1. You learned Tennessean respect.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, you better hold the door open for the person coming in after you. That’s just basic respect, ya’ll. And you don’t even want to imagine what your parents would say if the people behind you were elderly and you didn’t keep the door open for them. Were you born in a barn? You better respect your elders. Also, you know to always say “please” and “thank you,” no matter what, and nobody is going to take offense to you calling them “ma’am.”
2. You monogram everything.
I have no idea when or how this became so popular, but if you are from Tennessee, you know the power of monograms here. Bought a new shirt? Monogram it. Got some fluffy robes for Christmas? Monogram them. A new wallet? Monogram it. I could go on and on. This is simply a part of Tennessean culture that Yankees don’t seem to understand…and that’s just fine.
3. You can’t imagine Friday night without your local school’s football game.
You take it for granted that weekends are for football. If you live in East Tennessee, Saturday’s are all about the University of Tennessee Vols; if, instead, you call West Tennessee home, you watch the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. If your family is one of football fanatics, you watch both. But all over the state, football starts on Friday night at your local school. Honestly, even if your team hasn’t won a game all season, it doesn’t matter. Girls still make t-shirts and boys still paint up to scream in the stands for who they consider to be the best high school team in the world.
4. Somehow you always manage to be behind a tractor.
If you’re driving anywhere, especially if you’re in a hurry, you might as well kick back with a glass a sweet tea, because you know you’re going to get stuck behind a tractor. I guess it makes it particularly difficult not to when your neighbors own some sort of farm. As much as you want to take out your road rage on someone, you know they feel probably bad about having to slow down all the cars behind them. Hey, tractors need to get places too.
6. You drink Coke, even when you don’t.
Maybe your favorite drink is Dr. Pepper, but in Tennessee it’s Coke. Let me explain: “Would you like something to drink, miss?” “Sure I’ll have a Coke.” “Alright, what kind of Coke?” “Dr. Pepper, please.” Get it? I know, it’s so weird that we don’t say soda or pop, but those both sound pretty strange to our ears. And if everyone understands what we’re talking about, what’s the point in changing?
7. You drink sweet tea all…the…time.
You cannot take sweet tea out of Tennessee without killing Tennessean culture itself. While this is popular in almost the whole south, it’s taken to an extreme in Tennessee. You can drink this beverage at any time of the day, morning, afternoon, and nighttime, and not only is it accepted, but it’s welcomed. It is deliciously addictive and makes our hot, humid Tennessean summers enjoyable. All you need in life is a bit of relaxation in the sunlight and a cold glass of sweet tea in your hand.
8. You got out of school a lot because of “snow days.”
It doesn’t matter if there wasn’t even a speck of snow on the ground, if the weathermen called for snow, you’re probably going to get out of school. Honestly, my school has even given us a snow day one time because it was too cold outside. I was one of those lucky kids who lived in a county that had schools up high in the Smoky Mountains, so my winter was full of snow-day sleepovers. But all over Tennessee, if you see one tiny snowflake in the sky, you’re probably getting out of school.
9. You know which state really claims country music.
Other southern and midwestern states might think that they also get to claim this one, but they don’t even touch the love of music that Tennesseans have. I mean, come on, we’ve got Nashville and Memphis. Nashville itself is the capital of country music with the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame. Also, Memphis was an enormous influence in blues, rock and roll, and soul music.