The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

April/May 2007 Humor Contest Winner
Best Short Humor!

Survival guide for Waybacks, Halfbacks and Leaf Lookers


Catherine Hunter

Has someone recently called you a Wayback or a Halfback? Well, they really didn't mean any harm – at least if they smiled when they said it.

In the last several years Asheville has attracted a tremendous influx of people from outside the area. These well meaning folks are flocking here from all over the country; attracted by the beauty of the mountains or the spiritual consciousness movement in the area.

You probably already figured out that, in Western North Carolina, Halfback does not necessarily refer to a football player, and Wayback is not some exotic mountain snipe.

Halfback and Wayback are terms Locals (people born and raised here) give to people, from "up" north, who settle in the area. It usually follows the observation of, "You ain't from 'round here, err yah?"

The Northerner in question usually responds with, "We were on our way back from Florida and stopped here." or "We got half way back to New York, when we drove through and saw how beautiful it was."

Though most Locals will grumble about northerners moving in and tend to inform you "they don't care how you did it up north," being called a Wayback or Halfback is not too bad. It is however, important not to be labeled a "Leaf Looker".

These are the dreaded tourists whom the Locals love to curse, but whose presence many secretly appreciate. A real boost to the local economy, Leaf Lookers come in many disguises, but are mainly seen in the fall. They fill the local Bed and Breakfasts, hike the trails and wander through downtown Asheville searching for the perfect chain restaurant that serves authentic "Appalachian" food.

Leaf Lookers can be spotted throughout the year, disguised in the latest fashions for hikers, rafters, bikers, summer people and other sport modes popular to the mountains. The local economy benefits from this influx of population, so local business owners don't complain too loudly – just enough to sound local – you know, for the tourists.

Whether you are a Wayback, a Halfback or even a Leaf Looker, there are a few basic survival guidelines that will help you blend in and, if not be taken for a Local, at least they will smile when they label you.

First, be careful of your language. In the South, "Pop" is a good "ole boy's daddy or grandpa. Soft drinks are referred to as "cokes" whether you mean Coca Cola, Pepsi or Seven Up.

Be sure to replace "Youse Guys" or whatever ya'll say up there with – well you get the idea. Oh, and most important! It was not the Civil War. It was the "War of Northern Aggression" or at the least the War Between the States. On second thought, I would avoid this subject altogether, ya'll just wouldn't understand.

Second, be careful about leaning out the window of your new Hummer or supper powered SUV and asking a good "ole boy directions to the local Starbucks. Do the polite thing and step out for a little jawin' and a taste of Granny's chicory coffee.

Third, if they ask you to stay for supper or spend the night – and they will if you're sharing Granny's pie and coffee – just say you'd be "proud" to, but maybe next time.

Though they've been dealing with northerners for 140 years, the locals haven't quite figured out what to call those people from out west who come here. West is considered anything west, or north of Missouri or Texas.

Others from the south, which does not really include Florida, are considered Fellow Southerners and are usually tolerated fairly well. After all they can speak the language, with the possible exception of pronouncing Leicester. That's how you tell them from Locals.

I was born in North Carolina and raised – sorry – reared in Alabama. Does that make me a Local, a fellow Southerner or is there a special "handle" for fellow North Carolinians?

©2007, Catherine Hunter

I divide my life between writing and horses and have had successful careers in both. My writing includes a South Carolina Press Association Award, 5 years as a newspaper reporter (loved that) and 12 years as a freelance writer for magazines. I also teach college courses in writing, equestrian management and history. For fun(when I am not writing) I shoot Yankees on alternate weekends. (It's a tough job, but someone has to.) I am a Civil War Cavalry Reenactor which gives me wonderful inspiration for more writing!

You can learn more about Catherine's passion by visiting this link.
Click HERE to visit the "Whole Horse Riding and Training" Site.

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©Margie Culbertson

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