Yankee In the South

No matter where you are from, it seems that we are still somewhat identified by the events that occurred during the Civil War. The dividing lines during that conflict determined if you were a Yankee or a Southerner and that designation for people of a region seems to have held over even today.

Ol’ Dutch was born and raised in Kansas and, since Kansas eventually was admitted to the Union as a Free State, I guess that makes me a Yankee. And of course, Miss Trixie, ever the yellow rose of Texas, is a Southerner through and through. This may explain some of the conflicts we have from time to time since battle lines as real as Lee vs Grant are drawn in our house replete with cannon fire and rebel yells.

Since Ol’ Dutch is so even-tempered and easy to get along with, plus handsome and of a tender and sweet nature, I can calm Trixie down when she goes on the warpath. (Miss Trixie’s medical problem of eye-rolling would keep her out of any modern-day army. She really does need to get that checked out.)

When I first began to hang out with these Southern folks, I soon learned that there are some things they do that are not really found in the more northern climes. And chief among Southern traditions is their food. Not only is it tasty but it is served in amounts that can feed anything from a harvest crew to an entire church social. Those people know how to cook.

However, there is one thing that Ol’ Dutch can't seem to get used to: Sweetea. Now you may think that should be two separate words as in, Sweet Tea but the difference between those two is as far apart as the politics that almost split the Union in half.

I will never forget the first time I went out to eat in the South and ordered iced tea. When the nice little girl sat it down on my table Ol’ Dutch took a big old swig and about gagged. It was so sweet it was just short of Karo Syrup consistency. Tea to these folks is always served as sweet as you can get it. And it's hard to find it any other way, actually. Doing a little research, I learned that they add copious amounts of sugar to boiling water so that the sugar will stay in suspension better.

It's kind of like hummingbird feeder water in that regard and I can tell you one thing, after a glass of that sugary concoction a person gets the jitters so bad you soon resemble a hummingbird flitting around the room yourself.

Just last week we were at Miss Trixie’s aunt's house and she served Ol’ Dutch a nice cold glass of — you guessed it — Sweetea. This prompted me to Google about boiling water and sugar and I came up with the following facts.

It seems that if you boil water before you add the sugar a person is able to get about seven pounds of sugar into a gallon of water. And from what I have tasted that's about the proportion used anywhere south of the Mason Dixon line. And honestly, I would not doubt that the old gals who make this stuff probably just put in the whole 10-pound bag of sugar so that the ants don't get in the remaining three pounds while stored in the cabinet.

It's so bad I do not doubt that one of the main contentious ideas that the North and South fought over was the use of Sweetea in all things southern.

And maybe, just maybe the cavities caused by said syrupy slurpy brown liquid is what sent southerner Doc Holliday over the edge and turned him from a doting young dentist into a hard-core killer of men.

Like booze before it, trust me, if drunk in enough quantities Sweetea will latch onto your eternal soul and feed the demons of carbohydrate cravings and expanding waistline pants to your eventual demise.

Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike daily. His email is [email protected]. Additional news can be found at www.troutrepublic.com