Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Reasons Why I Live in the South

The term South is defined as the region of the United States lying south of the Mason-Dixon line. That is just a tad vague, so how about this one? The region of the United States including Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia, and eastern Texas.

Now that we know where the South is, I'd like to expound a bit on why I live here. For one, I was born and raised in the South. North Carolina to be exact. For four years, from 1976 to 1980, I ventured outside the South because of my husband's job. We ventured FAR from the South to Frankfurt, Germany, where we were unusual not only because we were Americans, but because we were Americans with a strange accent. I remember being asked to speak just so folks could listen to my accent. Depending on how nicely they asked, and whether they were snickering when they asked, I'd comply. Of course in London, I did the same thing -- asked questions of shopkeepers and folks on the street just to hear the different British accents.

When we left Germany, we were given the choice to return to any place in the US where my husband's agency had a branch office. This included Washington, DC, Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta and Dallas, along with a number of towns with satellite offices. Where did we choose? Tiny Huntsville, Alabama. We'd lived here for a year prior to our overseas move and felt it was a great place to live and raise a family. We've turned down several chances to move to other places because we love it here, though we are pondering relocating somewhere else when we retire. The places we've considered, however, are still in the South.

So why, other than my husband's job, do I live in the South? In no particular order...

  1. Southern hospitality - an undefinable quality, but you know it when you've experienced it
  2. Fried anything
  3. Sweet tea
  4. Sweet potato pie
  5. Black-eyed peas (remind me to tell my black-eyed pea story)
  6. Country ham
  7. Gravy -- red-eye and sawmill
  8. Grits
  9. Quaint phrases
  10. Peaches and peach cobbler
  11. Pecans
  12. The Florida panhandle beaches
  13. Magnolias and dogwoods
  14. Barbeque
  15. Crawdads
  16. Peanuts
  17. Fried green tomatoes (I felt these deserved their own entry cause they're so good)
  18. Corn on the cob
  19. Sunday lunch with the family
  20. Biscuits
  21. Shagging at Myrtle Beach -in case you're a Yankee reading this, that's a dance ;-)
  22. Fried pies (again deserving of its own entry)
  23. Yard sales and flea markets
  24. The Grand Ole Opry
  25. The Smoky Mountains
  26. Kudzu (well, not really, but it IS a definitive part of the South)
  27. The Blue Ridge Parkway
  28. Charleston and Savannah
  29. That religion called college football and/or basketball
  30. Front porches with swings and rocking chairs
  31. Drives through the country on Sunday afternoon (not so common nowadays with the current price of gasoline
  32. Jeff Foxworthy
  33. Hot'lanta
  34. Alabama, Bo Bice and Hank Williams
  35. Biltmore Estate
  36. Southern belles
  37. Rhett Butler

I asked my sister if she had any thoughts on the subject and she contributed five really GREAT reasons.

  1. I don't have to explain my accent
  2. People don't think I'm stupid because of my accent
  3. I don't have to shovel snow (not true in all parts, but it's been a looooong time since I've seen snow too)
  4. I can wear the same clothes year-round (again, not true in all parts. She's on the Georgia coast, I'm in north Alabama and I definitely have summer and winter wardrobes)
  5. Young children (and old children) call me "Miss Bev" even though I'm beyond the age of being a "Miss"

I'd hoped I could come up with 50 good reasons, and I suppose if I listed all the fried things individually, I could stretch it out.

What makes the South special to you? Add to my list and let's see if we can get it to 50 or beyond.