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Carolyn Berridge said...

Frank, as a transplanted Californian I hugely enjoy your column and the comic relief it gives me. Hope you never stop writing.

Carolyn from Milan, IL

Terry Brock, Cambridge said...

Frank, Thank You for your many contributions. You make my Thursday morning read something to wait for. I offer a new topic: "Now is the time to start thinking about the upcoming spring weather patterns and that little known contributor: The Adiabatic Lapse Rate". It makes my grass grow and time to change the oil in my mower.

psteeby said...

Hi Frank,your article on the Midwest concept of time made me smile. It took me back to my 7 years spent in North Carolina after the 10 years I spent in Wyoming. I was raised in Illinois, and I have to tell you, my observations from a Midwestern perspective were just as extensive! I remember grocery shopping to a chorus of "excuse me"s from everyone I passed with my cart. I quickly learned that this was a comment on my graceless quick passage through the isles not an exaggerated sense of politeness. In the south "excuse me" may not indicate contrition for some offense but really mean you have offended me and you should excuse yourself! If you ask someone to "pass the salt" they are apt to pass it to you with an "excuse me" for not anticipating your desire to add salt to your food. (I guess) If you ask a woman(not lady) to repeat something you didn't hear you are more than likely treated to an even quieter version of what she had said. (also an indication that you have offended) In the south referring to a woman as a lady (polite reference in the midwest) was insulting due to a (I had this explained to me after a while)certain association with ladies of the evening. In the Midwest being referred to as "that woman" was my mothers censored version of, well, something you did not want to be. I learned that being called ma'm, fighting words here,is simply a southern learned measure of respect. When you're asked if you want slaw on your BBQ they mean literally they will put slaw "ON" your BBQ!
As for getting directions. Excuse me for contradicting your description of how they give directions in the south, but there is not anywhere you want to go that is not by some church or other. Ask if it is North or South of anywhere and you will get a mumbled "I don't know north or south but it's by the big Baptist church near the McDonalds. If you don't seem to be catching on to these directions, a particularly helpful person may treat you to further details that include the denomination of the Baptist church or the building's attributes that set it apart from the seemingly hundreds of others in the town.

In Illinois, it's Hi, in Wy Howdy with the w silent, in NC its "Hey" which caused me for many days to stop and turn around after greating someone in passing to see what they wanted. I would be treated to their unknowing backside walking away. Even after years I'd sometimes kick myself for making that mistake.

so anyway, "boy howdy" I enjoy your column..

Sally Fuhr said...

Don't look today, Frank, but Johnny Marx is trying to write like you. He knows nothing but sports although he writes a column of unrelated trivia because he can't develop an idea. You are a breath of fresh (if not hot) air on an editorial page that otherwise features the offensive Krauthammer, Don Goemble and a few others whose names escape me because I am overdue for lunch. Incidentally God made tomatoes red so you can spot them in the weeds.