Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Now we're in the 'South'

And we thought we were in the South.

Ney gentle reader, we were but in the Southern South. We had not yet experienced the languid and lugubrious south of the Carolinas yet. This is the South of small children who do no say "pig", but "swwwwiiiiiiiiinnne". This is miles upon miles of mobile homes along the highways, seemingly placed just so in case someone should want to expand the highway; the homes could be moved in a moments time. This is the south where, as one young lady explained,

"We've nevah beeen outsahd North Carahlina to Virginia befoah."

as we sat consuming Meat and Three* in a cozy Bar-b-cue joint named Little Richard decorated with all sorts of animal parts. The main theme inside was pig decor (as though Little Richard was somehow an apt symbol.) In fact, we had a lively debate over whether the coat hooks were supposed to be pigs feet or deer hooves. The proprietor just said,

"Well, they's supposed to be deer feet Ah think."

I should've snapped a photo for yah'll to judge for yaselves.

The pace of life here is beyond slow. If a police car spots someone speeding, they don't give chase, they just wait until the culprits come around again, which they must surely will.

Varmints crossing the road don't even hurry, since they know they've got more than a fighting chance against the sidling traffic. And, of course, as in everywhere else in the South, we can never rush into a store or restaurant, get what we want and go. It is the height of rudeness not to 'pass the time' for a bit before getting down to business.

Me: "Help!, where's the fire extinguisher, my hairs on fire!"

Store Keeper: "Well well, young lady, are yah'll from these parts? You sound like Yankees, now not meanin' to be rude or anything. Have you ever been to New York? Those folks really move. What's that you need?"

Me: "Ahhhhggha!"

The upside of the pace of life is that you DO get to know a lot of people, their dogs, children, grandchildren, dentist and proctologist. Folks will stand there and question you about everyone you know, not to be rude, but to find some sort of connection. Eventually one always turns up. Their third cousin's wife's lawyer is actually one of your patients, or the girl who trims their dog was living in Seattle at the exact same time and was your next door neighbor. People care about these connections, they make you family and that means warmth and kindness all around. Here is a true story:

A friend in Boulder, Colorado gave me a knitting book called Mason Dixon Knitting. The writers of the book write a blog. I checked the blog and saw that a group of women from somewhere around Chattanooga went up to Nashville for a knit-along. I hadn't found a group to knit with yet and so I wrote to the author of the blog in Nashville asking if she could forward my e-mail to those knitters in Chattanooga. 2 days later I received and e-mail from one of the knitters and called her up. Turns out the group of knitters is not just from around Chattanooga, they are in my neighborhood of Signal Mountain and one of the main places they meet is just down the street. (Hi Beth and Karen!)

Also, it turns out that this group is a talented group of artists who are members of a number of art associations which my DH and I have been looking for. It also turns out that the people taking over the book keeping for my DH's office is the family of a couple of the knitters in the group. (and when I say family I mean 'Family' with an Italian last name, I think they're just book-keepers rather than book-makers...(just kidding Karen...))

So, connections, it's all about connections, one way or another. And luckily, because my DH is a Dermatologist, there will be no swimming with the fishes for us!

*The 'Three' in Meat and Three stands for vegetables, in most cases potato, corn, and canned green beans.

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1 comment:

Kathy said...

Where in the world did you go?? I'm from South Carolina, and I'm currently living in North Carolina, and I've never heard of some of these things! Swine? You must be going down all of the back roads to encounter these things. I can't remember the last time I saw rows of mobile homes outside of the rural areas of the Low Country. The meat and three is definitely harder to find now, and I miss those old restaurants. My husband and I laugh about our current city because I haven't met a native Southerner yet, so we feel like we don't live in the South anymore. It's strange to read about your experiences because I am having the exact opposite reaction as I see traditions (some good, some bad) disappearing, and there is less a sense of community now.