We often hear about the “New South,” and it’s generally used in the context suggesting that it is an improvement over the “Old South.” Leaving issues of race aside, let’s see if things are all that much better.
In the Old South you would never hear: “Will Pepsi be alright?” if you ordered a coke.
In the Old South the older kids taught us to play baseball. Little League was a Yankee deal.
In the Old South we learned manners at an early age. I remember calling one of my Aunts by her first name, and picking myself up out of the corner.
In the Old South we went to church on Sunday and on Wednesday nights too, if you were Baptist. Fried chicken was a big deal for Sunday dinner, which by the way, we ate just after church.
In the Old South we ate breakfast in the morning, dinner at noon and supper after work. There were no brunches, lunches, or munches.
In the Old South high school football mattered, and Saturdays were not much fun if you lost on Friday night. Everybody had an opinion about what you did wrong.
In the Old South Fair night was a big deal. The lights, music, and fair food transformed a vacant lot into a fairyland.
In the Old South Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President, and Kate Smith sang God Bless America every Saturday night.
In the Old South a trip to the Railway Express Office at the Depot was a treat, especially if you got to watch the Western Union telegrapher send his Morse code messages. Our guy used a Prince Albert Tobacco can as a resonator.
In the Old South we swam in creeks, climbed water tanks and spent our days outside, but sometimes we might listen to the adventures of Sky King or Sgt Preston.
In the Old South there were four seasons, planting, chopping, picking, and hunting.
In the Old South we burned our leaves in the street, chased after the DDT truck, and left our doors unlocked.
In the Old South we stood up when a lady came into the room, and we didn’t wear our baseball cap inside the house, let alone in the café.
In the Old South you didn’t go whining about how unfair things were at school if you didn’t want another whipping when you got home.
In the Old South we started driving at twelve and working by fifteen.
In the Old South comic books were a dime, cokes were a nickel, and you got a hamburger for a quarter. You could buy a tank of gas for less than $5.00, and shotgun shells were $1.25 a box.
In the Old South the local National Guard Unit was considered a civic asset, and we all wanted to join up. Of course we all had an eight year military obligation to encourage our interest.
The Old South didn’t have TV’s, cell phones, I-pads or PDAs. If you needed to call home, you put a nickel in a pay phone and asked central to get your momma on the line, and it had better be an emergency.
The Old South didn’t have marijuana, cocaine, crack or meth. We did have Pabst Blue Ribbon and Colonel Lee in half pints, and most people either smoked, chewed or dipped, and sometimes did all of the above.
In the Old South we never were sent to rehab or juvenile court; we were sent to the Marine Corp.
In the Old South we were never concerned with issues like “right to life.” If your girlfriend turned up pregnant, you married her or ran off to the Marine Corp.
In the Old South bankers made character loans, crop loans and G.I Loans.
In the Old South doctors made house calls and didn’t worry much about health insurance or malpractice insurance.
In the Old South we didn’t have school on Robert E. Lee’s birthday, and we never celebrated the 4th of July because that was the day that Vicksburg fell, and we stood when the band played Dixie.
In the Old South the Western Auto Store had everything one could want or need, and if they were missing something, the drug store probably had it.
In the Old South we had inner tubes. You could patch them when they got a puncture, and they made great sling shots and rubber guns when worn out.
In the Old South the Browns were in St. Louis, the Braves in New York, and the Dodgers in Brooklyn.
There is no doubt that the New South is different from the Old South but one might question that it’s a better place to live.