Thursday, May 13, 2021

Heaton: How to Give Directions Like a Southerner

The Lafayette County Courthouse
The Lafayette County Courthouse

One of the great, and quietly fading, pleasures is getting driving directions from a Southerner.

GPS technology makes it impossible to get lost- it’s also incredibly dull. I’d like to explore how a Southern GPS would give directions from Taylor Grocery to the Oxford Courthouse. Why would this be a useful feature? Instead of saying “Ready to Navigate,” a Southern GPS might say, “Let’s slap some bacon on biscuit.”

Here are the turn by turn directions for both the Basic GPS and the Southern GPS. To start we’ll ask directions to the Lafayette County Courthouse by mispronouncing it like an LSU fan would: “Laf-ee-et.”

Basic GPS: “I did not find any matching places.”

Southern GPS: “Do you mean to say ‘la-FAY-et?'”

Basic GPS: “Lost satellite reception.”

Southern GPS: “We’re so far in the sticks they have to pipe in the sunshine.”

Basic GPS: “Recalculating.”

Southern GPS: Instead of a map, the screen shows a local man in a Belk Ford gimme cap. It looks up the street and frowns. Scans the other way and says, “ You’re better off going the back way. This is Mr. Hugh’s day to drive.”

Basic GPS: “Head east on First Street to Old Taylor Road 154 feet.”

Southern GPS: “Go a about a 7-iron to your first right.”

Basic GPS: “Follow County Road 323 to Old Taylor Road for 4.9 miles.”

Southern GPS: “You’ll pass three catfish ponds on the right. Then you’ll see the old Hodge place on the left, you’ll know it ‘cause they’re having a yard sale. You’ll pass the Crenshaw place on the right- it’s the one with the old Plymouths in the yard. Nice folks- but they are so country they think a seven-course meal is a possum and a six-pack. This reminds me. While you’re driving, I’ll play Boys ‘Round Here and when it’s over, veer right at the stop sign.”

Basic GPS: “Follow Old Taylor Road to Taylor Road / University Place in Oxford for 3.0 miles.”

Southern GPS: “They’ll be a double wide on the right and Thacker Mountain on your left. You ain’t lost yet -just keep on driving. You’ll pass a sign for Kenny Warrnen’s Auto Repair on the left – folks around here love this man. The Old Taylor Wine and Liquor store will be on the right- my ex-wife kept them in business. You’ll pass AAA storage on the left. Just keep going. You may believe you’re lost as last year’s Easter Egg, but you’re doing just fine. Just keep going.”

Basic GPS: “Follow University Pl ace to South 9th Street Follow University Place to South 9th Street.”

Southern GPS: “Taylor’s Antiques & Collectibles is on the right. Stop here! They’re doing a food drive. After your good deed, you’ll pass a Chevron station – they have an old timey coke machine out front. Treat yourself to a belly washer. Continue past the Whirlpool plant. Past Chucky Mullins Drive – named after the famous Ole Miss football player. If you know the story of this beloved hero, you might want to gather yourself up before you attempt a sharp dogleg left into Oxford.”

Basic GPS: “Turn left onto South 9th Street, go 0.1 mile.”

Southern GPS: “Keep going until your first stop sign. Turn right at the Gertrude. You’ll notice Miss Camille’s place with the wraparound porch, wicker furniture and pineapple banner. Bless her heart, she has gall stones and her daughter married a Yankee boy.”

Basic GPS: “Turn right at the second cross street onto Van Buren Avenue 0.1 miles”

Southern GPS: “Turn right at the blinker. You’ll pass a historical marker for Delta Gamma. The DeeGees were founded by three coeds unable to go home for Christmas. Keep your eyes on the road – the girls are over at Sorority Row now.”

Basic GPS: “Turn left onto South 9th Street, go 0.1 mile.”

Southern GPS: “Turn left at First Baptist, it takes up the entire block. You may save the pacing mare for Sunday, but you’ll also want to avoid this street Wednesday evening.”

Basic GPS: “Turn right at the 2nd cross street onto Van Buren Avenue, go 0.1 mile.”

Southern GPS: “You’ll see the Rebel Bookstore doing a land office business on the cattycorner. Take a right. Watch out for the tabby crossing the street. If you pass St Peter’s you’ve gone too far.”

Basic GPS: “Your destination is on 100 feet on the left. “

Southern GPS: “You can’t miss the Courthouse, but just to prove all the wisdom in the world ain’t locked up in there, Square Books is just across the street.”


The Southern GPS will get you on time, enlightened and entertained.


BlessYourHeartTim Heaton is a contributor and can be reached at His new book, Bless Your Heart, You Freakin’ Idiot: Southern Sayings Translated is available on Amazon as well as “Momma n’ Em Said: The Treasury of Southern Sayings.

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