Thursday, September 20, 2012

The South

As Michael and I traveled back from Savannah this past weekend, I curled up in the passenger seat with the most recent issue of Southern Living I had and began to lazily browse my way through every article (yes, I'm one of those that literally has to read every thing the magazine has to offer). I came across a certain story called "Making the Leap" about a woman who, having lived in NYC for quite some time, decides to head back to her roots and move home to the South. Reading her short story made me feel a touch of southern pride and I thought I'd share with you a little excerpt from her article.

"Why?" they all (okay, mostly the New Yorkers) would ask. I never had a clear answer. It is impossible to distill atmosphere, to defend a decision made without concrete reasoning. I suppose I could have said, "Because the South, like anything worth knowing, is complicated. And complexity married to beauty never bores"
But I did not. Usually I said, "The economy."
In truth, I had wants.
I wanted to sweat when I climbed into my car.
I wanted a place where playdates did not exist and play did.
I wanted not to be the only woman at the school bake sale who 1) loved coconut and 2) made her own cake.
I wanted to garden more than three months a year.
I wanted my kids to know the value of manners.
I wanted to hear birds sing at night and get high on honeysuckle and marvel at the size of magnolias, perched like Easter hats on waxy green heads.
I wanted to drink in twangs and drawls.
I wanted to hear the frenzied jangle of banjos and fiddles.
I wanted to lay eyes on men wearing overalls and cowboy hats and women with hair teased high as Larry Hagman.
I wanted to hug people I just met.
I wanted to see bugs big enough for saddles. And insolent enough to stick around when the lights come up.
I wanted to drive past walls of kudzu, both terrible and beautiful, draping the landscape like living quilts.
I wanted to suck wild berries and guzzle RC.
I wanted to stop agonizing over fried food.
I wanted to eat. And eat. And eat.
Most of all, I wanted to raise my children, girls ages 10 and 11, in my ancestors' geography, where they could ramble barefoot in the sunshine and not fret about being sideswiped by a speeding taxicab.

My favorite line would have to be the one about drinking in twangs and drawls. There is just something about a Southern accent that tends to make me go weak in the knees; my sweet Dad, who was born and raised in Georgia, always spoke with a slow, southern drawl so it was only natural I marry a good ol' boy from Savannah who swept me off my feet the first time he opened his mouth. Heavens I could go on and on about Southern accents, never mind my love for all things to do with the South, but I'm sure you have a limited time to read so I'll save more rambling for another time and let you go about your way :)

What are your reasons for either staying in the South or wanting to move back to the South if you have moved away like this woman?? I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts!

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