Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why I love the South.

1. The people. People in the south are so friendly. Strangers ask about your day, start conversations, share their lives with you in the checkout lane. It's just a way of life. I love the middle aged country man who says, "Yes ma'am" to me multiple times in a conversation. People are naturally courteous and seem to care about your well-being. Friendliness can be found in NY. But I find you must look for it and make it happen yourself. It's not so readily "available." People seem more trusting in the south, more ready to share themselves.
2. Family. There is something to be said for being in a place where your ancestors lived. For walking down small town streets where your grandmother once walked as a child. To know that the homestead where your great-great-great grandparents raised their family is a drive away. It draws you to a place like no other.
3. Food. I can drive down a stretch of highway in the south and see countless local food stands. People sell their veggies in front of their driveway. It makes me happy to see people sharing their abundance and growing their own food. I can find that in NY, but I have to drive north a bit. Plus I love seeing homemade BBQ smoking out in front of small cafe's. That's a given.
4. The landscape. The South, where I'm from, boasts tall pines, red dirt, and kudzu. These things remind me where I am, where I came from. They comfort me.


Aimee said...

and don't forget ChickFilA and the tea...LOL :) Wasn't Twin Falls beautiful??

Joy said...

This is so good. I fell in love with my husband, and then I fell in love with the South. As much as I used to gently tease him about his accent, I am so happy to know that I will have grits (girls raised in the south)--I love it here. Especially the sweet tea! When I first moved here I thought it was like syrup and 'how could anyone drink this stuff'...and ten yrs later? There is always a gallon brewing or in the fridge. heeee

contentedsparrow said...

yes! i love, love the "ma'am"s even though they do make me feel old. i love when the little boys are called "sir". i love the ever-present sweet tea and fragrant pines and red dirt and smoky BBQs and roadside stands, too.
glad you had a filling time, andrea.

laurel said...

The South is a place like no other, for sure. Love it.

tonia said...

I love this. You give me a new view on the South. I'm a Yankee through and through and I tend to see the south through those eyes. This was a lovely viewpoint. I have to admit though, all those friendly people would probably get on my nerves. We like our space up here! :)

Famaddict said...

It all sounds so wonderful and idealistic, like a glimpse of life 60 years ago. But then there are always the gators that snap me back to reality. I am terrified of anything that can potentially eat me. :-) I'm so glad you got to visit. Love you!

ROBBIN (with 2 b's) said...

It's amazing how "home" can just speak to our souls. Being "where your from" gives a sense of calm and contentment.

I have never spent time in the south,so I only know from what I see in the movies or read it books, but I do know what "home" feels like.

For those of us who no longer have the luxury of living "home" it really can be bitter-sweet.

I hope you can continue to find new loves about the north, while never forgetting or giving up the south.

Anonymous said...

As a native Southerner (North Carolinian to be exact), I truly appreciate your words here. I enjoy adventuring to other states and places in our country, but when my husband mentions "transfer", I cringe. People from all over the country are moving to my state, and while I've had some positive interactions with many of them, by and large, the folks with out-of-state plates are pretty rude compared to what I am used to here. The saddest thing for us natives isn't that they come here for the lifestyle and opportunities available. . . the saddest thing is seeing them trying to turn the South into what they had that they left behind because they didn't like it there so much.

Anonymous said...

And about Tonia's comment about all the friendly folks in the South probably getting on her nerves and the liking of space. . . I think so often in the media, Southerners are represented as all being Dolly Parton types, but it is not the case. Southern friendliness is rooted in a humility that comes from Christianity. It's about putting other people first instead of "Me First" (on the road, in the store, out in public, etc.). It's about showing love through easy smiles to show genuine respect and equality. It's about eye-contact versus acting like you didn't see the person you just pulled out in front of or broke in line in front of.
Tonia, in the South, we like our space too. Polite Southerners don't like to poke into others business. Southerners tend to be more sensitive to the feelings of others, and they know when to step off and when not to speak. Why not strike up a friendly conversation with someone when you're both waiting in the DMV line? As Christians, we're called to interact with others, even different than ourselves. . . Southerners aren't snobs. And maybe that's why the South is still referred to as the Bible Belt. Certainly, we have our hypocrisy as all sinners do, but some of the best Christian legacy has been passed (despite what others may perceive about race relations here. . . the diversity here is greater than where you even live, I gather.)

tonia said...


It sounds like you are quite proud of your part of the country and you enjoy it very much. That's a blessing!

I'm just joking around with Andrea about the South. I try not to paint with too broad a brush over any group of people. I've met some pretty nice people from all over the world and generally find your description of the South to be true everywhere, though it may be expressed in different ways. Liking personal space (and that is just me talking, not characteristic of every single northerner of course) doesn't mean we're not friendly or loving. It's just...quieter and more reserved. I enjoy the differences in people groups and cultures. Maybe I'll get down South someday and get to enjoy all you describe.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

We southerners are also "quite and reserved". We are also genteel. Manners are very important even to the uneducated person who lives in the mountains. Come down and see for yourself . You would be most welcome. We'll sit on the front porch in the rockers, sipping sweet tea and give you a couple of "bless your hearts" to make you feel welcome.

Anonymous II

Personne said...

I will NEVER move north-er than where I am now. I am in love with the south. Plus Texas is the best. OF COURSE. :)

Children of Eve said...

Aww, but the North loves you!

debbie bailey said...

Oh, Robbin! Please don't judge us by movies or books. I'm a Southerner through and through, and we're nothing like what we're portrayed to be.

The only people I've found who could fake a good southern accent are the British and Sissy Spacek. Anyone else's attempt is just a joke.

Good post, Andrea. Fun stuff!

Anonymous said...

This is so true! I was raised in Texas and my heart will always remain there. I live in New York State now, but cannot wait to get back to the South for college!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how old this post is, however, I'm from the south and I lived in the North for a year. I hated every minute of it. I don't see what the big deal is living in northeast.

I understand there's a lot of history in NYC, and it's "alive" at all times of the day. Yet, there is sort of this intense culture of self-interest and people generally don't have compassion for one another. I say this as an atheist! Perhaps, they've forgotten that the truth of the matter is everyone needs someone. And rarely do people succeed without the help of others.

It truly is a competitive dog-eat-dog place, and if you've been living in the south for any length of time you'd immediately become aware of this attitude.

There's this misconception that the south is a bunch of rednecks and prejudice backwater ignoramuses(and there are some). However, the majority of the population (especially where I'm from--GA) is quite friendly and educated (and yes, many are religious) but I don't feel they should be denigrated for that reason. Again, I'm an atheist but I'm tolerant of other people's beliefs as long as they're tolerant of mine. Most people mind their own business, but they're also willing to give you a hand.

I'm glad there are some die hard southerners or die-hard southerners in the making (transplants):-p. Because, I think there's way too much criticism of the south when the north has it's downsides too: isolation, greed, overpopulated, and dirty cities.

As far as entertainment goes there's lots to do. Granted we don't stay open all night in all areas, but we are developing more which is wonderful.

Like another poster mentioned, my greatest hope is we can maintain the culture of hospitality in the south as more transplants call it there home because of the reasonable cost of living. As another poster mentioned, many transplants seem intent on changing the flavor of the place to something like they're used to when instead they should try adopting a southern outlook.

I can't tell you how many times NY'ers got annoyed that I didn't out right conform to their way of life. Even when I did, it was the loneliest time I can ever remember. There's no amount of money in this world that would ever make me want to live in the northeast again. I prefer quality of life over elitist notions of keeping appearances and "high status."