First National Exchange Bank
1. No, you do not have to genuflect before the Mill Mountain Star each time you face it directly from downtown Roanoke, but neither are you expected to snicker, screw up your face or ask if we’re serious. Because we are, and equally so about the big-time neon of the Dr Pepper sign and the H & C Coffee sign.
2. The Taubman Museum of Art, on the other hand, is fair game. “Rocket ship,” “plane crash,” “junk pile” as well as “architectural masterpiece” and “stunning addition to the skyline” have all been used, but part of your hazing is to come up with your own characterization, which must of course be hugely negative or gushingly positive . . . no middle ground allowed.
3. You are officially in Hokie territory. Again, no snickering, no asking if that’s not a lower-case adjective with “ey” at the end, and certainly no stupid Wahoo jokes about where all dirt roads lead to.
4. Get ready for a few euphemisms. That “trolley” running up and down Jefferson? It’s a bus. The “Rail Walk” along the tracks downtown? Maybe The Mayor’s Coal Dust Alley. And it’s not exactly Carilion “clinic.” More like Carilion Hospitals and Offices Everywhere.
5. There are two same-thing-all-the-way-through sequences every Roanoker must know, and they go like this, from east to west in both cases:
A. FNEB, Dominion, First Union, Wachovia, Wells Fargo.
B. Yellow Mountain, McClanahan, Brandon, Apperson, Colorado.
6. Yes, Salem is way too big for its own britches, but in the manner of very few confident bullies, it pretty much pulls it off.
7. Pronunciation guide for words starting with a B: It’s Bahtatat, and it’s Buhcannan. And most important: Beeyounavista. Home, by the way – and you should know this – of Philadelphia Phillies manager Jerry Manuel, the only major leaguer ever with that surname who was born in the South, yes, but not south of Mexico.
8. And be careful with that word “South.” Put it in front of “Roanoke” and it means one thing; in front of “east” something entirely different, and next to “North” in discussion of the Civil War, it’s pretty much a bayonette.
9. The Salem Red Sox . . . yes, great fun to go to a game, but on the field and playing fair with the other Carolina League children? Just as arrogant as the parent team up in Boston.
10. We’re pretty big on Halloween. Women young and even not-so-young are prone to gloriously trashy costumes, whole sections of the city import their kids to other sections for maximum trick-or-treating, and some of our many towns and cities occasionally pick their own day to celebrate, just to assert their independence.
Bonus item: We like to brag about our per capita number of restaurants and houses of worship, but not so much on a few other way-up-there per capita stats: Check-cashin’ stores, car-title-loan counters and tobacky shops.