I'm just a wee bit late getting this post linked up above, but I couldn't let this series conclude without posting my top reasons to love the South.
I hope that you all have seen the humor in my previous posts,
and know that our ways are all in good fun.
The last thing we Southerners want is for you to think that we're persnickety, finicky, judgmental, or too high maintenance.
In fact, that's one of the things that I love about living in the South...
any and all are always welcome in our homes, just as you are.
With that being said...
First up, hospitality.
There is not a home in the South that you can walk into without being offered something to drink, and normally, without being invited to stay for whatever the next meal of the day is.
"Well, why don't you sit down and stay a spell?"
"Y'all hurry back now, ya hear?"
Death in your family?
They bring you a casserole.
And for any of the above?
Their husband will be right over to mow your grass.
We used to joke and say that Bill got more excited over a funeral than any woman we knew.
Because that woman sprang. into. action.
She took Southern hospitality to a whole new realm.
Casseroles, breads, cakes, pies.
She loved to serve others.
She comforted through cooking.
Doesn't matter if they know you or not.
Doesn't matter if they do know you but don't even like you.
It's an attitude, a way of living, that Southerners greet every person they meet with.
Eric and I say all the time
(and you have heard me say it here before)
that Florida is in the South, but it's not Southern.
We truly miss small town grocery store conversations.
We miss pie baking when people move into the neighborhood.
We miss front porch sitting.
We miss potlucks.
We miss the feeling of being home.
Sure, there are friendly people here, don't get me wrong.
But it's just not the same.
People are just friendlier in the South.
People in the South take pride in who they are.
In what state they live in.
I think South Carolina might just take the award for state pride.
First, the obsession with our flag.
Second, I can name at least five songs off the top of my head written about love for South Carolina.
Southerners have pride in where they go to church.
And you better believe that if your name goes on a prayer list in the South,
somebody is praying for you, my darling.
And there's a good chance it's my Nana, somewhere down the grapevine.
They have pride for what small town they live in,
and have yearly festivals to demonstrate.
I grew up with Catfish Stomps, Okra Struts, Chicken Struts, and Watermelon Festivals.
Loved every second of it.
Southerners take pride in tradition.
They take pride in what football team they pull for.
And in all of this, there is a sense of loyalty that pulls us all together. That makes you "a part."
I'm sure it's similar in other states,
but Carolinians in particular seem to be drawn to each other.
One of my closest friends in law school, Erin, immediately emailed me after finding out that I was from South Carolina, where she also grew up.
When I was at a Special Needs Trusts conference in Florida last fall, I somehow ended up in line next to an attorney from small-town Hartsville, SC.
He found out that I grew up 20 minutes away,
and a 2-hour lunch together later,
I had made a new professional contact and friend,
no networking tricks needed.
There is a sense of community, a common bond, that comes from calling the South home - no matter where in the world you are.
Now, you certainly don't have to be Southern to have class,
don't misunderstand me.
But true Southern women and men have class and charm
down to a fine art.
Again, in the South, it's an attitude.
A way of life.
Men are still chivalrous.
They're true gentlemen.
I grew up where men instantly stood when a lady entered the room, and never cursed in a lady's presence.
My, how times have changed!
When I visit my hometown, my childhood pastor still stands when I (or any other lady) enters the room.
Always with an endearing smile.
God love him.
My husband still opens my car door.
He tells me I look pretty nearly every day of my life.
He still carries all my bags when he's with me(God bless him).
He holds doors, lets me go first, compliments the meals I make.
He tries (in vain) to make sure I pay attention and don't splash right through rain puddles.
Lord knows I need that.
He does these things out of respect for me, and any other lady he comes across on any given day.
(Except for the holding hand part above- don't read too much into this folks.)
Now, I know that all of you darling readers are marvelous, independent, strong women who can easily open doors for yourself.
Don't taint the Southern traditions by making them into "viewing women as weak."
Any true Southern man knows that he couldn't make it a week without women.
They do these things out of respect.
To show that they value you.
Nothing demeaning about it.
Why not let them?
I think I'm about as independent of a woman as they come.
I have my own career.
I could easily open doors for myself.
I think I just might conquer the world given the right pair of heels and enough coffee for the day.
And even if I did, you better believe I'd still let my husband open the door for me.
I enjoy being a lady, and I let my husband enjoy being a gentleman.
Be thankful for these men ladies, not disdainful of them.
Heaven knows Southern men are thankful for you.
And most importantly (kidding)
they wear bow ties.
Be still my heart.
Two final things to love about the South that need no explanation:
1) Southern Rock.
Have I mentioned to y'all yet that I love pearls?
I do hope that you've enjoyed our little stroll through the South over the last week :)
Each and every one of you is welcome to visit any time you please.