You have to say it that way to get the drawl across. I was born, raised, educated, and still remain in South Carolina. But unless I am mad or a little bit buzzed, you would never guess it from my accent alone. The South runs in my veins. I am not sure about my lineage, but I feel so in tune with just being a modern-day Southern girl, I don’t see myself living anywhere else and being truly happy.
As I sit out on the screened porch, drinking iced tea, and listening to the cicadas go nuts (not nearly as bad as the baby cicada boom of last summer), I smile and think to myself there is no other place on the planet I’d rather be. Even the sunset here is prettier than any other I have seen traveling.
I haven’t done a top ten list in…well, ever. Only seems fitting I should give you the top ten reasons why I love living down here…in no particular order. I would love to hear your comments, too! I may leave some things out.
- Don’t like the weather here? That’s alright, wait ten minutes…it’ll change. The South is known for it’s mercurial weather. The winters are more like rainy seasons with a miniature ice age thrown in followed closely by a pool party in the back yard, because it hits 90 on the day of your Christmas get together. The summers are even worse! Afternoon monsoons, heat waves, and, today a cold front came through making the evening air feel like fall. You are playing with fire if you attempt to plan an outdoor event, but at least you’re not in danger of staying inside all day.
- Mountains, and fields, and the beach…oh my! From the mountains of Greenville to the tourist littered shores of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina plays with both sides of my nature loving soul. I never really have to choose when I want to go watch the trees change color or when I am really dying to watch the sunrise on the ocean. Either way, it takes about 3 hours and I’m there!
- Southern people are just plain friendly. It’s hard being the new person in town, but it won’t take long before the welcoming committee comes around to say “hi” and figure out where you came from, what you do, and what you have in common. We wave and smile, say good morning in passing on the street. You won’t catch someone doing that anywhere else…unless they are from around here.
- The history. The South is slow to catch up with the present. Sorry, guys but we are. Without getting into politics, we hold on to old houses that either become beautiful plantation restorations or they are a sadly sweet reminder of times gone by, getting devoured by kudzu. You can throw a stone from where you’re standing and be on the site of a great battle or a native american burial ground. And I am not even going to tell you how much fun it is to go on a ghost hunt. You’ll have to do that for yourself, especially if you’re in Charleston.
- The romance. Yeah, New York has an Affair to Remember and Los Angeles has Pretty Woman, but the most heart wrenching “chick flicks” out there are set in the South. The Notebook was shot in Charleston. Forest Gump in Savannah. Geez! Gone with the Wind? Hello! There’s something about the hot summers and spanish moss that just awakens the soul to get down to some good ol’ kissy face.
- The food is served with a heaping side of hospitality. I’m not talking about McDonalds, but if you were to step into an old mom and pop restaurant, you are pretty much guaranteed a great home-cooked quality meal with the option of sweet iced tea, possibly a biscuit on the side, and a friendly server who makes you feel like you’re the only person there. Shrimp and grits, fried chicken, carolina barbecue…ohmygerd! I feel like I would die if I had to stay too far away from these delicious southern delicacies.
- Small towns. I am a city girl deep down, but I was brought up in Lancaster, SC. Once the heart of the textile industry, Lancaster has come back from down trodden and delapidated and is rising back to charming township. Here everybody knows everybody, people pray for you (whether or not you’re asking for it), and if something bad happens to you, people will bring you heaps and heaps of food. I will never forget my little cousin Josie a few months ago at Aunt Betty’s funeral saying “I am sad Nana is gone, but man, I really love it that people bring us food! And it’s free!” It’s the support and the love that you just won’t get anywhere else.
- Talent mixed with soul. Because it is warm here most of the year, I am always able to get out to show, a concert, or stumble upon street performers. We have spawned some of the greatest talent in the world! My favorite thing about the great performers that come out of the South though is that they haven’t gotten completely jaded by the world. There is still warmth and a soul to their talent that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. My friend Zerf, for instance. A great guitar player, but even more of a bluesy white boy who can sing and play harmonica so well, Ray Charles would be jamming with him. Sorry, Zerf, but I have to pimp you out a bit.
- Front porches. I believe the front porch is definitely underrated. There is really nothing better than coming home at the end of the day, opening a bottle of wine, and sitting on the front porch while swinging or rocking. The air is filled with fresh cut grass, the scent of flowers, and fireflies play on the lawn. These moments in time are when I feel close to Heaven.
- Farmers Markets and Sundays. McLeod Farms is only a 30 minute drive on the way to Myrtle Beach. Spring’s Farm Peach Stand is a staple in my Sunday afternoon grocery stop. Sunday is the day of rest down here. If you asked Ryan about the most important day to have off at the airport? Sundays! It’s that extra day to recover from the night before, to go to church, to be with your family, to eat a meal that is not frozen. I love Sundays and how they coincide with my trips to the absolute best local grown produce I’ve ever tasted. No offense to California, but South Carolina can grow one sweet strawberry.
This Southern Strawberry is off to set out a little more. What are you favorite things about the south or where you live?