My recent post about how to speak “Appalachian” gave me inspiration to write this one. Aside from having a special way of expressing ourselves, we also have a certain way of doing things. As one of the chosen few to be born in Virginia 😉 I want to share a bit about the Virginia way of life. Some of these things are just generally Virginia-related, while others are specific to the area of the state where we live.
The double yellow line on a two lane road is merely a suggestion that is loosely followed. As long as we don’t actually hit each other, we’re good.
When you pass someone going in the opposite direction, you always give a one or two finger “steering wheel” wave. If you actually know them, they get a full hand “steering wheel” wave. But when it snows, you grip the steering wheel for all you’re worth. Despite being nestled in the mountains, we completely freak out when it snows and most of us have no idea how to drive in it.
Hams are so salty that they have to be soaked in water before being baked to get the excess salt out. Sweet tea is consumed by the gallon, and gravy is a breakfast food.
All sodas are also referred to as a “Coke,” even if they’re actually Pepsi.
Food and drink are also central to all functions and events. When you go over to visit someone, you’re always offered something to eat and you are almost always invited to stay for the next meal.
On the Scenery
I’ve always loved how our state has a little bit of everything. We’ve got the beach over in the Tidewater area, a mix if cities and flatlands in the Piedmont region, and mountains and valleys in the Blue Ridge and Alleghany sections. Our Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the larger Appalachian Mountain range that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Up close our mountains are green, but from far away they truly earn their name.
Our mountains are also home to the most miles of the Appalachian Trail of any state.
On Our History
Virginia is steeped in history, since our history basically started when we got here with Jamestown in 1607. Thanks to this, we started learning our state’s history early on in school (around 4th grade) and spent two or three years on it. As a kid I was always jealous of kids who lived in California, because their state history basically didn’t start until the Gold Rush.
Thanks to this schooling, you better be careful when starting a discussion with us about the Civil War, Virginia presidents (ahem… four of the first five presidents were Virginians, and we’re home to more presidents than any other state), etc. It’s likely to be a long, and possibly one-sided, conversation.
We’re proud of our state and of our fellow Virginians who have made a name for themselves and their home state – from George Washington to Booker T. Washington; Meriwether Lewis to Patsy Cline; and Shirley MacLaine to Gabby Douglas.
On Our Pride
And finally, our pride. I think this post pretty much sums it up, but I’ll expound upon the topic a bit. First of all, manners matter. Being polite to those you know and to strangers is important. Yes sir, no ma’am, please and thank you will get you a long way. So will talking about the weather.
We are also very passionate about our sports teams and we root for them with gusto. From our favorite driver, to our favorite college football team, to one of DC’s professional sports teams (which we claim as our own, because they are).
We love our state and we love where we come from. Virginia born and raised is said with pride. Although be warned! If you ask us where in Virginia we are from, it’s going to be a long winded answer, because there’s a lot of variety in this state. We’ll almost never tell you the name of our town, but instead we’ll say “DC” or “outside of DC” or “1 hour south of Richmond” or “between Richmond and Charlottesville” or “Western Virginia” near a college you may have heard of. You get the idea. Talk to us about our state or where we grew up, and we’ll be talking awhile!
What are the customs and/or social norms of the place you grew up? What about where you live now?