I moved from Florida to Atlanta, Georgia in 1995. Prior to the move I was not considered “southern” even though I lived in the southernmost state in the Continental United States. It has always puzzled me why Floridians are not considered “Southerners”. For gosh sakes, the state was part of the Confederacy during the civil war, you can’t get much more southern than that. And until recently (Jeb Bush reign), the Confederate flag flew right next to the American flag at the state capital building in Tallahassee. Florida seems to be thought of as “way down south of Dixie” instead of “way down south in Dixie”.
Thinking about what is different about living in central Georgia (Southerners) vs. central Florida (Floridians), I came up with a few differences but not enough difference to discount the whole state of Florida’s southern connection. Here are some of my observations….
|Georgia Fall vs. Florida Fall|
When I moved and became a Southerner I was amazed by the change of seasons. Fall has become my favorite season! Florida just doesn’t have seasons, it’s hot and muggy, then rainy and muggy, and hot and muggy again. My friends in Florida don’t know what they’re missing.
Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir, No Ma'am, No Sir - and the use of them are not optional to Southerners. To Floridians it comes with respect for age.
|Georgia Driver vs. Florida Driver|
Southerners don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway; they just say, "Bless her heart" and go their own way. Floridians are not as forgiving and use the horn, screaming, and hand gestures more often. I’m not defending this approach, but there are a good deal more little old ladies on the road in Florida to contend with.
Southerners understand “dinner" and "supper" are both meal times and know the appropriate time to use them. Floridians understand “early bird” and “cocktail hour” are also meal times and know the appropriate time to use them.
|Georgia Front Porch vs. Florida Backyard|
Southerners slow down and sit in rockers on the front porch, they wave as neighbors and strangers pass by. Floridians sit by the pool in the back yard away from all the traffic and gossiping neighbors.
|Georgia Funeral Procession vs. Florida view of Funeral|
Southerners will respectfully pull over for a funeral procession, but not discuss the death for fear of wandering souls. Floridians know that death is part of life and plan for it with very detailed directions. One of my friends in Florida makes a full-time living coordinating the funeral before it is needed.
Being Southern means many different things to many different folks. What does "Being Southern" mean to you?