I was privileged enough to grow up in the South and call the sweet state of Georgia my home. Now I recognize that there are many folks who would feel anything but privileged and more like cursed to grow up in a place like the South, but I’m not talking to those people. I am also painfully aware of the deep-rooted racial tension that has surrounded this region for centuries so there is no need to give me a history lesson; however, that is not MY South. MY South is full of yes ma’am’s, no ma’am’s, hot summers, crisp fall air, and lightning bugs. The sweet smell of honeysuckle permeates the air and the deliciously juicy Georgia peaches are divine indeed. There are so many things I love about the South that it would take me hours to list them all, and let’s be honest, we don’t have time for all that so I’ll just stick to the basics!
I know, how cliché of me, but it’s true. While it may seem cheesy, corny, or just plain ridiculous to wave and make conversation with a complete stranger, it’s actually quite refreshing. It’s amazing what a kind word and a sweet smile will do for your day – if you haven’t already, you should try it out and tell me how you like it. I’ve been to a few places outside the Southern United States and it’s vastly different. In fact, I remember a time trying to strike up a conversation with a cashier at a Target in Los Angeles, she just kind of looked at me with these really bored, disapproving eyes – I took that as my cue to leave. She wasn’t rude perse, just not overly hospitable. I often hear people saying that the notion of southern hospitality is nothing more than a myth. I challenge those folks to spend some time up north or out west and I guarantee they’ll change their mind. It’s just a fact, we are all a little more pleasant down here!
The great thing about the weather here in the south is that we get to experience all four seasons. The summers are hot and the fall is crisp. The smell of honeysuckle and flowers fill the air in the springtime and I must say it’s a truly heavenly smell. It’s no secret that we Southerners don’t handle the snow well, and you know what, I’m okay with that. I don’t mind having snow days off and sitting by the fire drinking hot chocolate while watching The Holiday (swoon). Northerners can make fun of us all they want, but while they’re out trekking through multiple feet of snow and slush just to get to work, I’ll be in my fleece PJs watching HGTV – don’t worry, I’ll save you a seat, sounds good doesn’t it?!? This gorgeous Georgia weather is not without its downfalls (don’t worry there are only a few). It does rain an obscene amount from March to May, but hey, it helps the pretty flowers grow. Along with the rainy season comes those times when the weather is frustratingly inconsistent. One day it’s 35 degrees and rainy and the next it’s 65 and sunny; I suppose I just choose to look at it as variety, and I like variety! However, overall the South has the perfect weather for patio dining (my favorite) or taking a stroll through the Park! I think everyone should come on down and give it a whirl; I promise, if you don’t like the weather when you arrive, just give it a couple of days, it’s bound to change!
I’ll be honest, my church attendance is much less than I’d care to admit; however I grew up in the church and credit those experiences to turning me into a halfway decent human being. The Bible Belt is a real thing and while that may be bothersome to many, it’s just right to me. I participated in my church’s youth group, youth choir and Wednesday night Bible study and I can honestly say that those were some of the richest experiences of my life. As time passed and I entered my early 20s my faith was challenged and consequently took a bit of a backseat. Don’t worry, I didn’t become an inherently evil person who made disastrous life choices and continuously got arrested, but as most 20 somethings know, I began to challenge everything that seemed true and stable in my life and that included my faith. Fast forward to today (my late-ish 20s) and I’ve found my way back to faith, Jesus (not that I ever really left him) and just a general love for Sundays and church hymnals…cue the music – sing it with now “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”…anyways, faith isn’t something we (or at least I) will shove down your throat, but it’s also not something we will apologize for, and to me, that’s the way it should be.
Now for those of you who are lucky enough to be from or reside in the South, you know how serious this category is. There is legitimately nothing I love more than spending my weekends watching football (well, except maybe watching my Justin Timberlake DVD, but that’s a different post all together). I love that it is acceptable to lounge around in sweatpants and watch a slew of games over the course of two days instead of going shopping or getting my nails done. Let’s be honest, in my world, football is far more important than the last two things I mentioned. With college football comes a distinct smell in the air and an unmatched happiness in my heart…that is until Auburn or Georgia Tech lose, then I hate everything and need a MINIMUM of two hours to get my life back in order. I must admit, there is something very soothing in knowing that I’m not the only one who takes a loss that hard. The tears, anger, and profound anxiety that accompany college football Saturdays are a testament to how much we love our respective teams. It may also provide a glimpse into how mentally unstable we are for letting a “game” consume us in the way that it does – but that’s irrelevant. Moving on. College football’s ability to unite extremely dissimilar people and divide amiable relationships is fascinating. Just admit it, there’s nothing quite like it.
I’m not sure I have ever come across someone who does not enjoy Southern food, is that even a real thing?!?! My favorite meal is easily fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and a roll (you know I have to have a roll). While it may not be good for my physical health, I can assure you it’s good for my mental health, (am I right)?! We fry any and everything, thoroughly enjoy butter and bread, and can make the meanest cobblers you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. Again, not healthy, but 100% worth every. single. calorie. I’ll admit, after hitting 25 my metabolism decided to take a vacation; I’m not sure when it’s going to return so I have learned the importance of moderation. This swell little lesson has helped me to fall more in love with the Southern Cuisine (as if I needed any more help) and really appreciate the time we spend together. I look forward to the crispy goodness that is fried chicken and can’t wait to be reunited with it again.
So those were just a few things that I love about the South. So if you’re lucky enough to live here or just have the chance to visit, embrace it, I promise we won’t bite! And gentleman, if you find yourselves a sweet southern girl, don’t let her go, she’s surely the best there is. The South is home to me and I simply cannot imagine living anywhere else. While some see it as slow and antiquated, I see it as relaxing and charming. Sure the pace is slower and the region as a whole is fairly conservative and traditional…but why is that a bad thing? I think a place that emits charm, tradition, and faith is a great place to be, don’t you?
So the South may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly for me.