Holidays are when I feel my most Southern. In fact, I wrote this post almost a year ago exactly. I know on a logical level people celebrate the Fourth of July other places beyond Kentucky Lake and eat something besides barbeque and Aunt Bobbie's green beans. But as we say in the South, that just ain't right...at least not for this Southerner.
I love being a Southerner. I love the people, the accent, the history, the food, the landscape. I even love the humid, sticky heat. I love it all.
I didn't realize how much I loved the South until I left it. Suddenly, the way I spoke was funny and you had to ask if a restaurant served sweet tea. More importantly, I was forced to defend for the first time a place that I loved as much as my own mother. It's not a perfect place but, as everyone knows, you can say what you want about your momma but everyone else better sure as hell keep their mouth shut.
Recently, I ran across My South: A People, A Place, A World of Its Own based on this work by Robert St. John. Inspired I decided to write my own version and share with you what My South represents.
My South is my Papa driving his pickup down a gravel road.
Atop his head is a trucker hat (before they were called trucker hats), raising his index finger as a greeting to whoever passes his way.
In My South, you can be fixin' to do all manner of things...
unless you or your baby didn't get your nap out.
My South is Nanny's sweet tea, which contains more sugar than any frothy frozen concoction Starbucks could dream up.
In My South, I drive county roads named after ancestors and my son is born a ninth generation Kentuckian.
My South is the way my grandmother's best friend still calls me Baby Sarah despite my rapidly approaching 30th birthday.
And my Daddy Bud dropping off more garden fresh zucchini than you could ever possibly eat.
In My South, all babies are precious but they might not all be pretty.
My South is watching Hee Haw without the slightest bit of irony.
In My South if someone says bless your heart, then they are sending everything but blessings your way.
My South is my Aunt Bobbie's green beans that cook for two days but get eatin up in under five minutes.
And in My South I walk into Leigh's Bar-b-Que and my red hair immediately gives me away. "Here comes a Skidmore!"
My South is the fierce love you feel for a land and people that compose the breath and blood of your very soul.
More than moon pies and magnolia trees, it is at your core.
My South is me.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland