I was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, in a hospital that no longer exists, but stood across the road from the beach front of the Gulf of Mexico, just about as far south as a body could get. To this day, every trip past its former location is duly pointed out as the place of my birth, just as though the building still stood. I can vaguely remember what it looked like, a square blockish sort of a multi-storied building, unornamented in its huge expanse of lawn, looking very stark and unappealing to me, who was used to the artistry of the Mayo Clinic buildings in Rochester, Minnesota, full of original works of art inside and out.
Although I was raised up north, first in Chicago, then Minnesota, that first nine months left its effect, at least in the minds of my relations.
When one of the cousins, after listening to us for a while, announced, "Y'all saund sah fahnny," I hardily agreed -- they all DID sound funny to me. But just let me be around them for more than four days at a time, and I commence to sound just like them! Truly amazing to me how that works...
Someone recently sent me a bunch of Southern stuff; among the various entries, written by a Northerner, I am sure, although purporting to be by a Southerner, was this little gem:
If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't think we will automatically accept them as Southerners. After all, just because the cat had kittens in the oven doesn't make 'em biscuits.
The piece ended:
Send this to a whole bunch of people what ain't related to you and I reckon your life will turn into a country music song afore you know it.
And y'all take care, now ... ya hear?
Just a tad bit too broadside to be authentic to my ear...