10 Signs You Were Born and Raised in Tennessee
1. You have driven the Dragon.
You have tested your driving skills on 11 miles of US 129. With two lanes and the urge to speed, you have stayed in your lane and driven the 318 curves of the Tail of the Dragon. Hopefully, you survived the Dragon without having to sign and date a piece of your vehicle to be added to the Tree of Shame.
2. You know the words to Rocky Top by heart.
You can’t help but join in when you hear “Rocky Top you’ll always be home sweet home to me.” It isn’t a fall Saturday unless you sing it at least once to honor the University of Tennessee football team.
3. You know that tailgating involves a boat.
You know you haven’t been tailgating until you have joined the Vol Navy. Neyland Stadium is one of four stadiums in the US that can be reached by water. Every Saturday over 200 boats on the Tennessee River arrive to have a cookout and watch the game. You have definitely joined the Vol Navy for a day of hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, and on occasion, alligator.
4. You know the secret of the Secret City.
No school WW2 history discussion was complete without Oak Ridge, the Secret City, and the story of the eccentric John Hendrix and his prediction of a city that would help end to win “the greatest war that will ever be.” Hendrix died long before his prediction came true, but the legacy remains. You know that in 1942, the small rural valley went from a couple hundred small farms to a functioning city in a matter of month, and who can forget the crucial role Oak Ridge played in the Manhattan Project and ending WW2?
5. You know the state whine.
Why can’t Tennessee beat Florida?
6. You know that Tennessee is the home of Music.
Frontiersman and Congressman Davy Crockett was known for playing his fiddle while he shared his stories while in Nashville. Nashville’s nickname “Music City” was granted by the Queen of England after hearing the Fisk University Jubilee singers perform. Nashville is the home of the Grand Ole Opry. You know that country music isn’t complete without the Opry.
This story was produced through the travel journalism programs at MatadorU.
It’s not just Nashville that is known for its music. The Carter Family made the first country music recordings in Bristol. In 1998, U.S. Congress named Bristol as the Birthplace of Country Music. The western city of Memphis is known for development of the blue and rock and roll. Many a famous blue musician got their start playing on Beale Street. And, last but not least, who can forget that “the King of Rock and Roll” got his start in the music scene of Tennessee.
7. You have tried roadkill.
Or maybe not, but you have at least been asked if you have tried it. Surprisingly, a politician thought it was necessary to pass a law to make it legal.
8. Who needs Labor Day when you have Boomsday?
Your Labor Day plans have been made since before you were born – you have a spot by the Tennessee River that is ‘your’ spot to watch the fireworks being launched from Volunteer Landing. The bursts are choreographed with music, with Rocky Top with orange and white fireworks being launched from Neyland Stadium.
9. Your response to where are you from is “_____ Tennessee.”
Being from the East is not the same as being from the West. If you are from the East, you are from the mountains and valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains and Cumberland Mountains. If you are from the West, you are from agricultural flat coastal plains that surround the Mississippi River. If you are from Central, you have the rolling hills and stream valleys between Tennessee River. These differences matter in Tennessee.
10. You know that the city of Lynchburg is dry.
You always remember to buy your bottle of JD at the distillery, because you know you’re not getting one anywhere else in Lynchburg.