Having spent a couple of days of spring break in northern Indiana with my son, daughter and husband, I am keenly aware of the differences between Hoosier country and the hills of Arkansas.
You know you are in Hoosierland if …
• the steepest hill does not rise as high as the tallest southern pine.
• Popular restaurants advertise “Amish home cooking.”
• Garage sales offer lots of winter clothes.
• the black soil stains nothing, but grows everything.
• Quilt making is a major home industry.
• Hoosier Hysteria means there is more seating for high school basketball than there is for high school football.
• Pre-teens deliver newspapers in the afternoon.
• Folks with earth movers clear parking lots and back alleys of snow in the winter for a living. If, as happened this year, it does not snow enough to require snow removal, then they make money by coming in and thawing out frozen sewer lines and septic systems the froze up due to lack of a good insulation of snow.
• The cash product from trees is not lumber, it’s maple syrup. By the time the sap is boiled down into syrup, it is truly liquid gold.
• No one is surprised to see rust on a car half a dozen years old. It is guaranteed with all the salt used on the icy roads every winter.
• The cash crops are corn and soy beans, not loblolly pine or cotton.
• Garage sales do not start before breakfast. “Early birds” are anyone who comes at 8:30 a.m.
• It takes a half hour to explain the five different branches of Anabaptists: Not everyone riding in a black buggy pulled by a horse and wearing clothe from the late 1700s is Amish.
• The annual maple syrup festival is known as much for its giant black jelly beans as its maple syrup.
• Even men know the best quilts have tiny, precise, even stitches sewn in straight lines.
• Older teens have their pick of after-school jobs in the fast food joints.
• Folks wonder how the rest of the country missed out on such a great presidential candidate a their Sen. Richard Lugar.
• A blushing bride and groom, just married over the weekend are off to the Waste Water Haulers Convention in Nashville for their honeymoon. They will travel in a motor home with the new bride’s in-laws. The groom, his father and baby brother have to take classes every day to be re-certified to clean out septic tanks and sewer systems.
• To have a garage sale in March is to gamble with the weather. Before the customers reach the heated garage, the sidewalk may have to be swept clear of snow.
• Anyone who can whack a hammer, use a saw or sew can find a job building trailers, houses, remodeling vans or making cushions in one of the hundred of small, growing businesses.
• Everyone is a connoisseur of maple syrup, able to distinguish between first of the year and the last of the season.
• With the brisk winds and a high level of static in the air, every day is a bad hair day.