The Village Idiot

I am in Memphis and I AM the village idiot. (Not to be confused with the famous “I am Canadian” rant.)

The top ten reasons I am probably going to be avoided by people who live here.

1. I actually said “What is that big river?”

(Note. It is the Mississippi. It is one of the biggest rivers in the world. Idiot.)

2. I brought a coat. (Double idiot. In my defense, I didn’t know what 70 degrees was until I got off the plane. It’s 21. It’s nice.)

3. I was surprised that a guy in a van had a rifle. I am a Canadian from Toronto. I’ve never seen a rifle, live and in person.

4. I cannot understand a word people are saying. They understand me. They are bilingual. They have skills. Me? I got no idea what they are saying. They seem very nice though. Everyone is incredibly nice…and gracious and generous. At least I think they are. I’m only getting about half of the conversation.

5. Rhododendrons are a freakin TREE. (Compared to in Toronto where they are a cowering little shrubs that we wrap in layers of burlap in the faint hope that it may survive 10 minutes of the Toronto winter.)

6. When I checked into the hotel, I was surprised that they gave me a warm cookie. (This will only matter to you if you have been to Toronto, where you are lucky if they give you a room, never mind a very tasty warm cookie.)

7. I don’t have a car. I am the only person in this city without a car. I was called “Kee-ute” for asking if I could walk to downtown.

8. Some guy ran his suitcase into me in the airport and I apologized to HIM. (I can’t help it. I am a Canadian.) He stared at me for a while after.

9. I say “Mississippi”. This is wrong. It is “Mis-ippi”

10. It took me 22 minutes to buy a phone card. Two minutes to ask for the card, and 20 minutes to desperately regret that I had asked an open ended question that I couldn’t understand the answer to. I then tried to use my debit card thus incurring more confusion. (Note to Canadians…it is a “check” card. Not even a “cheque” card) It then took me five minutes to apologize to the girl for being the village idiot, and another five minutes to fulfill her request to repeat the words “out”, “about” and “huge” for her entertainment.

I am Canadian. I am the village idiot in Memphis. Bear with me.

(Also please bear with the lack of pictures. My card reader are suddenly not on speaking terms.)

141 thoughts on “The Village Idiot

  1. Oh, Stephanie, I was howling at this entry… No, you are NOT the village idiot. You just happen to be a non-southerner. Enjoy it while you are there, and don’t give it another thought. I was born and raised in Atlanta, then moved to Ohio, then had the audacity to MARRY a d*mnyankee (one word, thankyouverymuch), then I decided I LIKED it “up north” and stayed. I’m not sure my family has forgiven me, though they still call. But then, they haven’t really forgiven me for cutting my hair short, so there you are…
    Enjoy the warm weather, the beautiful flowers and the hospitality while on your tour…

  2. I know what you mean. I always know when I am south of the border when I ask for vinegar for my fries, and the poor waitress stares, and then brings me that red vinegar. Mind you, when I ask for plain old white vinegar, the service people seem to think it’s so cute that they go to extreme lengths to get it for me, which is awfully nice of them. I have had it brought in a glass, a cup, and one of those little jugs they give people who order rye and water. Usually the waitress hangs around to watch what the heck I’m going to do with the vinegar, then shake their heads when I pour it on my fries.
    “Roof” is the word I’ve been asked to repeat. And “creek”.
    Have fun, listen slowly, and smile a whole lot.
    Barb B.

  3. Rhododendrons are trees??? WOW.. Well mine are about 6 feet tall and that was tall to me when I moved into this house!
    You will have an easier time in Ohio.. we talk like normal people! hehehe I get the same feeling as you when I am down south don’t worry, it’s not just Canadians that have trouble with this, and certainly not just you!
    We will try extra hard to talk s l o w l y when you are here.. hehehhe
    oh and by the way in Ohio tommorrow it is said to be 10 Celcius so you will need your coat!

  4. Steph, I am in Memphis too (OK, right now I’m in West Memphis which is in Arkansas, but the billboard outside my hotel promises me that it’s not far to Graceland.) Having spent my college years in Missouri, only one state north, I figured I would not be surprised by any local customs.
    Then I went to dinner last night, and the waitress asked me what kind of tea I wanted and I was flummoxed once because I was so caught off guard by this question that I didn’t order the Coke I’d been planning on, and again when it came and I took a big gulp thinking it was quite nice that she’d prevented me from getting a sugary soft drink, only to encounter what is known, I am now told, as “sweet tea.”
    I hope to make it to your reading tonight!

  5. At least you have all that info about
    “y’all” now. If you want tea, you have to ask for hot tea, or they’ll bring you iced. But I think they can handle coffee!
    Enjoy your tour and yes, do remember to breath. The weather in TO this weekend has been terrible, so enjoy the weather, too!

  6. Oh, Stephanie.
    You’re not the village idiot – the village idiot says and does the same things, granted, but has to stay all his life (Have you ever heard of a village idiot on a TOUR? I mean, heck, before we elected him, even you-know-who hadn’t ever been out of town…)
    What you are is an innocent abroad.
    Mark Twain had rather a lot to write about being one of those.
    (I was at Seattle’s Weaving Works Saturday; I asked if we need reservations in order to meet you on tourtourtour… …they looked surprised at the question. It’s a knitting book writer, not a ROCK star, they thought at me… …they’re in for a surprise, I think…)

  7. Awww.. I remember when I was in Memphis… I couldn’t understand a single thing either! Love your post… it made me crack up here at work! I just bought your book too yesturday and I am going to be at circles in Boston, MA on the 29th to visit! Yay!

  8. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Harlot dear. Everything south of, say, Washington D.C., might as well be another planet to me. And I grew up in Jersey! πŸ˜‰
    And if I went to Toronto and they said it was going to be 21 degrees out, I’d be looking for my scarf and mittens as well as my coat. Meters and liters and such aren’t too hard to grasp, but degrees Celsius will always be a great mystery to me.

  9. How do you like the grits? If you would come to St. Louis, that would be the Mississippi River too.

  10. Thanks for the cultural lesson, this Canadian will know to simply expect to be the village idiot if I ever go there. Oh and bring my own calling card! πŸ˜‰

  11. Northerners can’t understand them either, but it’s fun trying. You might want to stay away from the ‘chicken fried steak’.

  12. I am howling here. Especially at the convenience store girl’s request for you to repeat specific words. My roommates last year were both Americans, and when my boyfriend left messages on the machine that included the word “about,” they would replay it a dozen times, laughing their heads off. I never really quite understood.
    Have fun in Memphis!

