Southern Boy Visits Yankee Country … by One o’the Nine

Resuming my occasional publication of an uncle’s memories as published in the local community newspaper, this entry reflects an incident from a trip probably taken sometime in the 1980’s to visit Canada and Michigan, and was first published May 28, 1987.


My wife and I just returned from a trip to Michigan and Canada. We had a great time, and enjoyed the scenery especially. When we left beautiful Lafayette County [Florida], it was very warm, but when we arrived in Detroit it was only forty-seven degrees. Quite a change. We had a wonderful host. He and his beautiful wife took us on tours of the city, and to the best restaurants in town.

One evening they took us to the Detroit Yacht Club to have supper. There was only one thing wrong. Those yankees just don’t know what real food is, and don’t know how to cook what they have. We were at this fancy yacht club and the waitress came to take our order.

She said “What can I bring you, sir?

I said, “bring me a mess of grits and a glass of clabber. All she gave me was a blank look. Those yankees just don’t kow what they’re missing. I promised our host and his wife that when they came to Florida I would take them on a tour of Mayo and we would have dinner at the Do Drop Inn.

I met several of the yacht club members, each one had a yacht as big as a house, but I couldn’t help wondering if airy one of those suckers ever had to pick tobacco or hoe cotton out under the hot sun. I’ll bet they haven’t ever had the ground itch and scratched their foot on the foot board of the bed to relieve the itch.

When we were boys growing up on the farm in north Florida during the great depression, sometimes my brother and I had us a yacht that we took a cruise on. It was a No. 3 wash tub we would squeeze up into and float down the creek. It wasn’t as fancy as the ones at the club we visited, but I’ll bet my cowboy boots we were just as happy as those fellows with all their millions.

We also went to the beautiful country of Canada, and when we got to the border on the way back, the border guard asked what we had to declare. Well, I up and answered, “Mam, I declare I will be glad to get back to Mayo, and that’s a fact.”

If anyone is thinking of maybe being a missionary, may I suggest you go to Detroit city and start a school to teach yankees how to drive; also, while you’re there, you can teach them how to cook.

Postscript: As much as this accounting might make him sound like Barney Fife or Goober from Mayberry RFD, my uncle cleaned up very well. In fact he was known as being one of, if not THE, most dapper of the nine boys. He was always very careful about how he looked when he went out in public. In spite of his lack of formal education beyond high school, he became a businessman first (gasoline and tire station) and eventually a Baptist minister. His style of humor and his lack of inhibition took him pretty far, as he would say it, “for an old country boy.” He and his brothers were very close both to each other and to the land they grew up on, my grandfather’s 900 acres. None of them ever roamed very far from home, and were always eager to get back no matter where they went or how long they were away. Mayo is a small town in Florida where he lived at the time. In the 2000 Census, the population was 988. As far as I know, the Do Drop Inn was just a euphemism for anyplace where anyone could drop in without paying a membership.

4 thoughts on “Southern Boy Visits Yankee Country … by One o’the Nine

  1. LOL! They may not have grits, but they certainly have a sense of humor. I’ve been away from the south enough years, that counts even more with me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This was a pleasure to read. I got lost in New Hampshire and ended up at a restaurant in the middle of nowhere that specialized in serving key lime pie! – that seemed a bit of place.

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