Fall Ain’t Nothin’ But Summer With Pumpkins, Y’all
Let's talk for a minute about what living in the Deep South does to people. Because it kinda makes us crazy. And amazing.
The most important thing people need to understand is that everything is pretty much fake around here. This is because nothing is really real in any way that matters. Take seasons, for example. The South doesn't have them. The leaves never change color in the fall (unless you count a little brown here and there), snow never falls in the winter (except when it does), the entirety of spring consists of about half a dozen nice days (if you don't count the allergies) that serve as a warning that summer is coming, and then...summer comes. Most of the year is summer, really. We only get glimpses of other seasons in the same way fancy bits of garnish sit on the sides of expensive plates at high-end restaurants. They're just there for contrast and provide no nutritional value whatsoever.
Where the pastiche comes in is in how everyone in the South pretends we experience actual seasons. There are no harvests here, apart from whenever it is that you harvest rice and soybeans. There are festivals for that, but it's hard to get too worked up about piles of grains and beans in the same way one can get pumped up for pumpkins. We do have pumpkin patches in the fall, though. It's just that they're usually on the front lawns of churches and they're filled with pumpkins grown someplace else, then imported and plopped down amid scattered hay bales to give the impression of a fall harvest. Parents take their kids and probably end up buying the cheapest overpriced pumpkin they can find so they don't feel too guilty about only really being there for pictures.
The same goes for winter. It hardly ever snows (and even when it does, it's the kind of snow real snow laughs at and makes fun of at parties), yet everywhere you go are decorations and homes dolled up in fake snowflakes and pretend snowmen and all the usual Christmastime trappings. Even when the weather doesn't dip below the mid-70s, you'll still find people dressed up in whatever the latest winter fashions are for any given year. Designed for actual cold weather, the people wearing them might sweat and stink, but they look fabulous.
Even the summer - the time of year that most permeates every waking hour in the Deep South - is an echo of what it's supposed to be. What it's expected to be. The temperature regularly climbs well over 100 degrees and stays there, day and night, while the humidity is always - always - so thick and heavy that it threatens to suffocate anyone who dares go outdoors. People not from the South don't really understand the whole humidity thing, but it says a lot that my kid used to think we were walking around in "tree sweat" whenever we went outside, which isn't nearly as goofy as it sounds, at least from an 8-year-old's perspective. Trees are, after all, always outdoors where it's hot and miserable, so they must be sweating their barks off. Makes sense, especially when you consider the smell.
And yet, all of the usual images of summer are everywhere. Every commercial on TV shows kids spending time outside, frolicking in the green grass among rolling hills that don't exist, all smiles as they run and play and experience nature, but it's all just marketing. In reality, the southern sun is trying to kill us all, and what it can't manage on its own, the mosquitos and snakes are more than happy to take care of. It's best to just stay indoors where the skin cancer and Zika virus aren't.
Everything is pretend in the South, but we kind of like it that way. Sure, we don't get many snow days around here during the winter, but we also don't have to worry about shoveling our driveways every morning, so it balances out. When fall comes, we get the same Pumpkin Spice Everything everywhere else gets, and kids still go trick-or-treating on Halloween. We're not really missing out on much other than the whole weather thing. Spring can be tricky because we basically have all the pollen around here, but they make pills for that now, so we're good.
We might spend a fortune on air conditioning, but we also have the best tasting food in the world, our people are friendlier than anywhere else in the country, our music is better, we know how to use the word y'all properly, and Coca-Cola is always called Coke, never Pop. And that ain't nothin'.
All y'all not from the South might think you're better than us because you get this season or that season, but whatever. We're tougher than you because we deal with real heat down here. All. The. Time.
What we call a nice day would see you crywhining on social media about how you're dying when the mercury climbs over 85 degrees, bless your hearts. Sure, you might think your winters make you tough, but you can layer on as many clothes as you need to stay warm. We can only get so naked to cool down around here before somebody calls the cops on us, so we've learned to suck it up and stay strong.
We could also mention hurricanes, but it's not a competition or anything. We'd be winning if it was, though.