It's duck season in my home state of Arkansas, the self-anointed duck hunting capital of the world.
It used to be that this time of the year was every southern boy's Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. Lately, it's become pretty much the same for our northern brethren (That's Yankees for most of you).
I say this from experience. Duck hunting is so good here that people from virtually every state in the Union and the Confederacy visit our flooded timber and rice fields to take part in what we've been doing since Daddy replaced our pacifiers with duck calls.
With the help from a whole slew of e-mail from all those Internet junkies who love to send me redneck jokes, here's a primer for Yankee sportsmen visiting the South during its best outdoor season.
If you run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in a four-wheel drive pickup with a 12-pack of beer and a tow chain will be along shortly. Don't try to help them, just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.
Don't be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store.
Remember: "Ya'll" is singular, "All ya'll" is plural, and "All y'alls' " is plural possessive.
Get used to hearing, "You ain't from around here, are ya?"
Don't be worried at not understanding what people are saying: they can't understand you either.
"Mom'n'em" is not one person. When someone asks, "How's your Mom'n'em?'' They are referring to the whole family.
Be advised that "He needed killin'" is a valid defense here.
If you hear a southerner exclaim, "Hey, y'all, watch this," stay out of the way. These are likely the last words he'll ever say.
"Buck" can mean a lot of things. The most common is a personal pronoun. It's a law here that every third son has to be named "Buck." But it is also a noun to replace "Hey you!" And of course, it means the obvious $1 or a deer. Although real bucks in deer hunting are referred to as "big uns."
When you come up on a person driving 15 miles per hour down the middle of the road, remember that most folks learn to drive on a John Deere and the rest learned to drive while road hunting in the back roads. In both cases, this is the proper speed and position for that vehicle.
Do not be surprised to find that 10-year-olds own their own shotguns and are proficient marksmen. Or that their mammas taught them how to aim.
Shakespeare is a rod or a reel, not a writer.
Duct tape is not only part of every survival kit, it is the whole kit.
Rasslin' is not fake. Don't dare whisper otherwise unless you want a kind-hearted southerner to fix your busted head with duct tape.
Grapefruit is not a substitute for biscuits and gravy.
Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jr., and Elvis are good ole boys. Jeff Gordon isn't.
Hunters actually curse Noah for letting coyotes and armadillos on the Ark.
If you hear a turkey gobble, a duck quack or a deer snort, get out of the way. Some southerners view those sounds like pay-off bells at a slot machine.
Don't be surprised if an obituary mentions that the deceased requested to be buried in his four-wheel drive truck because, "It ain't never been in a hole it couldn't get out of."
"Ya'll come back now, ya here,'' is a temporary statement. We love Yankees to visit, but those who decide to stay are referred to as "Damn Yankees."
And last but not least: If you decide to stay in the South and bear children, don't think we will accept them as southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn't call 'em biscuits.