Now, it is true that many of us New Englanders do appreciate a few weeks of winter break in Florida. But, likewise, most of us perversely love the cold weather in April and early May we call spring. Yet, when transplanted from our rocky soil to Myrtle Beach, the locals think we should all go home because we endlessly gripe about the lack of New England things like no Finan Haddie, pilot bread, ice storms on the coast, and B&M baked beans.
True, a certain number become lulled into a traitorous rebellion against all things Yankee, jump ship, and become southern every year. They adopt Southernism’s, like calling everyone honey, describing things as bodacious, and using the term Y’all. However, those who remain find our numbers bolstered by expatriates from the south who have seen the aesthetic beauty of our snow-covered landscapes, local cuisine, and rocky beaches. They have found meaning in life with snow shovels and operating cranky snowblowers.
Having spent the first eighteen years of my life in New York City, I had much to catch up on when I moved to coastal Maine. My principal guides were my in-laws, a coastal family that looked upon the Mayflower bunch as parvenu Johnnie-come lately imports. But, of course, they’d already been on the coast for years previous. And as paragon guides to all things New England and coastal, they sought to teach me the proper ways to live.
Early on, I’d accidentally get things right, like a broken clock-face is correct twice a day. I got rewarded, and proper behavior was reinforced. Most difficult of all was the language. I had to learn new sayings and words and expressions, so I would not always be taken for someone “from away.”
Eventually, the big day came. I got into a cab in New York City, told the cabbie where I wanted to go, and got a quizzical query about where I was from. New York City, I responded. He gave me a look that said, “Yeah, sure!” I was a New Englander.
So now I look disparagingly on those who decamped to southern climes to escape Januaries. I am New England Strong! But on a snowy February morning, I’ll kick my damn snowblower every once in a while and wish I was in Florida.
Please don’t tell my sister, who lives in Virginia.