Only in the South do we have an afternoon thunderstorm almost like clock work through the summer months.
Here, we marvel at dusk at the wonder of sparkling fields of dancing fireflies. I remember trying to catch enough as a kid to fill up a mason jar. My cousins, who were all boys, and I would poke holes in jar lids so the fireflies would live. We wanted to collect enough fireflies to make an all natural light out of a jar filled with these fascinating bugs. We liked to envision ourselves as the boxcar children or Tom Sawyer. Ha… that never quite worked out, but it was fun dreaming and trying.
Here in the South if you have a front porch, you’re expected to use it. Rocking chairs and porch swings are commonplace!
We love barbecue (and I don’t mean grilling your food, although we love that too), watermelon, fried chicken, Sundrop, and iced tea (sweetened). Cheeseburgers here are optional with slaw, chili, and mustard, rather than your typical lettuce and tomato. And though I’m not much of a fan of mayo (and many recipes here require it), I believe casseroles of all descriptions may have been invented by the Southern Baptists.
Gardens are planted for summer canning. Things grow well here! We have lots of grass and humidity. There’s just something about the smell of freshly cut grass or the moisture in the air after a spring rain that reminds me I’m home.
A couple of years ago my sister-in-law’s dear little papa passed on to be with Jesus. As I sat outside this small, wooden, 150-year old church, I listened and watched as the entire community came together to celebrate his life. Every color and every denomination gathered. Joann’s papa had embraced the black community and loved them like his own family during a time in history when it was unheard of in the South! 250 people crammed into a building designed to accommodate 150 people at best. We all sang old traditional hymns accompanied by a simple piano.
I was flooded by memories of my childhood. My grandpa was a Baptist preacher with congregations of no more than 250 people. This was similar to how worship looked back then. As I observed I was delighted by the familiar sights and smells… wooden pews, dolled-up, perfumed-up women with southern accents and men with their cologne, suits and ties, and every hair in place. The men mostly followed the women, as if they would much rather be somewhere else.
Most southern women are not wall flowers, so strong personalities and opinions are plenty! Generosity and acts of service are woven into the fabric of our being. We are taught what’s proper and how to serve others. No wonder we’ve been labeled with having southern hospitality! It’s a real thing.
With a rich southern heritage filled with tradition and sentiment, I sat on a bench in front of this historic church reminded, and thankful.
It’s the same nostalgic feeling that sweeps over me when I’ve traveled to other parts of the country, then return home. Or my feelings when I lived in CA and so often visited NC, I would get off the plane in Charlotte with southern accents piping through the hallways and corridors. I’d walk outside and feel the moisture in the air, take a deep breath, and sigh relief.