With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it gave me pause to consider not only my plans for the next few weeks but also everything I am thankful for. If I were to pen all of my most precious blessings, I would certainly have to start with Southern birth rights. I’m thankful for the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of the South.
The amazing year-round weather; buttery grits; our very own language; less-than-swift pace of everything; the slam of a screen door; and so much more. Our natural environment; flip flops; relaxing under a huge oak or pine tree just because; fishing and throw backs; barbecue; and the feeling you have when you see total strangers pull over in traffic so you can drive nonstop to a loved one’s final resting place.
I am a pop-culture enthusiast and have been since early childhood. Growing up, I would sometimes feel as if my parents did me a huge injustice by not relocating to New York City or Los Angeles.
Once again, mama and daddy proved to be much wiser. I’m so very thankful for all the riches held within this fine state! Only in the South do we appreciate the simplest of things.
For example, riches of soil – good, old fashioned dirt and sand. Dirt roads, mud pies, dirt-rimmed feet (aka “grocery-store feet”) and the ever-present, free childhood toy known as a dirt bomb. My childhood was riddled with dirt-bomb fights with my brother, which resulted in bath tubs matching the rims on our feet.
We don’t need chlorine pools to make a splash. We have freshwater creeks, rivers and lakes as well as salty shoreline beaches just a short road trip away. Be thankful we are surrounded by entertainment and activities that do not include batteries or paparazzi. Outside is the best ‘‘toy’’ for the young – and young at heart.
Be thankful bugs don’t scare you and are to be expected. Southerners are accustomed to unannounced visitors at all outdoor functions: gnats, mosquitoes and ants, just to name a few. Lightning bugs, grasshoppers, moths and butterflies make their presence known as well.
We are good at predicting the weather just by stepping outside in the morning. Extreme heat is normal heat. Extreme cold – well, that is cause for worry. Swatting flies and self-fanning could be an Olympic sport here. Be thankful. We adapt easy.
Where else in the nation do you hear such sweet words as “darlin’”, “y’all”, “yonder” and “youngin’.” I bet you are asked to repeat these words when stepping above the Bible Belt. It makes us interesting. Am I the only one who grimaces at movies depicting life in the South when they get it totally wrong? Being Southern is natural, it takes finesse and a relaxed attitude – attributes rarely replicated by outsiders mocking us.
Be thankful food tastes so good it will “make you slap your grandma down!” or a compliment to the cook is simply saying, “you put your foot in it!” Speaking of cooking, our most famous blessing is our food. Thanksgiving in the South is incomplete without sweet potato and pecan pies, deep fried or oven baked turkeys smothered in Southern gravies, and no dining room table would dare receive a blessing without a huge pitcher of sweet ice tea resting within arms reach.
Hollywood and Times Square have unique attributes and I am sure their natives are just as proud of their resident states. I just happen to be a tiny bit sure that the South is truly God’s Country! Why do you think we have so many older Northern transplants? Well, Suga, it took them all that time to realize the South is where you have to be to truly find the joy in life, to breathe deep and love – not surgically remove – well-earned wrinkles, evidence of a lifetime of out-loud laughter, sun-covered activities and excessive talking on front porches.
Be thankful for the quality of life you have in the CSRA.
Whether born and bred in the South, relocated due to employment or visiting family and friends, enjoy the most wonderful place on Earth during any month of year. I could continue to boast about the South but as life has it, this autumn day is perfect for a bike ride – in shorts no doubt!
I’m grateful for everything this region of the United States has afforded me. Happy Thanksgiving to you. May you be blessed to your bones this holiday season!