Katie Strumpf
"Helping kids with cancer.......a cancer survivor's story"  

Your Southern Roots are Showing...

The words were out of my mouth before I even realized it.

I clapped my hand over my mouth and stared in shock at the saleslady as she handed me my change and my decaf iced-coffee with skim milk.

I was so flustered that I dropped my change, and she smiled back, bemused, likely wondering what had rattled me so in our short exchange.

I was rattled by two small words that formed a polite response.

“Yes Ma’am.”

It would appear my Southern roots are showing.

I was born in Columbia, S.C., and legend has it that my Brooklyn born and bred father heard me say “Git the ball, Daddy, git it.”, during an innocent game of catch, and that was enough to send us up North. Settled in Maryland, I quickly lost my Southern accent, and adopted the ambiguous accent of the D.C. metropolitan area.

I grew up in a house where Southern iced tea was a staple, and grits were the gruel of choice.  However, “Yes Ma’am” was a phrase I uttered sullenly when I was in trouble. (Which was often.) I can still hear my mom ordering “You mean, ‘Yes, Ma’am” to my most recent talking back.

So you can see why I reacted the way I did.

Adam was also born in the South, but lived there until he was 10, unlike my mere 2 years.  He was in an elevator with his Philly-born and bred grandmother when he asked her if he could “mash the button.”

Adam found himself living in the land of Philly cheesesteaks shortly after.

I suppose there are worse things than saying “Yes Ma’am.” At least I said it without talking back.

I think my mom would be proud.

Not so sure about my dad.


Posted by Katie Strumpf at 9:57 AM on May 12, 2011 | Comments (0)


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