I am a Southerner and am proud to be from the South.
Just as we can spot someone with an accent from Massachusetts, they can spot us on their turf just as quickly.
“You from Tennessee?” the man asked.
I responded that I’m from Georgia.
“Ah, George-er,” he said.
They add an “er” to about everything, including Alabam-er, Atlant-er and Florid-er.
I have been in five New England states in the past few days and have met some of the nicest folks this side of George-er.
We were driving into Gloucester, Mass., and came upon a little restaurant called the Causeway Restaurant. It was located on the causeway, just south of town.
Gloucester, by the way, is famous as a seaport. It was featured in the movie, “The Perfect Storm.” Since 1716, they have lost more than 5,000 sailors on various boats leaving Gloucester. They have a monument of a captain wearing oilcloth and looking out to sea. Inscribed in granite are the words of Psalm 107: “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.”
At the Causeway Restaurant, you’ll see locals. It is a bring-your-own-bottle place and lots of local folks do. A guy who was waiting for a table was trying to tell me there used to be a package store next door.
“They used to have a packy, right dehr,” he told me.
The restaurant was doing land office business and their customers had obviously found another packy.
One fellow sitting near me made his own wine and wanted me to sample his homebrew. Let’s just say it was interesting. A guy at his table spoke with a pretty thick Italian accent. I asked him what he did for a living.
“I was a hit man,” he said.
I may not be steeped in the ways of the Northeast, but if a man tells you he used to be a hit man, just let it go. By the way, the chow-dah was out of this world.
On Sunday, we went to Providence, R.I., and visited the First Baptist Church in America. It was started by Roger Williams in 1638.
When I was a boy, I knew Roger Williams as the talented piano player famous for playing “Autumn Leaves.” I was hoping the piano player, who was pretty good, might cut loose on that classic. It was a different Roger Williams.
Folks in Providence sit in pews that have doors on the side and were numbered. You had assigned pews. I know some folks in Gainesville who would really like that arrangement.
Just as folks in the North think we are a bunch of rednecks who wear overalls and go barefoot, we have a perception they are cold and standoffish. We were both wrong. These are nice folks and I wish I had a little more time to spend with them.
As I write this, I’m leaving to head to New Hampshire to stay at the home of my friend, Peter Thomson, who has 9.000 maple trees that produce some mighty fine syrup. His daddy was governor of New Hampshire in the 1970s, and he is one of the finest guys I’ve ever known.
So, if you like real lobster, fresh maple syrup and folks who end their words in “er,” make plans for a trip to rural New England. You’ll love it.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.