  13. I got such a kick out of this – being a southern transplant here in Massachusetts (I’ll be seeing you on Friday at circles!!). When we’re down south, I often have to translate from my Connecticut-bred husband. You’re not alone.
    ~melanoma uberalis

  14. It has nothing to do with being Canadian. The South is totally a different country than the rest of the US. I know, I’m one of them.
    W. πŸ™‚

  15. Ha! That is funny. I grew up in DC and moved to Atlanta for college, and I had a similar experience my first few months. I spoke too fast for the Atlantans, I never wanted sweet tea, I pronounced all syllables of words… πŸ™‚
    Hope to see you at MDS+W! πŸ™‚

  16. Not the V.I., but perhaps you could use an interpreter? I’ve only been to TN once, but loved the way everyone was so friendly, the children called me Miss Tree, and the bbq and fixins’were delicious… baked beans, cole slaw, corn bread!
    Can’t help but wondering how the NY accents (and attitude) will compare? I actually had someone say to me recently, “shill coo’all ya.” (translate: she’ll call you).

  17. I love the I am Canadian speech! I hadn’t seen that in ages!! πŸ™‚ And by the way, it isn’t because you are Canadian that you can’t understand the people down there. It’s because you live anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line. I head south every May and can’t figure out what the heck they’re saying either! A guy in Wendy’s once asked if I’d like to “Biggie size” my meal in North Carolina ….20 min. later I finally got it! πŸ™‚
    Then again…I’m originally from NY. πŸ˜‰

  18. I think that you are doing fine, and you will be perfectly fine in the Boston area. (We call them debit cards, so it isn’t too foreign here.)
    Maybe by the time you are here, I will have finished my first pair of socks!

  19. lol- don’t worry Stephanie, when you come North to Kalamazoo, it’s called a debit card again! Making visitors feel like idiots is a centuries old southern tradition, so you’re exactly in the same position that the rest of us non-southerners would be.
    πŸ™‚ See you on May 6th!

  20. I’ve been in Kentucky for a long time now, but when I first moved from Montreal to Louisville as a teenager, I was repeatedly asked to say, “There’s a mouse in the house–get him out!” I also learned right away that my class “schedule” should start with an “sk” sound, not “sh”–nobody had ever heard of that pronunciation!

  21. Indeed, no one from north of Virginia can understand anyone from South of Virginia unless they have been to school there or something. Think of the good publicity you are giving Canada. Since you are veggie, I suppose you won’t be wanting the barbecue or the biscuits and gravy, but try the cornbread. And I bet it’s late spring there… I hope you get some fresh warm air. What are you doing posting after midnight, young lady?

  22. You bring back fond memories of the 2 1/2 years I spent in the south. People there are so polite and friendly ( in a totally different way than Canadians) that it took me months to figure out the difference between compliments and insults. I loved it there, but then I also love it here(N.S.) as well.

  23. Have they had “snow” yet? Then you’ll really laugh– 4 flakes = a snowstorm and the city shuts down! That’ll make the Canadian in you really laugh.
    Make sure you have some bbq– it’ll send you directly to heaven! And have some fun and see the sites- there are no nicer people on earth than in Memphis! Even if they do laugh at people’s accents- but give them one y’all and they’ll love you forever.

  24. Stephanie: if you get a chance to get to Beal Street you have to go check out Tater Red’s Lucky Mojos and Voodoo Healings. It’s a neat place and Red is a very nice man. He’s got a wall of pictures of famous people who have checked the place out. You might even recognize a few. I’m jealous as I wish it was me there.
    Happy Knitting!

  25. “I am a Canadian” was my favorite ad that year. The beaver *is* a noble animal, and chesterfield is a great word for anything. Thanks to your link, I now realize that the latitudinally-challenged North Americans were seeing a *very* different version of that ad than Canadians were. All the political content was cut out, and the line about hockey was completely rewritten. (What we saw & heard came after the chesterfield bit. Instead of the zed/zee, Joe said, “Hockey is the greatest sport in the history of man!” and then skipped right over the land mass to being Joe the Canadian.) As usual when comparing things Canadian to things US, your was better.
    Don’t feel bad about Memphis culture shock. You want village idot, you should see me visiting my sister-in-law in Paris. I can’t even begin to pronounce French, so I communicate in Spanish & few jots of Italian (sometimes in the same sentence). Parisians are never as rude to me as I’m prepared for, mostly because they seem to think anyone with as much brain damage as I obviously must have is more to be pitied than anything else!

  26. Now you know how I felt the first time I came to Toronto (Trono to the locals it would appear!). I couldn’t understand a damned thing people were saying! πŸ™‚ Enjoy Memphis, dear! I’ll be there this summer.

  27. It’s not a debit card? Then people in Maine have it all wrong. Well, we are nearly in Canada afterall.
    You’re not alone. I’d be a village idiot in the south, too.

  28. They’re very nice down south. I lived in Jacksonville, FL for a bit, and Lexington KY, which is a few hours to the north of Memphis (and doesn’t count, except to a northerner.) If you really want to feel like you’re from another planet instead of another country, try discussing politics, religion or sexuality with a few people. Obviously and happily not everyone, but you may get some very interesting answers.

  29. o my – do NOT feel like the village idiot, it’s more like a south thing! they’re like a different country in itself… i promise you won’t feel as confused as you do when you head up north!

  30. Too funny! The south is definitely a whole other world… Many of us Americans are too scared to venture down there ourselves, so kudos to you!

  31. my brain is always on time delay in the south…sounds like far, must be fire and so on. and i never get used to being called ma’am. enjoy your time there. can’t wait to read of all your adventures.

  32. When Carma dated the Canadian we now refer to as, “Eye Candy” I used to love it whrn he said, “…Out and about…” I’m sorry, I found it most amusing.
    I’ve lived in NW Indiana all my life, and I still get the village idiot looks at times. (Parents are from West Virginia and Missouri. Apparently I have a weird accent)

  33. Girl thats so funny! I live about 2 hours away from Mephis and I would probably be the same! Its a very nice place! Hope you have some fun here! I am in Arkansas… try to pronounce that one….

  34. lol!!! I think we all have had experiences like this. When I was in Austin a few years ago, I would have the longest conversations with the concierge at my hotel. A robust man, he would pleasantly mock me every single day, asking that I say “about” and “around”. When i was in chapel hill NC, I handed the woman at Sears my Canada Trust Mastercard to pay for purchase, and she came back with “You’re from Canada? Y’all speak French up there huh?” in the TWANGIEST accent I have ever heard. I loved it!

  35. I am so envious that you get to go to so many different places, meet all sorts of interesting people, and still get to knit. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Can’t wait to see you here in Michigan!

