I recently spent some time in the Atlanta area with my favorite cousins. I often think we are closer than our respective brothers. I don’t know why but since we were young we always seemed to gravitate to each other. The time we spend together, to say the least, is always interesting. But that is the way it is in the south, family is family and nothing gets between that. Now remember, we weren’t always together, there were times when were thousands of miles apart but when we came back together it was as if we were never apart. I have always looked up to him simply because he was the big brother I never knew and the fact we were so much alike drew us that much closer. This visit was not unlike many of our other visits we joked, we drank and we enjoyed friends and family.
Now most of us, that were born in Georgia, are fans of the Atlanta Braves, The Falcons, The Georgia Bulldogs, or Georgia Tech. Being spring of course the Braves are the team being celebrated and cheered on. However, my cousin is a die-hard Yankees fan, but he will root for the Braves when the Yankees aren’t in town. So, on this visit we made a special visit to the new and improved SunTrust park, now home to the Braves. While walking around the Battery, I couldn’t help but think of some Georgians who were legendary Braves fans. One of the first ones that came to mind was the amazing southern writer Lewis Grizzard and in second place my Papaw, Eugene Cannon.
Lewis Grizzard wrote for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and authored many books. Now Mr. Grizzard was not what you would think of when you think of a proclaimed author. Educated at the University of Georgia, he refused to write for the school and instead he wrote for the local city newspaper. The articles he produced always uplifted Georgia and the southern way of life. He wrote from the heart of a southerner and just as we do here in the South he used the vernacular that most anyone from the Southeast United States would understand. In fact, when asked about his use of slang he stated “Yankees don’t understand that the southern way of talking is a language of nuance. What we can do in the South is we can take a word and change it a little bit and make it mean something altogether different. His example was the word Naked. He said that “In the South there is a difference between Naked and Nekkid. He went on to explain that Naked means you don’t have any clothes on. Whereas Nekkid means you don’t have any clothes on and you are up to something.
Grizzard was not only a proponent of southern culture but a champion of Georgia culture. His love for the Georgia Bulldogs, the Atlanta Falcons, and The Braves were only surpassed for his love of this state and its amazing traditions. Not many people understand the culture of the Southeast United States, some are even boggled by it, but once they have visited and been treated in so many ways they would have to like at least one of them, they often stay.
So, the next time you are in another part of the country, or the world for that matter, dig a little deeper in to the local culture. You just might find something you like. Until next time ‘Bye Ya’ll’.
Mike Cannon - Contributing author
A southern boy, born and bred. He was born in Atlanta Georgia, and has lived in some part of the state all his life. He currently resides in Ringgold Georgia which is a bedroom community to Chattanooga Tennessee. Growing up in the south has given him a unique prospective of the culture and tremendous knowledge of the food that the southeastern United States is so proud of. He enjoys watching the Braves in the summer, the Bulldogs in the fall, and NASCAR in the late winter. He is an avid hunter and fisher. He loves a good party and once you get to know him you have a friend for life. Mike will be a regular columnist on our site, sharing stories about his life in the south, it will be up to you to determine which of these are true and which are simply tales.