I was born and raised in NC and made my first move out of the state at the age of 22. Over the next 15 years, I would live in Chicago, Vail and Philadelphia.. with a couple of moves BACK to NC worked in there for good measure. I resisted living here in NC during my single days, but when you have a family and you live in an area where there is NO family, suddenly “home” looks a little bit sweeter. We packed our bags and our truck for what I hope will be the last time and headed back to the South.
There’s a misconception that anyone who lives below the Mason-Dixon line is a slow, back-ass hick. While we certainly have our fair share of those, it’s by no means every single person and the majority of “new” people that I meet are in fact from other areas of the country. You see… they’ve learned what life long residents have always known – life is simpler in the South.
The South is as steeped in tradition like a teabag is steeped in water. We definitely do things a little bit differently here, but I think most (not ALL) of the things are really nice.
Cotillion: I scoffed when we first were invited for Mackenzie go thru Cotillion. I was amazed that it was still around – How antiquated could you possibly get, I thought?! But she wanted to do it (all of her friends were doing it, of course) so we showed up – white gloves, dress and all. She’s now on her 3rd year and I’m already planning on Sydney starting next season, too. They’re taught manners, proper dining techniques, the proper way to enter a room, etc. In today’s time of text conversations, I can’t see a thing wrong with giving them a little nudge in proper etiquette.
Comfort Food: If someone dies or gets sick in your church or neighborhood, the first thing most Southern women do is pull out their cookbooks and their casserole dishes. We know the best way to help a family is to make sure they have food on the table and apparently, a LOT of it. We’re not an overly religious family by any means but I remember growing up and my Grandmother was AND she was on the “committee” at church that would get that phone call. The Pastor was the first to know and then the elder women. Pies, casseroles, fried chicken and gallons of sweet tea and lemonade would magically appear on the doorstep and usually before sundown. I was always amazed that this wasn’t the case in other parts of the country because it really does help the family in need.
Door to Door Anything: This one still blows my mind. I remember growing up and every Saturday, without fail, at some point my mother would run thru the house turning off lights and shutting the doors. All because, down the street, she could see the door-to-door evangelists coming. They would show up and try to sing their gospel to whoever would listen. You should come to our church! Have you been saved from the eternal bowels of Hell? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior? And the handouts that they would leave behind! My GOD! If I didn’t believe in God before, I’m not sure their pamphlets were going to win me over. You would NEVER see anyone going door to door north of the Mason-Dixon line. Anyone doing so would surely be taking their life in their hands. But, it’s still a common occurrence here.. from religion to windows to books to whatever.
Big Ass Churches: I’m not talking majestic cathedrals like St. Patrick’s or Notre Dame. I’m talking your run of the mill Southern Baptist variety. Where do these people come from to fill these churches? One of my all time favorite stories was from some friends of ours who had just moved down from Chicago who were visited by said door-to-door evangelists. Except they didn’t know they were evangelists so when the couple asked our friends if they’d like to go to Calvary with them, of course our friends response was “Sure! Is that a bar?!”. It wasn’t a bar of course, but rather the biggest church in our town. Needless to say, they didn’t have to worry about a repeat visit. The funny thing is that our churches in NC are NOTHING compared to the ones in Texas.
Pig Pickins’: Yep.. I spelled that right. It’s not a BBQ or a pig roast but rather a pig pickin’. If there’s a pig of any form involved, it’s a pig pickin’ and oh my lord, if you ever get the chance – you have to go. NC BBQ is very special BBQ in that we smoke our pigs and that’s where the true flavor comes from. From there, you have 2 different varieties of NC BBQ – Lexington style and Eastern Style and you usually like one or the other and people are very passionate about which is the “true” style of BBQ. One of my favorite events is our very own family pig pickin’. This year’s party will be our 6th year of smoking a whole hog and while it’s hard work, in the end it’s so worth it.
There are so many endearing qualities to the South. From our laid back mode of life, to our extremely pleasant weather (especially this Winter!) and our (mostly) congenial attitudes. Yes, we can be slow and backwards in some ways, but I think if you were to come down, sit on the porch and have a glass of tea (sweet, of course!) you’d have no problem getting into our groove, y’all!
This post was originally posted over at High Heels & Dirty Dishes for Leap Blog Day last week!
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