July 27, 2011

The Difference Between Yankees And Okies

Quite a few outsiders decide to make Oklahoma their home for various reasons. I’ve met some of them and we get a kick out of comparing our accents and cultures.

I met a fellow from New York; he’s been here for forty years but still retained some of his accent and way of saying things. One big difference is diversity. They still keep all the races in separate little neighborhoods and no one dares intermingle outside of that. I find this rather odd.

The man I met, we’ll call him Ed, said he came here to go to college. Oklahoma University draws quite a few people. While here he met his wife and after dating her for a while took her back home to meet his mama. First words out of his mother’s mouth were, “what are you?”

Now down here in Oklahoma nobody cares what you are; most of us are mutts and don’t have a problem with that. If you ask us what we are you’ll get different answers such as, Okie, southern or maybe even American but nationality doesn’t really come up so much since most don’t have a full pedigree.

She told Ed's mama she was Heinz 57, German, English and Dutch.

Then Ed’s mama asked her what her favorite vegetable was and she told her okra. She about come unglued.

Well, Ed’s mama didn’t want him to marry her because, not only was she not Italian, she wasn’t full blood anything. And who eats okra?

They married anyway, I don’t know the particulars and didn’t ask if his mama ever warmed up to her. It’s not polite to ask private questions when you just meet someone.

Around here we’ll ask a person, “where’re you from?” but nationality isn’t important. We’re just making polite conversation.

Aside from the diversity issue, he mentioned how we say things different down here. He drinks coffee and apparently in New York people take it with milk and sugar. Here in Oklahoma most people drink it black. He ordered a coffee, regular, which where he comes from means with milk and sugar. The waitress brought him a black cup of coffee. They had a discussion and he soon found out that we don’t do it that way down here. If you want extra condiments in your coffee you’ll have to put it in yourself. Of course now days you can go to Starbucks and probably get it that way.

I told him I didn’t drink coffee and he said tea is different too. If you order tea in New York you get a cup of hot tea. In Oklahoma you get a glass of iced tea and if you are in eastern or southern Oklahoma you get sugar in it.

I told him I drink my tea hot and he asked me why? “That’s not southern.”

I have no idea.

Ed also learned that southern people are all about brands. If you have a sniffle you ask for a Kleenex. We call all soft drinks Coke and then we’ll ask, “What kind of Coke do you want?”

If two cars hit one another we say, “They had a wreck.”

After visiting with him and a woman from Illinois they determined that I am bilingual; I speak Okie but I write English.

I wonder if I can put that on my resume?

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