!" and "can't you email or fax it to me?" Ya'll know this was not an option, as Mama and Daddy don't own a computer. Besides, she had phoned this type of thing in before without a problem. And, the article was only a few lines anyway.

Frustrated with the phone call, Mama said, "Well, maybe my sister could just run it over to you. My sister is Barbara Smith (remember- name change here)"

The woman replied, "I don't know her. I'm not from here."

The saga ended with Mama calling her sister who phoned her friend Sue at the newspaper office and explained the problem. Sue said, "Oh, yeah. That must have been Carol. She's Yankee."

Before I explain in lengthy detail the intricate workings of a true small town, let me just say to you New Yorkers out there: "This woman at the newspaper office is one of those people who give northerners a bad name. Just like rednecks in the South give southerners a bad name. And just like those uppity old ladies who take rules of etiquette way too seriously, and look down their powdered noses at anyone who dares break them. I have dear friends and family who-dare I say it?-were born and raised outside of Dixie! Gasp! And, get this- they actually do have manners!

You see, people from all over the world learn manners. Not just the South! There has just been a stereotype attached to southerners about our hospitality. I think it is really from too many Hollywood movies. And, because of the way we talk.

Now, on to the small town dynamics.

If you do not live in or are not familiar with a small town, listen up. You are in for some schoolin'! Everybody in a small town knows everybody. Period. Unless they just moved there, and the word has not gotten out, which doesn't take long.

Also, in case you are wondering about the newspaper article, there really are no rules about what you can put in a small town paper. When we got married, our wedding announcement took up an entire page. My picture was blown up like 100 times and every single detail of our bridal showers, rehearsal dinner, wedding and honeymoon plans were printed on a full page. And, I wrote it. It was not edited whatsoever. When I say details, I mean details, down to the color of the dresses our mothers wore and the type of flowers we had in our wedding! This was absolutely normal.

This small town subject really deserves its own post, so consider this an introduction.

For our next lesson, we will focus on restaurants, red lights, and the law. By the law, I don't mean the written law of the land. The law refers to the actual people in uniform. And, as the sheriff in Fried Green Tomatoes says, "You can't beat the law."

Stay tuned for more...

No comments: