One of the more common statements I heard repeatedly while in NY was “You are not from around here are you?” It was apparent. As one lady said, “I don’t know what you said, but could you say it again? I like the way you said that.” It was quite humorous.
One time I walked out of the church meeting at the America Legion Hall and out on the sidewalk was a small boy about 3 or 4 years of age. He had a stick in his hand and he was tormenting (or playing with) some ants that were scurrying in and around the cracks in the sidewalk. I got down on my knees and began to poke at them as well. He never once looked at me. He didn’t look to see who I was, where his daddy was or anything else. He never broke stride so to speak with what he was doing. I engaged him in conversation and he talked back to me. We carried on a conversation while both of us played with the ants. It was sort of odd. Finally I asked him if he knew where I was from because I spoke different from him. He said, “I think you are from Texas.” That was funny. I told him I was from South Carolina. We chatted a bit more and then I told him goodbye. I don’t think he ever looked up at me.
Another time we were going into McDonalds. Brook Sutters (I think his name was something like that) was from the mountains of NC. He had one of the more “hick-a-fied” voices you would ever want to hear. He was a hoot to talk with, listen to. The folks in NY loved to hear him. He sounded something like what they thought the Beverly Hillbillies would sound like.
One evening we went into McDonalds and Brook was ahead of me. He was at the counter ordering something. I walked in the double-doors while he was ordering. There were about two registers between him and a lady who was about to order. When Brook opened his mouth the lady two registers down turned to look to see where that sound came from. It was my friend. Apparently she had never heard anything like it before. She froze, trancelike as she stared at him. She never turned her body, which was still facing the counter. However, her head was turned and it was facing Brook. It was a 90 degree sort of thing from her shoulders to her head. I stopped and savored the moment at the front door. She was mesmerized by it all and everything became sort of surreal and frozen in time.
I walked to one of the middle registers, between the two of them. Brook had no idea she was staring at him. I stood there, then turned and faced the frozen lady. She never saw me though I was impeding her view. I said, in my most drawn out Southern voice, “He ain’t from around here.” She said “Yes” before she realized she was talking to another one of them. Then she snapped out of it all and realized there were at least two of them in the building.