Learning to Live in the South


I, a Northerner, recently moved to a southern state.

For years, I had a girl scarecrow on a stick which I placed in my front shrubbery bed every Halloween season.  Last year, she looked worn and sad, so I replaced her after Halloween with a black crow scarecrow at a reduced price.  He was in an open box of tall things like shovels, rakes, brooms, etc.  I also found my seasonal front door wreaths.

My grandson was arriving to spend the weekend with me, so I decided I needed to get out some seasonal decorations — placed a fall basket of flowers on the front door and stuck the black crow scarecrow in the shrubbery bed.  Shortly after placing it there, my builder’s salesman stopped in to check on something.  As he entered, he said, “What’s with the ethnic scarecrow?”

I didn’t know what he meant.  I asked, “What’s wrong with it?”

“You’re a Northerner.”

“I don’t know what you mean!  What’s wrong with a scarecrow?”

“It’s the color of it.”

“But a crow is black!  It is a black crow scarecrow!”

He made it known that some people would not take kindly to a black crow scarecrow.  I was confused.

Immediately after he left, Ray, a new friend from the neighborhood, walked by.  Ray happens to be black.  So, I called to him, “Hey! Ray!  What do you think of my scarecrow?”

“I know it is OK, because I know your heart.”

WHAT?!!!  “Are you saying there are some people who would not like it?”

“It is possible someone who doesn’t know you would not understand.”

“You’ve got to be kidding!!! I would never use a decoration which was negative to anyone!”

“I know that, but not everyone does.”

“OK.  He is going in the trash.”

The term “Jim Crow” came to mind, and, though I had no memory of what that term meant, I wondered if that would have anything to do with people having a negative opinion of a black crow scarecrow, so I looked it up.  The Jim Crow laws, in effect from the 1800s to 1975, made it illegal for black people to do many things which only whites were allowed to do.  One law was that a black person could not play a game with a white person!  This type of thinking is totally offensive and unrealistic to me.  I have no comprehension of someone who would create such rules.

I am guessing, but, I assume Jim is typically a white name.  Crow, of course, is a black animal.  So the very name Jim Crow sets one name against the other if your brain is working in a segregation mode.

I am very grateful my salesman let me know my decoration was not “cute.”


About 9awalsh

A genealogist and writer who has uncovered legacy stories which must be told. I also write a blog, Deciphering Life, trying to figure out why life becomes so tangled -- www.9awalsh.wordpress.com
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2 Responses to Learning to Live in the South

  1. Dear GA,
    I had to chuckle when I read your tale of learning to live in the South. I moved South from Iowa in 1970 when Uncle Sam assigned me to Craig AFB in Selma, Alabama. I don’t know how far South you moved, but Selma, at that time, was the poster child for the “We’re-not-over-the-Civil-War-yet, South. I was a fish out of water for several years, I don’t know how many times I heard, “You’re not from around here are you?” It wasn’t a question. My non “you’re-not-from-around-here-are-you?” accent gave me away. I have a barn full of some interesting, some funny and some sad stories I can share with you, and may in some future replies. I also have a “Guide to Northerners Moving South” article I can send you if you like. It’s more funny than useful.
    Good writing and great posts by the way.


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