Snow: Every region has its polite folks – and its obnoxious ones

asnow@newsobserver.comJune 22, 2013 

It all started when I ran an item from one of my readers who reported an impatient driver honking his car horn behind a friend who had paused for a passing funeral procession.

Identifying herself as “one of those terrible Yankees,” she said newcomers should be aware that the custom is a Southern one.

Her innocent comment and my misplaced assumption of its truth have drawn response seemingly from transplants from every corner of the globe – well, at least the USA.

Several raised another question: When does a “Yankee” become a “Southerner?”

Rosemary Harrell of Hillsborough, born and bred in Brooklyn, speaks for a lot of you:

“I know this will sound thin-skinned, but after living in North Carolina for twenty years I’m a little weary of being labeled the rude ‘Yankee.’

“There’s no way of knowing who that honking driver was or where he hailed from. There are lovely, courteous people all over this country, and there are rude obnoxious ones in all the same places.

“The South does not have a monopoly on the former and the North most certainly not on the latter.”

Very well stated, indeed. Neither courtesy nor discourtesy is a regional characteristic.

But it has taken a long time for some of the natives to recuperate from what was generally known as the “Second Invasion of Yankees” that occurred in the ’60s when Raleigh was a Southern “village.” Perhaps I’ll write about that one day.

A bird in one

Not many of you men equate the “high” of a bluebird perching on a shoulder with the high of scoring a touchdown or making a hole-in-one on the golf course.

When reader Jim Stegall lived in Ridgeway, Va., he was a friend of Bill Clark, then the local postmaster and a golf addict.

Jim said his friend one year scored his first hole-in-one around Thanksgiving.

“But what happened next was even better than his hole-in-one on the previous hole!” Jim reported. “He stepped up, addressed the ball and hit a beautiful drive down the fairway where the ball hit a tom turkey crossing the golf course and struck him dead.”

Lest ye think this a piece of fiction, Jim wants you to know that his friend had three reliable witnesses: two preachers and a Sunday school teacher.

Summer profile

No doubt about it. Summer’s here. Temperatures of 97 or higher are proof enough.

The fireflies have arrived. Little people are out with glass jars capturing the insects that dot the darkness with their tail lights.

Along with fireflies making their seasonal debut are Satan’s ambassadors, the snakes.

According to N.C. Cooperative Extension service, North Carolina leads the nation in snake bites per population – a dubious honor. One of the few, if not the only poisonous viper in this neighborhood, is the copperhead.

A single hummingbird came calling one day recently, scouting the premises on its way north from South America. The feeder is out.

And then there’s the wood thrush, shy and retiring, lifting its lilting song from the woods behind the house.

Remember what poet Robert Browning said of this incomparable soprano?

“That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, lest you should think he never could recapture the first fine careless rapture!”

Summertime? You better believe it!

Food for thought

The woman in Oscar Wilde’s “A Woman of No Importance” says, “Men always want to be a woman’s first love. That is their clumsy vanity. We women have a more subtle instinct about things. What we like is to be a man’s last romance.”

Snow: 919-836-5636 or

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