The South has all sorts of reputations–some good, some bad. Having grown up down here, I’ll admit that I’ve often lamented aspects of life that I wish were different. However, there are a few things about living here that I really do enjoy. Here is list of my favorites:
- Clean, sugar-white, quartz sand beaches and blue-green water—Yes, we had the oil spill and that really messed up some stuff, but I really under-appreciate the beaches and pretty much universal water access.
- Fried food—I know it is bad for you, but it is sooooo good. Down here, you can get just about anything fried. What are two of my unusual fried favorites? Fried pickles and deep fried Oreos. They taste so much better than they sound.
- Gravy—Like the fried food, you can get just about anything smothered in gravy. And I’m not talking about brown gravy you put on potatoes. I’m talking pepper gravy. It’s basically a white roux with black pepper added and it is delicious. What are some things Southerners smother in gravy? Chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy (a personal favorite), and chicken fingers. Well, we dip the chicken fingers, but it is still awesome. I may or may not have ordered chicken fingers before just for the gravy. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh my goodness! She must be obese and in the early stages of heart disease!” Nope. Not yet, at least. On the contrary, I’m quite petite and have been blessed with a metabolism that basically lets me eat whatever I want. This I am quite thankful for.
- Southern Manners—Some people get annoyed by this. Please, thank you, Ma’am, and Sir are part of our daily interactions with each other. We also call people Mr. and Ms. regardless of our age (i.e. Thank you Ms. Brooke from a 70-year-old). Part of our Southern manners includes things like holding doors for people and letting others go first. Now, this isn’t always adhered to, but people will do this more often than not. Smiles are also commonplace 🙂
- Greasy Spoons and Mom & Pop Joints—My city has quite a few locally-owned businesses, some of which have been around for decades. Their longevity can partly be attributed to their consistency. There is a burger joint down here that has been in business since the 1930s. The menu is vast, but simple. They don’t accept credit cards. Prices are ridiculously cheap (a cheeseburger, fries, and a coke will cost you $6.50). There’s even an old lady in her 80s that has been working there since she was 20. I can walk in there and expect friendliness and good food. Simplicity is often something we have mastered in the South.
- People know your name—I have a pretty large social circle and I will run into someone I know or recognize everywhere I go. Heck, I’ve even ran into people from my town in Italy while climbing to the top of the Duomo (wierd, I know). Now, sometimes this can be a disadvantage, particularly if you want to go unnoticed, but it can be really nice. And at a lot of those greasy spoons that I mentioned they will remember your name and your order.
So, this only scratches the surface and, believe me, I could write a ton more about the things that annoy me about this place. But, it is the little things in life that seem to put a smile on my face more than anything else.