  36. Steph, Lene sent me the link to your site so I could enjoy your Village Idiot comments. I went to Louisiana last summer for a week, travelling by 18-wheeler (that in itself was a cultural event for this Canadian city-boy)…but being ‘held’ for taking ONE PICTURE outside the guard house at a chemical plant where we were supposed to be picking up our cargo for the trip home, and watching FOUR black and white sherriff’s patrol cars come down the drive for me, the suspected terrorist, was more of Louisiana’s hospitality than I ever wanted to experience. Having said that, everyone else there were very nice…but I couldn’t help thinking that it might have been less than genuine. I lost my fear of ending up in Guantanamo Bay – or worse, swimmin’ with the ‘gators – when we hit the Mississippi border on the way home.
    On a completely different subject, don’t forget to hit a Waffle House while you’re down South. They are about as prevalent as Tim Horton’s are in Canada, so they’re hard to miss. Even if you don’t like the food, it’s worth it for the ‘cultural experience’, in my humble o…

  37. I’m astounded at the number of people who feel compelled to make negative comments against the South and Southerners.
    No offense to Stephanie, of course, who seems to be sincerely intrigued by Memphis. (Which admittedly is a bit different, even for those of us from the South.)
    However, the other people who have commented seem more than content to poke fun. Not cool, ladies. Not cool.
    p.s. Those giant rhododendrons might actually be Magnolia trees. Their leaves look very similar. (But, if they’re flowering right now, they are indeed rhododendrons. But rhododendrons don’t grow nearly as large in West Tennessee as they do in the mountains in East Tennessee.)

  38. Don’t feel too bad about the river thing. When my family was moving from Colorado to North Carolina, I looked out the window as we were crossing the Missisipi River and said the first thing that came to my mind.
    “Holy crap, you can’t just leave all that water lying around! Someone’s going to STEAL IT!”
    Yes. That’s me. Concerned that someone is going to steal the largest river in North America.
    (For the record though, people do steal water in Colorado. It’s a problem.)

  39. Steph, You’re a mess, girl!
    Translation: Funny, talented, and more than worthy of this or any other silly Southern girls envy.
    You are not, by any stretch of the imagination, the Village Idiot.
    I love your blog and have recently ordered the bookbookbook.
    If you plan to be in Oklahoma at any point on your tour, I hope to have a front-row seat.
    Keep breathing. If you remember to breathe slowly, much like we speak here in the South, you’ll do just fine.

  40. Welcome to the south, darlin’! Being a Southerner myself I have to tell you we’re a warm, friendly, eccentric bunch of folks. Memphis is a great town and I know they’re happy to have you there!

  41. You must be at the Doubletree! (I work for the corporate offices at Hilton, which owns DT). I should’ve warned you more about how much it sucks here. Although I did try and point out the sucky hot weather πŸ˜‰
    I didn’t see you on the news before I left for work, but I Tivo’d it, so I’ll watch later. Can’t wait to see you tonite at the signing!
    (and sorry to Heather, I have to live here, so I feel it’s ok for me to poke fun, can’t speak for everyone else though)

  42. This is why I was shocked as all get out to find out your tour wasn’t taking you to MN (well that and MN is closer to me that MI but I digress… I’ll be in MI none the less). There would be no culture shock and a BUNCH of people “up there” knit (huge Scandanavian population and well it’s cold most of the time).
    I assure you, you are NOT the village idiot.
    Now onto happy thoughts about the young attractive (albeit not real bright) Canadian of my past… ooo thanks Erin! πŸ™‚
    Steph, canNOT wait to meet you in MI.

  43. Not to worry, New Englanders would have the same problems. Instead of being asked to say “about” we would be asked to say “park the car in harvard yard.” It’s a different planet, let alone country down there. I’ve just learned to stop trying to blend in and treat it like I’m the foreigner that I am. Like if I was visiting an island in tahiti or a remote village in China or something. It’s bound to get weirder. πŸ™‚

  44. Now, see… listen to us in the middle of the country. TV newscast personnel train to sound like us. We have cookies. And wool. And coffee. And veggies. And soy products up the wazoo, dearheart.
    Come. Come to the Midwest.

  45. In order to feel more at home, while still being away you MUST come to Minnesota and more specifically, the Twin Cities (St. Paul or Minneapolis). We are still somewhat chilly here, and don’t speak that much differently than Canadians.
    Come, Come, COME to Minnesota!

  46. Wanna throw them a curve? Use the word “about” as you pronounce it, and then tack on a “y’all” at the end. You may wish to have a video camera ready for that one. πŸ™‚

  47. OHMYGOD! Sure harlot, go on tour, have fun, then the knitting goddess descends like a Valkyrie on your poor readers. I come home from vacation, not only to the Mt. Vesuvius of laundry–with a dryer squeaking like an orgasmic rodent–a mouse, you know like Mickey–crawled into one of my yarn bins—-AND DIED! The stupid fuck couldn’t figure how to get out and had the temerity to die clinging to a skein of Touch Me like it was a life raft. The foul rodent was not petrified yet, so there were maggots crawling on my hand-painted Mountain Colors.
    God, I need chocolate. And liquor. Hard liquor.
    Can’t assess the damage yet, of course after not being called to work for a week and a half before my vacation, I get called today.
    Damn, I foresee many skeins of yarn hanging in my living room.

  48. And it’s “MIM-phis,” not “MEM-phis,” am I right? Are you gonna get some Elvis gear while you’re there, and cowboy boots? I hope so. You’d look very Harlot.

  49. Oh, and that guy in the Molsen commercial is a major hottie. But he’s lying about “a boot.” Even you say it, although you deny it. Hee.

  50. If it makes you feel better, despite being officially southern, MD is “bi-lingual”. We may still be amused by your OOt and Abooot, but we also know what debit cards are. Plus, all our talk of how there’s no way you’ll be able to wear the vine sweater because of the stifling heat seems to have brought a cold front on. So if we all keep warning you of the heat, and you keep knitting in secret, you might be able to pull it off.
    This message will self-destruct.

  51. When we went to Memphis we stayed at the Peabody Hotel, as we walked in a whole line of ducks walked in and splashed about in the fountain in the foyer. Nobody told us about Peabody Hotels and ducks. If you had trouble being understood, think what it was like for us poor British – I got very embarassed making them say things three or four times very slowly before I could understand, and I was reduced to writing down what we wanted from a menu……
    Go down Beale Street to that fascinating old time hard-ware store……

  52. My mother grew up in Shreveport, LA, where the word ‘milk’ has three syllables. She, too, had the audacity of marrying a “d*mnyankee.” When I was a kid and we traveled from upstate NY to places like Tennessee and Alabama, we let Mom do all the talking south of the Mason-Dixon. We all looked a little stupid as we played dumb, but she was understood by the locals and helped us avoid all kinds of irritation from folks still angry about the outcome of the Civil War.

