Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Southern Way

Last Saturday, we went up North a bit to attend my grandfather's 80th birthday party. To Ider, Alabama to be exact. Most of my maternal family lives in that area and the area surrounding Chattanooga, Tennessee. When I was young, this family was the family we did everything with. Birthdays, vacations, holidays, you name it.

We still came back for holidays and such of course and our grandparents would come visit occasionally but the rest of the extended family became familiar strangers. Acquaintances with blood ties if you will. We were the big city folk and that somehow made us outcasts.

When I was three or four though, we moved away. Far away. To a bigger city a days drive away. From then on, we were the outsiders. We dressed differently, we lost the southern drawl to our voices, we saw the world outside that little town.  

I think it took more of a toll on my mother than anyone else. These were the people she had grown up with. The people she schooled with and married with. They all had babies all very close together too. My sister and I were too young to understand the loss and my father was too narcissistic to care.

We moved all over the country and eventually settled here in Atlanta in '97. Life got hard and my parents divorced. My maternal grandmother passed away, giving us less reason to head North than we already had. When I got married and we started having our own families, it got even less. The occasional landmark birthday or wedding but that is pretty much it.

I've lost touch with what its like to be "southern" after all those years. It really is a different kind of thing. A feeling, a loyalty, a breed even. I don't know if its age or what that has made me notice it again so much lately but this weekend it really caught my attention.

We were walking into a restaurant for lunch and an older gentleman held the door for us, complementing the lady in front of us and saying hello to both our boys. We were greeted everywhere we went with smiles and familiarity. I got called sweetheart more than once and while it made me chuckle, it was kind of nice to not just be outright ignored like you are this close to the city. Even though we live in the south, you don't meet many actual southern people around here. Southern people get called a lot of names but really, so much of it is unwarranted.

Going north is a pretty rare occasion for us but really I kind of wish we had more reason to. To get away in the refreshing simplicity id country life. Even if we are outsiders.


  1. The hospitality of small towners is one of the greatest things about them.

  2. I like the South, I really do, but alas, I'm a Yankee. It's making me giggle that you go up North to Alabama! That's waaaaay down south to me! :)

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner


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