Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thoughts on my visit down south

I come from down south. I'm not a super-southern girl, I don't bleed confederate or any of that nonsense, and I barely have a trace of an accent. My grandparents have lived there all their lives, but I was born a yankee and transplanted when I was 11. Still, I think my heart lies in Dixie.

It's beautiful there. The hills, the green, the animals and birds, the calm. The people are so nice, at least when they're not all up in your business. Everything just seemed a little more civilized.

In particular, I headed to my old hometown (my parents don't live there anymore) to visit with my best friend and her family--ALL her family, including her kids, husband, siblings, and parents, so it was kind of like going home again for me too. Southern cooking. Homemade barbecue sauce. Creamed corn made with corn from the garden. The kids gathering eggs. A nap after dinner (which is the midday meal).

I don't know. There are many reasons I don't want to live there ever again. I get along with my family best from a distance. My job is tied to New York, or at least major cities. There's a lot of prejudice, a lot of backwards thinking, a lot of religious intolerance. But I feel a little nostalgic for a place without the constant grind and materialism I see here in front of me.

Progress marches there, too. They're expanding the two lane road that runs to my old hometown into a four lane divided highway. Some landmarks along that path are completely gone. Others are so changed we didn't recognize them until we realized we must have passed them.

I'm sure I can carve out a life in the city with more calm, more quiet, less want. No one's forcing me to go out and spend money on clothes, on removing hair from my body that hardly anyone gets to see anyway, on takeout. I went shopping on Sunday to exchange a gift that didn't fit and had a really hard time finding something to replace it with. I didn't want to get something unless I really wanted it, but I couldn't seem to find anything in the entire store that really seemed to call my name. I ended up getting something just to get the exchange over with, but maybe that's a feeling I can work on getting used to--not feeling like I HAVE to take advantage of this sale just because it's a sale.

I really do have enough. I have plenty of clothes. I have plenty of jewelry. I have plenty of shoes. I want more, better, different of all of those things, but I have enough. It just seems easier to remember that surrounded by the south than by the city.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the poignant post, LMM!I'm from the South as well (but have lived away for 9 years) and I have experienced the same conflicting feelings. There are reasons that I left, but there are reasons to fantasize about returning, too. When I visit, as I did at Christmas, I feel that nothing there has changed, and yet everything has. It's a very unsettling feeling.

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  2. I know exactly what you mean! We live in Kentucky, so it's not way down south (though my mom's from Louisiana), and people are so much nicer here. Like you, I was born a yankee (Maryland) and transplanted later. Kentucky feels right to me. I don't like how conservative it is, but it is SO nice to live somewhere with a slower, "enough" feel to it.

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  3. Could you still live close to a big city, but more rural?

    As I get older, I too start to think maybe a simpler, quieter life would be really nice. Especially after getting really bored and rereading my old Enid Blyton books :P

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  4. I feel the same way. Sometimes I want a simpler life, but then sometimes I love the opportunities that being in a city offer. It's hard to not get caught up in comparing yourself to others though... especially city people who are so put together.

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