  53. When I was in Mississippi visiting a friend a few years back, we had gone into a store where he was aquainted with the owner. My friend told him I was visiting from CA, but originally from IL. The man responce was, “Mike, you got yourself a yankee here”.
    Now this was in 2000, and they don’t give up the ghost, we are still yankees in 2000.

  54. Being a Vegetarian, you can skip the BBQ, but if you get the chance, you should try Memphis Pizza Cafe or Bosco’s in Overton Square. Either the MPC 4 cheese pizza or any of the Bosco’s pizzas are worth the visit. Or try El Porton for Southern-style Mexican food.
    For desert, you should check out Dinstul’s chocolate.
    Graceland is always smaller than I expect it to be, and a bit corny, but if you are a fan, go take a look. The airplanes and car museum are interesting, too.
    I moved to NYC 2 years ago and still miss the pizzas. Not so much the humidity, but the food I miss.
    Enjoy your visit.

  55. Yes – I love all the stories about ‘foreign’ accents. I am Scottish, and worked for many years in California. In high tech. The phrase that I was always asked to repeat was:
    “Och, Captain, the engines cannae take it…”

  56. I completely understand! My husband was just stationed in Mis-ippi, and I’m afraid to open my mouth down here (I grew up in Minnesota and then lived in Seattle). A tip: if you see something that looks like corn but suspiciously bigger and maybe softer, this is not corn, it is hominy. It is not the same at all.
    FYI: with a debit card you need to enter your pin number, which many stores aren’t equipped for. With a check card you can use it as a debit card and enter a pin, or use it as a credit card and not (it has a Visa or Mastercard symbol on it but still comes out of your checking account).

  57. it’s M I crooked letter crooked letter I crooked letter crooked letter I humpback humpback I.

  58. I remember standing helplessly at the rental car counter in Little Rock, Arkansas wonder what on earth ‘Kin Ah Hep Ewe’ meant. And six years later I’m still asking ‘Do you have Interact?’ and for brown toast at breakfast (fyi: toast comes in White or Wheat down here).
    Enjoy the South. All my best business trips have been to Southern states – the great hospitality, warmth & friendliness is not just a rumour. And it is about the only place on earth that someone will manage to call you ‘Honey’, ‘Sweetie’, ‘Love’, and ‘Doll’ all in the same sentence πŸ™‚

  59. Oh, you are a dear. This list reminds me of when I was in France trying to buy a phone card. πŸ™‚ Just wait, when you get to Seattle in August, we do walk places and we do use “debit” cards. You’ll feel right at home.

  60. Ah, Steph, buck up and enjoy the Southern hospitality. I *love* the South, every bit of it, even though I’m a born-and-bred Yankee right outside New York City. I think you’ll find that kind of “village idiot” feeling will follow you wherever you go till you get back to Toronto. It’s inevitable. Fish out of water and all that jazz.
    Heck, when I used to travel to California regularly for work, I was constantly surrounded by my West coast coworkers like some circus sideshow freak, asked to repeat “coffee” (caw-fee), “walk to dog” (wawk the dawg) and any number of other New Yawk speak.
    Village idiot, indeed!

  61. Oh sure, everyone else talks funny and eats weird things no matter where you are from…I’m curious about what those southerners are knitting. I was thrilled with our snowstorm-in-April yesterday here in Michigan because it gave me yet another opportunity to sport the woolly handknits–literally head to toe. Is it all knitted tanks and lacy openwork patterns in the south? Do they felt down there? I love making a fresh springtime item or two, but I don’t know if knitting would have the same allure for me if there weren’t the nordic hat & mitten sets, the fuzzy felted slippers, the fair isle pullovers, the whole cozy knitting by the fire on those long winter evenings thing. What is it like knitting down south?

  62. In the south, when someone looks at you and says “bless your heart” they are not necessarily being sweet.

  63. Let me assure you that you are not the village idiot – the south is just strange (and I get to say that since I’m from here). I’m here in Memphis and have been since I was two years old and I very often feel like the village idiot. At least you got here before it became disgustingly hot and mucky. Looking forward to seeing you tonight. I’ve held out and not bought your book so I could buy it tonight (having an author refuse to sign a book not purchased at that particular shop before)and the anticipation is getting to be too much!

  64. oh come on… you are NOT the village idiot. It’s those other people with the southern accents! Last year I was in Mississippi and they practically laughed me out of Arby’s when I asked for the BLT roll-up (listed as a wrap on the menu)… Come to Omaha where I live and where we speak plain English! Actually, I considered driving to Memphis to meet you.. but it’s rather a long drive. Hang in there, and have a great time!

  65. just bought and read your book !!!!
    so many “yes” moments and laughs
    see you are going to be in Seattle – look up the map
    and you will see Victoria and Vancouver – we have the big shrubs also
    Come West – it is really good – ocean

  66. Howling! It reminds me of a two week trip I took as a teenager with 59 kids from inner-city Chicago and ME (a southerner). They made me repeat words and phrases. They loved y’all and yoohoo (which is said when you need to get someone’s attention.) They also expected our grass in Kentucky to actually be blue.
    Here’s some southern speak for you, so you will understand what they REALLY mean.
    Cut that light on = turn the light on
    Got so much schoolin’, they be gettin’ above their raisin’ = uppity
    Mad as far (fire) or all het up ’bout it = very upset
    skeert = scared
    Does this milk taste blinky? = is it spoiled
    Gully washer = hard rain
    Crack the winder = it’s hot, roll down the window
    pertneer = close by
    And if they say you are “funny turned”, well then my dear Harlot, you ARE the village idiot – hee!
    Have a wonderful time in the South!

  67. Stephanie –
    Enjoy your pop and don’t be surprised when they put your just purchased yarn in a sack….Enjoy Memphis – home of FedEx and Graceland….
    Just to fill you in for NY – Bring a sweater it isn’t that warm here this week…if you forgot your umbrella the street vendors will have them at the ready for $5.00….forecast is rain on Wed.
    In case you want to play tourist….Lord and Taylor is located mid-town. If you want to go downtown (meaning Greenwich village, Soho, or even Tribeca, or Wall Street)don’t try to walk it from midtown. Also if you head in that direction get thee a map. NYC streets are numbered and make sense uptown, but not downtown. Walking to get downtown can be done, but only if you have a few hours and are wearing really comfortable shoes. Hopefully your book people will have given you a car and driver, if not….cab it to get downtown. And…while NY is an island it is a relatively big island.
    If you have free time – From Lord and Taylor you can reach Central Park walking in about 30 minutes or so at a quick pace. (Head uptown stay right on Fifth Avenue pass the public library, Rockefelller Center, Saks, Tiffany’s, Bergdoffs until you reach the Plaza Hotel) The start of the park will be directly in front of you. To come back – you can head West and pick up Broadway. That street will take you right into the theater district and 42nd Street – where all signs are very flashy…The ticket booth in the middle of the square is where you can pick up 1/2 price theater tickets – Wed. matinee or evening show that same day.
    On the other hand if you take a right outside of Lord and Taylor you can go to the Empire State building…it is 3-4 blocks right down from where you will be at 34th and Fifth Ave. Head upstairs to the top for great views (on a clear day you can see all the way to Connecticut.)
    Now, if you do not want to walk and you decide you want a cab, pray it is not raining (they disappear when its raining). And remember to carry singles…cause in NY people like their tips….
    Looking forward to seeing you Thursday. Enjoy your bottomless tea in the south! (They are not coffee drinkers though you can order it) Will bring you wonderful chocolate from Huntington to sustain you….Enjoy every moment of your book tour.

  68. I grew up in Tennessee, and the first time my (now) husband came to visit my mom and I made him say root beer at least 10 times. I still chuckle just thinking about it. Hope you have a lovely time.

  69. Poor Yarn Harlot! Sounds like you are getting tons of material for another bookbookbook.
    Just be glad your tour isn’t coming to Sheboygan, WI. We have our own dialect that people only an hour away laugh at. For instance, a debit card is a “TYME card” (named for the first a.t.m. machines we got here.) We drink from a “bubbler” (water fountain.) And when we fire up our grill and cook food on it, it’s called “frying out” even though there is rarely any oil involved.
    I know you’re super busy, but when you resume the MSF give-away I have an autographed (by Lizbeth, not me) “Latvian Mittens” book for the cause…

  70. Stephanie, I assure you that culture shock occurs to all of us, whenever we move out of our element.
    My husband was raised in Florida, and during the 9 years we lived in Minnesota, people continuously wanted to hear him speak for his “Southern” accent…trust me, he doesn’t have one!
    Having lived in Houston, Tennessee, Minnesota, Upper Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and now Boston, I can say that people are more the same than they are different…(well, they are a bit more restrained in the Northeast…heh). Enjoy the differences, it makes life fun!

  71. “Oot” and “aboot” are actually not uncommon pronunciations of out and about in the South. My cousin’s wife is from Georgia but they live in Tennessee and she is always “oot and aboot” to run errands.
    Tea will always refer to iced, sweet tea. And by sweet, they mean “has 5 or 6 tablespoons of sugar per glass”. By tea, they mean “tastes like the giant metal urn it was brewed in” (the sweetness cuts the metallic taste).
    If you come to TX and order a soft drink, you will want to order a “coke” at which point you will then need to specify the kind of “coke” that you want (e.g. Sprite, Diet Coke or, yes, Coke). I went through the McDonald’s drive-thru today to get chicken nuggets for my child (I know, I know) and got the coke for myself and it took me 3 tries before the lady finally got that I did indeed mean Coca-Cola. And I’m from Tx…

  72. Steph~
    Welcome to the South. I grew up in MI(Detroit area) and understand Canadian very well. Howeverm I also had the pleasure of having family in the South.
    Here are a few things to remember down there. Every soda is Coke.. Even if it is Pepsi or clear or any other color than Cola. It’s Coke.
    The Tea is always sweet. Some of us put darn near 3 cups of sugar into a fully brewed pot.
    While there, please take the time to enjoy the following food items. Fried Chicken, Barbequed Pork spare ribs, and a barbeque pulled pork sandwich and sweet potato french fries.
    Yes, I know some of these things sound rather disgusting, however, they are really better than you imagination tells you.
    Chicory is another form of coffee. I don’t care for it, but my southern family swears it’s better. So, if your coffee tastes odd, that could be why.
    Two common phrases are ” Bless his/her/your heart”
    Which can be used following gossip or an insult ie. ” You know that husband of hers is such an a**hole… Bless her heart”
    and ” Isn’t that nice.” Which is used in place of a general or specific F**k you. ie ” Did you hear that Tamilyn’s husband bought her a new car?” …..” Isn’t that nice.”
    Please enjoy the hospitality while there. There are few places in this country where one can go and find such pleasant people.
    I have complete and total sympathy with you on the dialect in which you speak. My out, about’s and huges are well… not that same as the rest of California where I live. I find myself often having to repeat certain words, or remember how it is said here.
    Oh yes. If something has been waRshed. It means it’s clean, as in it has been washed.

  73. Hi, Stephanie — Glad to see you’re enjoying your immersion experience. Here’s some dialect to prepare you for Philadelphia (not universal, of course, but a lot of people here really say things this way):
    looks like Philadelphia
    sounds like Fluff-yah
    looks like Baltimore
    sounds like Ballmer
    looks like Maryland
    sounds like Merlin
    looks like Inquirer [the newspaper]
    sounds like Ink-wire
    It’s really kind of fun to observe this stuff. I’d never been south of the Mason-Dixon Line until I was in my 30s; I wish I had a picture of the face of the waitress I asked “What’s this?” while pointing to my first-ever serving of grits. . . I really liked them, by the way.
    Have fun! Take notes!

  74. Hey Steph – Searching Google News for “Pearl-McPhee” brings up some hits (although “yarn harlot” doesn’t bring up any, at the moment). You’ve passed beyond regular Google and become news – congrats!

  75. What we Southerners like to say is; “Guess what? The airplane flies OUT of the South and the interstates go right back NORTH”. If you don’t like it….you get the idea.
    I find it amusing that all of your commenters are so critical of the South. I for one, would LOVE you to tell your neighbors in the frozen tundra in Canada and the North about your negative experiences. Maybe then they would stop moving down here!!
    I bet you anything that the money those Southerners that you poke fun at will spend on your book will spend just as easily as money from the Northerners and Canadians.
    Bless your heart, Stephanie. It must be just terrible for you. πŸ˜‰

  76. I grew up in the south, so some of these are fond memories of things I don’t hear or see in California. Sure, if I visit, I get tired of it in a few days, but for now, it’s all warm fuzzies.
    Don’t just ask for tea, because you’ll get sweet iced tea. And by sweet I mean “so much sugar it makes your teeth hurt and I’m pretty sure your dentist can sense the damage it’s causing, even from thousands of miles away.” My boyfriend misses the sweet tea, and goes off on rants about it every so often, how the sugar doesn’t melt properly if you put it in when there’s already ice in the tea, it doesn’t taste the same, blah blah blah. Me, not so much.
    Vegetables are nearly always cooked in bacon or pork fat. It can be tough to be a vegetarian in a lot of places in the US South.
    When I drove across the US to get to CA, one place we stopped was Graceland. It’s really wonderful in its awfulness.
    The natives do talk funny, and can you believe that there are regional versions of a southern accent?
    And seriously – how DO you say “huge”?

