I’m down south right now and loving it. The heat, the humidity, the broad southern accents, all of it.
I have to admit, though, that being down here gives me a lot to think about.
For one thing, I have a kid who’s a big yankee. I consider myself southern, but my son doesn’t ma’am or sir without prompting. (And it’s not for my lack of trying, either. Believe me.) He also calls adults by their first names and thinks it’s hot when it’s in the 70s. How is it possible that I have a boy who’s a visitor in a place where I’m so at home?
But, come to think of it, I’m not the same as I was when I lived down here either.
For example, I find that people here tend to be a little bit more put together at all times. There is make up and jewelry. There are well coordinated outfits. And this is just at the grocery store! The bar is set much lower in Vermont, where it seems that most people have either just come from or are just going to some kind of athletic activity. Not me, of course, but I’m not afraid to take advantage of the low bar.
People are also chattier down here. Strangers talk to each other. I was caught in the rain yesterday and another lady, also caught in the rain, talked about it as we passed one another. “Where did this come from? Did you know this was coming? Good gracious!” I answered her, of course. I’m not totally rude. But I do find that I’m less likely to strike up a conversation with a passerby than I used to be. Maybe because in Vermont, people are less likely to answer. I’m not saying anyone’s rude. But taciturn? Yes.
I can’t help wondering which is the chicken and which is the egg. Am I a little bit different than people here in Charlotte because I live so far away now? Or do I live so far away now because I was always a little bit different? What would it have been like to stay here for these past twenty years? What would I be like if I had?
It’s too much thinking. But anyway, it’s nice to be home.
“Steady,” Perhaps you have never really been all that far away, in spite of the distance and the intervening years. Who knows, one day………………………… David Anderson