LAKE CITY—This is a laid-back city with sleepy streets that are lined with mossy trees and old Victorian houses. In other words, this region of Florida is about as Southern as you get.
A lot of people don’t understand Florida. I have visited several states this year, and every state seems to have its own screwed-up ideas about Florida.
People in the North perceive Florida as a tropical paradise where Cuban girls stand at roadside kiosks selling Navel oranges, cigars, Cape Canaveral trinkets, Key West timeshares, and Mickey Mouse hats.
And I’ve met Southerners in places like Arkansas and Tennessee who think Florida is full of retirees who speak with New York accents and listen to Sinatra while wearing their jogging suits.
A few months ago, a lady from Kentucky told me that she didn’t think Florida qualified as part of the American South. I just smiled and blessed her heart.
If you remember nothing else from this poorly written column, I hope you remember that we who live in North Florida are very different
from people in Orlando, Tampa, or Miami.
We border Georgia, and Alabama. This means we eat okra, pimento cheese. It means we do not pronounce Gs at the ends of our ING words. It means we would not be caught dead wearing nylon workout wear.
Would we wear NASCAR tank tops and cutoff jean shorts? Yes. Jogging suits? I think not.
But getting back to Lake City. I’m in town to do my one-man show tonight. I arrive at the theater. I am running a little late for soundcheck. Already on stage ahead of me is tonight’s band. They are named the SongFarmers. They’re rehearsing.
At most of our little shows we usually have musical groups. Most often it’s a bluegrass band or a traditional Americana band, sometimes Dixieland jazz.
We’ve worked with lots of small-town bands who are ridiculously talented and deserve all the…