  77. Well, hush yo’ fuss! That’s what my Georgia-born-n’-raised Grandpa would always say when he was proud of us. I love reading your perspectives on Memphis (my college town – my school is the pretty one right across from the zoo) and it makes me want to go visit right now. One tip – if you get a chance to climb a magnolia tree – do it. You won’t regret it! See you at MDS&W!

  78. Check out the pandas at the zoo while your in Memphis, okay you probably wouldn’t have time, but still. Oh and you must be staying at a Doubletree Hotel, or one that used to be a Doubletree, they are famous for their cookies.

  79. I’m from Virginia, but the first time I went to Kentucky I faked my way through a conversation in which a woman told me she was “Goin’ to a share tonight.” Later in the conversation she mentioned she would be “goin’ to another share tomorrow night!” I figured it was some kind of religious thing, until she said “And the two shares aren’t for the same girl. Oh, well of course they aren’t! One’s a weddin’ share and one’s a baby share!”
    I almost said it aloud: “SHOWER!!! You’re saying SHOWER!!!”
    And I’m proudly FROM the South! But that did make me laugh.
    Good lucky, Steph; they’ll give you extra cookies if you ask them.

  80. Let me preface this comment by noting that I grew up in Tennessee and have plenty of family there. Even if I raised my sensitivity level several degrees, I would be hard pressed to find any of the blogreaders’ commentary here anti-southern. Well, maybe the comment about the weather, but sticky humidity really is awful no matter where you are. I find all the different pronunciations fascinating and didn’t think of a single one as a criticism. American speech is wondrously rich — more varied than most would expect. And my guess is that most of us sound incomprehensible to someone!

  81. I feel your pain (at least somewhat). I’m a “Damn Yankee” who moved to Nashville for two years. My boyfriend and I laughed long and hard over some of the misunderstandings I had with people.
    I had a woman once ask me “Are you fixing the phone?” Huh? I said no, in that vaguely cluess kind of way, and eventually realized she was saying “Are you fixing to fold?” (I was standing next to the folding machine.) Only in the South (I think) do they use the word “fixing” in place of “planning.”
    You have my utmost sympathies, and I think you should get as many cookies as you like as compensation for dealing with these foreign-lanugage speakers. πŸ˜‰

  82. “It’s right here Darlin’.”
    That’s all you’ll have to say, and everyone understands.
    It’s only a slight case of culture shock. Have a great time!
    Miss Twiss

  83. Come to Oklahoma–we call them debit cards here!
    You need to find a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that sells good southern home cookin–like hog jowls, blackeyed peas, okra, poke salad, turnip greens, chitlins and such. I’ve lived here (which is not really considered the South, but, oh well) all my life, and the smell of chitlins makes me want to run for the hills every time (don’t ask what chitlins are–you really don’t want to know).

  84. Oh, I so wish I was down in Memphis at the moment rather than sitting at work. Is it MY fault some one decided to send the entire dept. to a three-day training class and I’m the only one covering? Sheesh. At least I could have helped translate for you.
    And, yes, they’re debit cards here in St. Louis, just a-ways upriver… though even here you’ll find an accent. It’s not a fork, it’s a “fark.” It’s not a pork steak, but a “park stayk.” For laughs, I get native-St. Louisans to pronounce “Highway 44.” And they thought *I* had an odd accent from my years in southern California. (No, I’ve never held an entire conversation with only the word ‘Dude’. That’s only in movies.)
    Anyhoo, my friend Joan will be in to see you on Friday, and get me a signed copy of your book. Yay!

  85. It is a visitation on you for laughing at me for pronouncing the final “d” in Newfoundland.

  86. I agree with the person who said none of the comments sound negative. Pointing out that something is ‘different’ doesn’t mean you’re saying it’s inferior. It’s just different. As for my own best ‘village idiot’ moment, it was when I was studying in London, and staying with a family who had a 2 1/2 year old girl. I was so amazed that at such a young age, she could already speak with a British accent! (Yes, I consciously knew this was wrong, but no, I never got over being surprised anyway…)

  87. I’m a fellow canuck, and sometimes I even have a hard time understanding people from Michigan… I was listening to my cousins talking about the taggers, and how the taggers were doing and blah de taggers blah. I could NOT figure out what they were talking aBOOT (what IS a tagger?), when it dawned on me… the Detroit TIGERS. Duh.

  88. LOL! Welcome to the south. Don’t feel like the village idiot. I’m from the south and sometimes I have trouble understanding people. Memphis is a fun town, lots of good food and fun things to do. I’ve always had a good time in Memphis. I agree, though, that it’s kind of hard to be a vegetarian in the south.

  89. Lord love ya!! I have been told by a Southern belle that the girls take “Southern Belle 101” at school. They are as sweet as candy. Have fun and order a soda for me. Also find out what color “mauve ” is. They say it like “mave”.
    Have fun and come home soon. Judy

  90. I’m a southern Illinois transplant to Missouri (pardon me, Mizzur-uh), lived in the St. Louis area for nearly thirty years, and I still have to laugh when I hear someone pronounce “Highway Farty-Far.”
    Of course, if I visit the relatives “down home” for more than a day or two, I come back home sounding like a Memphis native. When we spent a week in Atlanta a few years ago, I came back with such a thick accent that my coworkers were looking for the pod. Heaven knows what I’ll sound like when we finally make it to Canada on vacation.

  91. Oh man, you guys are leading her astray, telling her to get barbecue in Memphis, like there’s only one kind of barbecue. If you eat barbecue in TN, then go to Georgia, or any other place and eat barbecue, it’s a whole different meal. I grew up in ND thinking barbecue was a Sloppy Joe sandwich on a bun. The first time I ate REAL barbecue, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. In some states people take their ‘cue so seriously that cooking it wrong is a hanging offense. Once you start, Stephanie, you’re going to have to try them all. Except maybe the ND one; I’d pass on that.

  92. Stephanie – hope you are enjoying your time in Memphis! Try some barbeque – it’s awesome – and if someone offers to take you to Beale Street take them up on the offer! They have dacqueri bars! Really good ones! There’s one dacqueri combo I have fond memories of – it was titled “Call a Cab” – and we did!! There is also a great museum, I believe it’s called The Rock and Soul Museum – chronicles music in Memphis this century – really well done. Have fun!!
    Katie (a Californian who really enjoyed her visit!)

