25 Things Yankees Should Know When Moving to the South

I grew up in Minnesota. I lived in Illinois for twelve years. And in late 2013 I moved to Nashville, TN. It’s different here than up north. Here are 25 things I learned and felt I must share with anyone else making the same migration.

1) It’s not a check out line; it’s a meet ‘n greet with cashiers.

2) “Bless your heart” is either the nicest mean thing or the meanest nice thing a person can say. Either way it sounds nice.

3) If someone asks you about your kids they’re not creepy; they’re nice. Except the guy in the Dickies overalls with a mullet. He’s creepy.

4) If someone is staring at you it’s not a threat or a challenge; they’re just waiting for you to say “hi.”

5) The favorite veggies are mac ‘n cheese, sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, and mashed potatoes (or “smashed” potatoes as some insist on calling them).

6) Honking your car horn is akin to calling someone’s mother an evil name.

7) Waving absolves all driving errors or grievances. Except if they’re with the Dickies/mullet guy.

8) Ever heard of Sunday drivers? In the South, every day is Sunday.

9) The four horsemen of the apocalypse are rain, snow, sleet, and clouds.

10) If you’ve ever heard rumors of “the people of Walmart” those aren’t just rumors; they’re real. And they’re spectacular.

11) Churches are to the South as Starbucks are to Manhattan; there’s one on every corner, people have unofficially reserved seats, employees are mostly friendly even if they get your name wrong sometimes, attendees aren’t so much, the music is mediocre, and the coffee is terrible.

12) If you believe animals go to heaven you’ll love the South. They send chickens to “heaven” by the truckload. Usually fried and spicy.

13) Anything is edible if you fry it.

14) They sell cowboy boots at Target.

15) The “dynasty” in Duck Dynasty is not just for alliteration. Those crazy rednecks rule the southland.

16) All the country songs about pick ups, Cadillacs, and Buicks were inspired by my morning commute.

17) Passive aggressiveness is an art form and the South is a collective Picasso.

18) Wives don’t need to be jealous when waitresses call diners “sugar” or “hon.” Husbands had better be jealous if waiters do the same.

19) Jesus is Sunday’s religion and the SEC is Saturday’s.

20) That man with a gun isn’t a cop and he isn’t a criminal. He’s a ‘Murican citizen.

21) Even the people who live on the Florida/Georgia Line hate Florida Georgia Line.

22) The Civil War never happened. But The War of Northern Aggression did.

23) And it’s not over. The South will rise again.

24) What’s the hurry?

25) The BBQ wars (Carolina vs. Kansas City vs. Texas; Vinegar based sauce vs. Tomato based sauce) make the Chicago vs. New York pizza wars look like a playground slap fight.

I live in the Nashville area and spend my days helping churches with leadership development. My nights are spent writing and rooting for Minnesota sports teams. I also podcast a bit. I'm the author of The Pastor's Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith, and The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life