Monday, September 24, 2012

the south

all true southerners share a huge pride in where they come from. that sense of pride is something that you don't find in many other regions of the usa. there's just something about growing up in the south that gets in your blood and never leaves. it turns you into a homebody, a mama's boy, or a daddy's girl; it fills your daydreams with tree-lined dirt roads; it almost defines you. it's hard to describe to someone who hasn't grown up here.
my family has been here for generations and generations. not all, but most of my ancestors hopped off the boat into virginia and the carolinas when america was still in its beginning stages. i didn't realize what a rich heritage i had when i was younger - it was just normal life. i used to want to get out and i almost resented the fact that i was born here; there were bigger and better places out there, so i believed. as i learned more and travelled more, i began to really understand and appreciate my roots, and now, more than ever, i take strong pride in who i am as a southerner.

i read this quote and it immediately struck a chord with me... i feel like i could have written it: "this town of churches and dreams; this town i thought i would lose myself in, with its backward ways and roads leading to nowhere; but, i found myself instead." (excerpt from American Honey) 

here are a few things i love most about the south:

-classic southern hospitality and good manners. it's true - you won't find nicer folks anywhere else in the country. the more i've traveled, read, and watched tv, and the more people i've met, the more i've realized how genuinely nice the people are here. every single day on my way home, a stranger waves to me from a passing vehicle, men always hold doors open for me, and i rarely enter someone's house without being offered something to eat or drink.

"not a tangible thing, but an attitude which has been ingrained in southerners forever. it's a feeling of being sincerely welcomed as a guest or a long lost friend; a way of life that lets people be as warm as the climate. it's an easiness in speaking with total strangers or anyone, a unique friendliness encompassing the whole way of life in the deep south. it's not something one does, it's the way one is." 
(dee jackson) 

-the food. homemade biscuits, grits, barbecue, sweet tea (a one-member food group), endless fattening casseroles, fried okra, fried chicken, fried everything, fresh garden greens, to name a few. mmmm...

The best sweet tea recipe here
this photo courtesy of Garden and Gun
Grits & Groceries - delicious down-home restaurant with a gourmet spin in upstate sc

-the music. bluegrass, folk, country, blues... soulful, inspired, nostalgic. 
here are some of my favorites from these categories (don't judge):

-southern summers. tree-lined dirt roads, fields full of hay bales, porch-sitting, fireflies, humidity, days on the lake, wild flowers...  
“summer in the deep south is not only a season, a climate, it's a dimension. floating in it, one must be either proud or submerged." (eugene walter from the untidy pilgrim)

-conservatism. enough said. ;)
“all that the south has ever desired was that the union as established by our forefathers should be preserved and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth.” (robert e. lee)
“i love the union and the constitution, but i would rather leave the union with the constitution than remain in the union without it.” (jefferson davis)

“breathe there the man with soul so dead
who never to himself has said,
this is my own, my native land!”
(sir walter scott)