  93. Oh Stephanie, I am sorry that it was not 80 degrees F, as it has been in Alabama during the past few weeks. It’s been a little chilly here lately. But since Memphis is SIX HOURS AWAY (and the route is fraught with casinos and I can’t get my BOOK signed,) I wouldn’t know about the weather in TN. My husband wanted me to e-mail you, though he has scolded me for taunting you with winter weather reports, to tell you how much he enjoyed today’s blog post. He said he got a kick out of it, and if you didn’t write so much about knitting, he would read your writing more. This is the man who has had to listen to me read many passages from your book, and entries from blog and listserv posts.
    Anyway, have some BBQ and listen to some blues. I’m a Georgia native, and I don’t always pronounce words “right,” so I’m told.

  94. I was once told by a Southerner living here in NYC that we Northerners didn’t know what it was like to have our country invaded by a foreign power. My friends and I looked confused. Oh, yeah. The Civil War. Apparently they are still resentful. Also, my Dad once spent 3 months in the South travelling with a road show of some play or another and for the entire time asked in one diner after another for a Danish. My Dad grew up in Queens. Finally he saw one in one of those covered display trays, asked for a Danish and was really confused when he was told they didn’t have one. He pointed to said pastry and was told “Oh. That’s not a Danish. That’s a sticky bun!” If you knew my Dad you would realize the struggle he had gone through, 3 months without a Danish, only to realize he had been thwarted by dialect!
    Can’t wait to see you at Lord and Taylor. What kind of coffee do you like?

  95. Goodness! That is hysterical. I had a pretty close experience, being from Massachusetts and visiting W. Virginia as a teenager – I was looked at like a total foreigner! I couldn’t even order a Hot Dog (they had no idea!). A dear friend of mine moved to Alabama for two years, her first trip to the store was a disaster – she called me up howling, everyone at the store told her she spoke much too fast to understand! lol
    Chin up Steph, there is no laundry in Memphis πŸ˜‰

  96. I was born in central Florida (yes, it really is the South) and now live in Philadelphia. Trust me, I know culture shock! I once had grits in a diner here, and they were served with sugar! HORRORS! They are properly served with butter, salt, and possibly cheese (and bacon and egg if you’re not veggie).
    I repeat the warning about mindset concerning veggies down south. They will tell you something is vegetarian even though it has been cooked with meat or meat broth – this is just “flavoring” to them. In fact, there is actually a barbecue chain in Florida where the “diet” plate is a regular barbecue platter PLUS a salad. The salad is what makes it diet, you see.
    Also, in some parts of the south, it is not a Coke, but a Co-Cola or an RC (Royal Crown Cola).
    And if you come to Philadelpha, the debit card is known as a MAC card, because the first ATM machines were called Money Access Centers.
    Even those of us born below the Mason Dixon can have problems understanding each other, so don’t feel stupid. Ask them to repeat themselves – but not slowly!

  97. All together now: Bless your heart, Stephanie!
    I done tole you you shoulda come to Nashville instead. Memphis is a worrisome place!
    And for everybody who fears the South, we’re just down here laughing our asses off. The South is as southern as you want it to be, or as homogenized as you can stand it. Myself, I like a babka as much as the next one. And I go get one whenever I feel like it. To go with my nice tall glass of ice tea.

  98. Hey, another copy of your book has reached Australia. My order arrived, I just picked it up during my lunch break, it’s sitting in my bag next to my desk here at work and I’m trying to resist the temptation to read it while pretending to work.
    Sorry, in the interests of strict accuracy that should be the temptation to read more of it while pretending to work.

  99. Bless your heart, indeed.
    There are bumper stickers here in Te*as that say “Somewhere in Te*ax, a village is missing it’s idiot.”
    I think he’s generally in the White House… which means you CAN’T BE THE EEJIT. If you can’t get your company to put you up in Dallas (where nobody reads much, it’s said) try Austin. It’s more fun… even with all the state politicians. But go in Autumn or Winter so you don’t melt.

  100. Oh, Steph, how funny! Since we read you rather than hear you I forgot how you would sound! And how different it is when you travel all over.
    when I just moved to Georgia (Gawgia!) they told me, “Darlin’ you speak way too fast. You goin’ hafta slow down!”

  101. While I can only speak for myself, I doubt the folks who have shared stories about heading down south were poking fun at anyone, Heather. In my case, the silliness went both ways. The people I met laughed at my accent, while I felt the same about theirs. It was totally reciprocal and all in good nature. I’m sorry you felt slighted though — it totally wasn’t intended (at least by me!).

  102. Stephanie, I haven’t read all 119 previous comments, but a thought actually occurred to me in bed last night: Those might not be Rhododendrun “trees” you’re seeing — they might be Magnolia Trees, which are very related to Rhodos but are, in fact, trees.
    Rhodos might be 12 feet tall, but that’s still more of a big bush than a tree; Magnolias are TREES!
    Just a thought….

  103. Longtime reader who loves to read the comments almost as much as the blog! Welcome to the States, Steph! All of them! Today you will be in Ohio and I will be unable to travel the 120 miles to listen to you and have you sign my book. My heart is heavy, but responsibilities are too many.
    And to Heather, I’m a conservative Republican (which is why it’s best I just read and don’t write my views!) and understand how your feelings could be hurt. Guess you have to understand that it isn’t personal, just a point of view!
    Stephanie, praying your travels are safe and second-book-worthy!

  104. All these overly sensitive Southerners! You can come you Utah and poke fun at us anytime. We “barn in a born” instead of ‘born in a barn’. You’ll have fun! LOL

  105. Visit Graceland. But don’t just visit, KNIT! I bet if you’re sneaky enough you can hide yourself in a nook or cranny and spend the whole day knitting away.
    (Did you know that Elvis was a giver like you are? His trophy/award room also includes dozens of awards from organizations for contributing lots and lots of cash to causes.)

  106. Well, of course the South has different accents with in it! And a State-o-Mainer sounds different from a Bostonian from another Bostonian from still another Bostonian from a Rhode Islander from a backwoods Connecticut farmer. And Brooklyn sounds different from the Bronx from Park Ave. from Harlem from Crown Heights. Diversity is grand! And the South is a big place with a lot of history.

