Southern comfort food.

Count calories for what? The last thing on anyone’s mind when they’re eating southern comfort food is how many calories are in the fried chicken, cheese grits, biscuits and gravy, or chess pie. Fat may not be good for your hips but it’s great for your soul and it tastes so good.

Speaking to strangers being socially acceptable.

Speaking to people you may not know, also known as strangers, is okay in the south. It is actually encouraged by calling it “southern hospitality” but really it’s another opportunity for folks to be in your business. Whether good or bad this is how 90% of good old fashion gossip starts.

Barbeque.

One thing about southern barbeque is that when it is done right it will change your life. Once a slab of pork ribs or shoulder is slow cooked for hours and eaten with the special homemade sauce that cannot be bought anywhere it turns into slap-your-mama goodness. Barbeque is an art that only takes a backseat to religion and for some college football.

Drinking hooch out of a mason jar.

Who really needs a drink in a pretty glass or with an umbrella? As long as there are mountains in the south, there will be moonshine housed in mason jars.

Being introduced to people by their nicknames.

Meeting a Bubba, Squeaky, Fuzzy, Bib, Rat, Butter, Hoss, Bo Bo, Booger, Tree or any other combination using two first names like Jim Bob and Lucy Mae.

The Bonnaroo Music Festival.

One week every summer, the Bonnaroo Music Festival takes place in a small Tennessee town turning a 700-acre farm into a haven for music lovers. Rain or shine the show will go on and as with most music festivals, what happens at Bonnaroo stays at Bonnaroo.

“Bless your heart” used in the proper context.

The phrase “bless your heart” is as embedded in the southern dialect as the word ya’ll. However, the phrase being delivered with the proper level of shade is a skill that non-southerners often miss. If the delivery isn’t timed just right, don’t be surprised when you get the side eye from whoever is close by.

Sweet tea that is actually sweet.

Sweet tea is made with a lot of real sugar (not honey, not Splenda, not any other artificial sweetener), hence the name “sweet” tea. No substitutions allowed or it does not get to have the privilege of being called “sweet” tea.

Country Music.

Country music was born, raised and lives in the south. Period.

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