Keep in mind that I am offering a limited viewpoint since my travels are only taking me to the front or back, Wal-Mart, or Coles, the local garden/home center. So I am by no means an expert on the culture or lifestyles. Just a few observations.
Family is important. The saying goes that "the family that prays together, stays together." I don't know about the praying (but we are talking Bible Belt) but they definitely travel together. I've never seen so many families going to the library together, including babes in arms. I'm right across the street from the library--will I ever get a chance to visit--and it is a popular destination. Cars come and go at all hours dropping off passengers or books.
Even the cats like the library. No, they aren't allowed inside. One gray and white had a litter (thank goodness it wasn't on my property this time) of kittens, a solid gray, a gray and white, and a gray runt. Mama would bring them out of the woods faithfully about an hour before one of the staffers arrived. There they would sit until she drove up. Mama would waste no time running to the car to greet her. Really cute to watch the interaction. The other adult cats generally showed in the evening. One is lame; a black and white female; and a black cat, I assume male, that walks like the "king of the jungle." The kittens frolic and pounce at lightening bugs. Even try to climb one of the trees. The birds don't like the black cat. It was hilarious to see them swarm him/her and drive him/her off of the property. The kittens disappeared. I can only assume the city picked them up.
We noticed a steady stream of pickups, suv's with trailers, dump trucks, etc., going past, loaded with junk. Couldn't figure it out. Then we were told that a scrap metal place is not far from here. People make a livelihood taking material there. Might have to get me a trailer. Can't you see Abby with a trailer? Not ruling out anything.
Everyone has a side hustle. They might work in one of the plants but cut hair as well. Plumbers also do the gas and electrical work. We say multi-tasking but here they are multi-talented, laying roofs, tile, whatever it takes to make the extra dollar.
Courteous, polite, friendly are also adjectives I would use to describe most of the people I've met or seen. I've never waved so much. People driving past wave. I still manage to let a car or two get past before I realize they were waving at me. People speak in the stores. Good morning. How are you? Are you listening DC? DAR? No waiting to be spoken to first. No avoiding eye contact to keep from speaking. No "what are they looking at?" Talking about a major culture shock.
Met a real courtly gentleman, didn't know him from Adam, who approached me in the home center. Said he'd done a lot of painting for the former owner and would like to give me an estimate. Sure. Why not. As we parted, I was trying to figure out how he knew who I was. Didn't have to think long. I'm new in town and it is a small town. Word travels fast. When he came to give an estimate, he offered to let me use his ladder and or his truck if I needed to haul something from the store. He doesn't know me!!! I've known people for a lifetime and they never stepped forward with an offer of assistance. You have to ask them and are still subject to get a no.
And, my accent tells everyone I'm not from around here. "You're not from around here" or "where you from" is probably the third or fourth question they ask after "you got people here?" The problem with my accent is a hoot because I've always been told I had a Southern accent. Even talking to someone on the other side of the country will result in "where are you from?" or some such. Obviously, it is not southern enough for Tennessee. It did keep me from being hired as a telephone operator in the 60's though. Thank you, Ma Bell.
Had a problem with paying for merchandise with one of my new checks. Turned down by the automated system. In DC, you slink out, highly embarrassed, with your tail between your legs. In Ripley? Whip out the phone book and call the bank for clearance. Yes, the check was good.