Many southerners—as did my grandmother Nannie—brush off Texas and Florida as foreign lands. Inhabitants of the “authentic” southern states eagerly embrace strangers if they have common friends and, better yet, ancestors.
My grandmother Nannie had good taste, especially in decorative arts (inherited antiques). She also had a habit of inspecting people as closely as she did furniture. Her eyes swept over any new acquaintance hauled home for a visit. After pleasantries, she would shift to Old South dowager mode and inquire, “Who ah yo-ah pipple?” Translation: “Who are your people?”
That phrase implied her expectation of a who-what-when-where-how-why verbal press release from the soul who had just crossed the threshold. Southerners live this concept. Strangers from Virginia to Arkansas immediately engage in the dance of who-you-know-and-why-and-where. Usually they end up tripping over a common connection.
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