The following tips are written in all seriousness. Do NOT take them lightly!
RULE #10: Always remember to use your manners.
Whenever you are visiting a small town, particularly a small town in the South, "Yes, ma'am" and "No, sir" are essential to making a great first impression. No matter where you're from, you're more likely to be talked about favorably by the locals if you use great manners and little slang.
RULE #9: Never talk about someone unless you're certain your listener is not related to them.
There are families in Monticello that have been around since land was first deeded to settlers in the state. Roots run deep. To further this matter, everyone's grown up together, meaning you have high school sweethearts, best friends...one close-knit society. If you want my advice, never criticize or discuss another person on your first five visits to town...it's just not safe.
By the way, it's not technically called "gossiping." Discussing other folks in town is simply a way to show your concern or interest in their well-being. Everything you do (or don't do) is carefully scrutinized by the Monticello Grapevine, so don't screw up or you'll be their next subject.
RULE #8: Gossiping is healthy, necessary and a way of life. Get over it.
In Monticello, crosswalks are basically unnecessary. Feel safe to take off across any major highway or back country road...drivers will stop and probably wave hello. However, do watch for little old ladies - they can't alway see over the steering wheel and may run you down in their Lincoln Towncars.
RULE #7: When people are walking across the road, always stop your vehicle.
This ties in with Rule #8. You never know who is watching and, like a popular e-mail once said, if you say a naughty word, your parents will know about it before you get home. Be paranoid, very paranoid.
RULE #6: Don't ever do something you don't want people to find out about.
(This rule is otherwise known as, "The Curse of the Small Town.")
Not only is Monticello firmly planted in the "Bible Belt," there's a plethora of Gators and Seminoles, as well as many NRA supporters. It's just not safe and may lose you possible friends and allies. Another tip - always stand by what you think. Locals respect backbones...even if you're wrong.
RULE #5: Do not use sports, religion or politics as conversation starters,
unless you want to start an argument.
If you forget either of these, leave town. Everyone attends and the more people there are, the more popular the person in question. Besides, there's not a whole lot else to do, so you may as well attend.
RULE #4: Weddings and funerals are big deals.
Yes, that unearthly noise you hear roaring its way through town belongs to someone's truck. Pipes are in, as are whip antennaes. After a while, you'll be able to identify your friends by their pipes...no lie. So, head on down to Stewart's BP and get some welded on.
RULE #3: If you have a truck, get pipes and a steel whip antenna.
This is a key factor to making friends in a small town. Waving is not an insult (like it is in Miami), nor is it optional - it's mandatory. If you don't wave at someone, be prepared to have your name tossed in the grapevine for further speculation as to what your attitude problem is due to. All it takes is one missed wave and you're forever excluded.
RULE #2: Whenever someone waves at you, wave back, even if you don't know them.
You'll see Dixie Outfitters T-shirts, Wranglers, Stetsons and feed caps, plus several spit cups. Guns, pocket knives and fishing poles are also rather common. Please do not think "Deliverance," because that's not how Monticello is at all...that would be our neighbors down in Dixie County! I would say we're more of a "Gone With The Wind" type town - we have the antebellum houses, debutantes and all the drama you need. When in the South, do as the Southerners do. Trust me.
RULE #1: Finally, in Monticello, Southern pride is prevalent and not something taken lightly.
Home Page... There's no place like home, there's no place like home.
Welcome To Monticello... A brief description of Monticello.
Aucilla Christian Academy... Visit my high school, home of the Carpetdome.
Small Town Joys... There are some things big cities lack.