That was the word used in a northern newspaper headline to describe people from the south. Just because we don’t know how to drive in a couple of inches of snow.
The south can’t get a break. If a heavy thunderstorm comes within 30 miles of New York City it’s all the media ever talks about for a month. There are even benefit concerts with Bruce Springsteen headlining. And it’s never just a New York problem. The talking heads on the news are sure to remind us that New York’s problem is America’s problem. And whoever happens to be New York’s mayor/governor/czar is, by default, America’s mayor/governor/czar.
On the other hand, when a rare snow storm shuts down a few cities in the south, it’s because we’re backwards. And we’re wimps.
I wasn’t aware that not being able to drive in the snow classified one as being a wimp. Quickly, here is a list of a few people who I’m quite sure would not be able to drive in the snow.
1. John Wayne
2. King David
3. Bruce Lee
So, if in fact we are wimps, at least we’re in good company.
Talk to me in six months when the news is reporting about a “heat wave” that is ravaging New England with highs in the mid 80s.
“But you don’t understand,” I’m reminded by my friends from the north. “Most of the houses up there don’t have central air conditioning.”
Interesting. And we’re the ones who are backwards?
But maybe being called a backwards wimp isn’t so bad.
Especially when a “backwards” man in Alabama named Mark Meadows reopened his Chick-fil-a restaurant during our little snow storm so that he could cook chicken and hand it out, free of charge, to stranded motorists. When asked why they were doing this, one of Mr. Meadows’ employees said that helping those in need was more important than earning a dollar.
And how about the wimpy students just north of Atlanta at Kennesaw State University? They spent Tuesday afternoon pushing cars out of ditches and up hills. On Wednesday, they woke up early to do it all again.
Strangely, all of this generosity happened without the prodding of some new government program. No federal tax dollars were spent when those kids pushed cars, Mark Meadows reopened his store and dozens of Home Depots turned into temporary shelters. How does something like that happen without government intervention in such a backwards part of the world?
While it is true that southerners aren’t the best at driving in the snow, that wasn’t really the problem that caused the rest of the country to look down their collective noses at us. The real culprit was the poor planning of bureaucrats and elected officials. I’m sure that nobody up north can relate to the misguided actions of a few government officials negatively impacting the lives of thousands of people.
With the exception of a brief stint in Louisville, Kentucky, I’ve lived in the south all of my life. Sorry. Louisville is a nice place but it’s just not the south. When you order sweet tea in a restaurant and they inform you that there is sugar on the table, you officially are not in the south. Anyway, I’ve lived most of my life in the south. It’s far from perfect. But it is home.
I’ve got friends down here that may not be much for driving in the snow but are sure enough good at building sheds in their backyard with their own hands, fixing Jeeps and checking in on widows when it starts to get cold outside. There are a lot of words I could use to describe these men. Wimp is not one of them.
I’ve preached a lot of funeral services. At most of them I stand in a room with the family to say a final prayer before the service begins. The funeral director is always very clear.
“I need the family to come into this room over here so that the preacher can pray with you before the service begins. Just the family.”
Most of the funerals I preach are for white families. But at a lot of those funerals, when I pray with “just the family” there are several black men and women in there with us. Just the family. The kind that runs deeper than skin color. That is not to say that race relations are everything that they are supposed to be in the south. Far from it. But maybe the south isn’t quite as backwards as one might think.
By the weekend all of our snow will be gone. But you’ll still be able to smell fried chicken when you drive through the center of the town where I live. And the next time it snows, some of us will have a hard time going up a hill or getting our car out of a ditch. That’s okay. Because while we’re waiting on a friend to show up in his 4-wheel drive and pull us out, we’ll probably be able to get some free chicken.
If that’s backwards, I’m okay with that.
Besides, I never was much of a Springsteen fan anyway.