Thursday, September 29, 2005

Close to Nowhere
By Linda Jones

A Yankee in...

And never the twain shall meet...”

I could be talking about folks who live in the South and folks who live in the North.

Being a Southerner, I tend to be partial to Southern things — food, speech, manners, etc.

This weekend, my daughter had a friend visiting — a Yankee! Diana had never been any further South than Churchill Downs in Kentucky (Diana and my daughter are part of an Internet “horse” group that meets regularly to enjoy racing and horses.)

Diana was born in Philadelphia and now lives in Boston with a few years in Miami (I don’t think Miami counts as “Southern?”) Her husband had sent her “South” for a few days as a birthday treat — he also treated Diana, Dana, Binky and Gremlin to a night at the Peabody!

Diana had never had pudding other than in a plastic cup from the grocery store. She couldn’t imagine why Dana was excited about having homemade banana pudding for Diana’s surprise birthday dinner.

She’d never eaten “real” home-fried chicken before — never had “real” potato salad or deviled eggs. The South has a wide variety of foods she’s never even heard of and she found several that she loved — including sweet, iced tea (only available at a few places, and only occasionally during the summer in Boston).

She flew in Thursday to the Memphis airport, so naturally Dana had to show off with true Southern style — Graceland! Of course, they also spent some time at the zoo with the pandas, and driving around the city sightseeing. And for lunch, a real Southern treat — barbecue!

Dana took her to Tops Barbecue for lunch, as that’s what she grew up on and loves. We all promised sincerely not to tell that while looking at the menu (barbecue or hamburgers) Diana leaned over and whispered “what kind of meat is it?”

They do have barbecue in Boston — chicken and beef and even some pork. I understand that it’s not “real” barbecue though.

Friday, we let Binky and Gremlin play hooky from school and I played hooky from work and we all took Diana to the Mid-South Fair.

The most fascinating thing there was “pork butt on a stick!”

We have pictures of Diana at Graceland, with the pandas, in front of the “new” (30 year old) bridge across the Mississippi River and with a variety of animals, including a camel, at the fair. There’s also a really good shot of Diana and Dana with this huge white cow lying down chewing cud.

Dana is going to visit Diana and her family in the spring. In the North! I hope she can survive the culture shock!

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