In the South, there are many folkways that have been studied by anthropologists through time. One that probably hasn’t received a lot of attention is the way we, as Southerners, rush out to the grocery store to snatch up bread, milk and eggs when there is a threat of bad weather, particularly when forecasts are calling for snow and ice.
In the North, when weather forecasts are calling for inclement winter weather, people rush to the grocery stores to buy non-perishable food items, like canned tuna; things that can be eaten without having to be cooked. Or, at least that’s what I’ve been told by my friends who live in the North.
Last week, when a cold front came through the area, one of my assignments was to take photographs of the dusting of snow we received.
I was on my way to the southern end of the county; looking for horses in a snow-covered field that I could photograph when I saw it — a perfectly good loaf of bread — lying in the middle of the road.
I immediately surmised what had happened.
The person who purchased the bread had either let it fall out of the shopping bag, or had laid atop their roof of their vehicle, forgotten it, only to have it to slide off when they drove down the highway.
I was certain they would be cursing themselves when they arrived home and realized they did not have one of the items necessary for making it through a period of winter weather in the South.
I drove around looking for horses in a snow-covered field, but was unsuccessful. When I finally gave up and decided to drive north instead of south to look for a photograph to take of the snow, I drove along that same stretch of road and couldn’t help to notice the loaf of bread was still lying there. The person had not come to reclaim their recently purchased loaf of bread.
The fact that we, as Southerners, purchase bread, milk and eggs when there is a threat of bad weather is something Northerners truly find puzzling. They just don’t get it.
We buy bread, milk and eggs because we seldom have such bad weather that renders us immobile for days on end. Typically, snow and ice here is gone within a day or two, and very seldom do we have a winter storm so bad that there is a power failure, causing us to rely on non-perishable food to survive.
As I drove along, I couldn’t help but to think of my friends who live up north and what they would say had it been them finding the loaf of bread lying in the middle of the road.
They would probably have just laughed and said something like “silly Southerners.”
Gina Kinslow is a staff writer for the Glasgow Daily Times. She can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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