  107. Ahhh, Memphis. My ‘home office’ is there, and so I visit once, twice, perhaps 3 times a year. The tiny airport! The hugely sprawled out city! The odd way they talk! I hope you had a chance to see The Peabody Ducks…but avoid Graceland. It’s in a bad part of town, and it’s just so tacky. I refuse to go. It’s a very nice time of year to be there, though, you’re lucky in that – warm enough but not too hot, and everything in full leaf, flowers all over… I’m only aware of two shops in Memphis – Yarniverse and I can’t remember the other one…hope you got to visit. I’m so thrilled about your tour, and I loved loved LOVED the book. I’ve been reading it outloud to friends and they aren’t even mildly annoyed about it πŸ™‚

  108. OK, I had a very disturbing (and quite odd) dream about your family last night…
    Your oldest daughter (who, in my dream, was 19) was jealous of the new baby (?!?!), and tried to burn the house down. By lighting 2 Tylenol on fire and dropping them down some pipe that you had running vertically through your house. They didn’t do much but smolder, but the firefighter was cute (looked like the guy from JAG, actually).

  109. Aw, Dana beat me to it. I live in Waco, and our village idiot lives about a half hour to the west. Sometimes. His plane is across the street from me, *raht now*.
    Jes’ yew wayit till yew come to Teyaxis! We gonna show yew a good tahm!

  110. Steph,
    You aren’t the village idiot. They just talk funny south of the Ohio River. If you haven’t figured it out, when you order ice tea, it’ll come pre-sweetened for you in the South too.
    You’ll be in Ohio on Tuesday, where we pretty much talk like you. And our rhodies are little shrubs that we have to protect from the cold. But I have to admit, it’s rare to be able to walk to downtown from almost any hotel.

  111. I’m from Southwestern PA with an in-between 28 year stint in the Southwestern US states and I have trouble understanding some of those Southern dialects, too! Rural Kentucky is really something else sometimes!

  112. The thing is, we LIKE yankees thinking we are odd. Now if we could only be odd enough for them to stay where they are rather than coming here for our reasonable housing, wonderful weather and great cities… we would be fine! πŸ™‚

  113. I think it is you who may have encountered the village idiot. Many of us in the South refer to them as debit cards. There are so many Southern dialects that I’m beginning to think that is why the Confederates lost the Civil War. They couldn’t understand each other!
    BTW I read your blog to my husband this morning (which I often do) and he said “She’s Canadian?” Now where has he been? πŸ˜‰

  114. Hi Stephanie,
    If you think they talk funny in Memphis, wait until you get to Boston this week! If you need a translator, I’m available.
    Seriously, I’m totally bummed that I can’t come meet you Friday night but I have this Civil War thingy that I have to do (my family and I are reenactors)
    I’m going to try like heck to get to the NH thingy next month.
    In the meantime, start practicing . . . pahk the cah in Hahvah Yahd.

  115. Laughing my ass off! (especially the temperature and Rhododendrons/azaleas!) I live in Maryland now (can’t wait to meet you at sheep&wool!), but I grew up in Delaware — mid-Atlantic, but questionably considered the south…One of my grandfathers was from Brooklyn, NY and the other from a teeny-tiny little railroad town in Ohio County, Kentucky! Boy, was my dialect confused! I had a New York accent until I went to kindergarten, then had no trouble picking up “ya’ll!”
    My favorite story about the south — we were visiting cousins and one of them said “Ah laack the way yaa’ll taawlk.”

  116. It was fun reading your impressions of the south. I know your experience (I’m from Michigan). Great folks of course, but hard to understand at first. They drop syllables in some words but add syllables to single syllable words (totally amazing). They have different names for things. I celebrate the differences. Wished I could have come down from Nashville to see you in Memphis.

  117. Born and Bread southener here and I thought that your post was really funny.
    I think some see it as picking fun at the south, but really you were picking fun at YOU.
    I cracked up….and even made DH read it. Try being southern in California…I am SICK of having people ask me to repeat words!

  118. I had to laugh at this. I am American and within the US I can go places and be the village idiot as well. And all without leaving my country of origin! And as a note… I have never gotten a cookie at hotel check in. Dang. I have been staying at all the wrong places!

  119. It’s not just you. I’ve lived in Atlanta most of my life (after being born an Illinois Yankee), and so has my husband. We went to his sister’s wedding at Cape Cod, Mass. and he went into a McDonald’s and ordered a sweet tea. The girl looked puzzled for a minute, and then handed him a cup of hot water, a tea bag, and three packs of sugar. We still laugh about that one. And when we lived very briefly in New York City in the early 1970’s, I was definately considered the village idiot by my co-workers because I could not understand what anyone said, and had to continually ask people to repeat themselves. Personally, I think you did really well to eat those grits – I avoid them at all costs. I suppose I should also mention that the only place I’ve ever gotten a cookie at check-in was in Connecticut. Bring your book tour to Atlanta, and I’ll be happy to translate for ‘ya.

  120. Steph, you’ll feel right at home in Seattle. Espresso carts on every corner. Vegetarian restaurants. Everyone wears clogs. Can’t swing a Microsoft Millionaire without hitting a fellow Canadian (and that millionaire might be Canadian too.) We all sound like CNN newscasters, so no foreign language to learn. It’s soda and debit card and your latte can be whole, two percent, nonfat, soy, or rice. Half caf if you’re sensitive or it’s late. Or you can get a chai. Tea is hot unless you say iced, and they’ll ask you what variety. (Although in August you might prefer an iced Americano which is watered espresso poured over iced. (Few places make decent drip imho.) Did I mention lots of vegetarian restaurants? And the seafood (if you indulge) is second to none.

  121. You’ll have a great time in Boston, Steph. If you grew up inside 128 (most of which is now officially I-95, but everyone still calls it 128) you say “tonic” and “so isn’t”; if you grew up outside 128, like me, you say “soda” and “so is” like the rest of the world. Two Boston suburbs are Medford and Bedford, pronounced Meffa and Bedferd or Bedfid (no, I don’t know why Bedford still has its d’s). Another one is Watertown, where if you are flashing you have all your clothes on but are imagining things.
    I will not see you in Boston, because you are coming to My Town, Acton, MA, on May 11. I cannot believe it. Willow Books is not taking reservations either, and has no idea either what it’s in for. Our knitting guild would love to take you to dinner.

  122. I loved reading your post on the South, and everyone’s comments. It sure bought back good memories! As you can tell, some people are sensitive to the way that Southerners are portrayed (any good-natured description of differences can sound like stereotyping to certain ears) but I for one, thouroughly enjoyed the trip back home.
    And, magnolia trees are really, really big, so I doubt you confused them with azealas (sp) or rhodies. (We just grow ’em smaller up here in the Northern latitudes.) Just wait until you see the rhodies in the PNW! They are awesome.
    Ingrid (transplanted Southerner & Northwesterner, to the upper midwest, US)

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