I do a lot of riding in my line of work. I see a lot of the upstate of South Carolina. I am a Southern boy and I love the South. I love the way we talk and I love our southern traditions. I love our history and I know after I make a statement like loving our history there should be a big BUT or we have made mistakes or some sort of apology of some kind but that’s for another day. There is more to the history of the South than you know……….. That
Because I was born in the South, I’m a Southerner. If I had been born in the North, the West or the Central Plains, I would be just a human being. Clyde Edgerton
I have visited many places in our beautiful country. Homer, Alaska, Bainbridge Island, Washington, Damariscotta, Maine and the Florida Keys are places that if I ever hit the lottery, the Miller’s would have homes. Despite the hellish heat and humidity, the lure of the south always prevails. The thought of never hearing “ well bless your heart” and the idea of not being able to stop on the side of the road to buy those boiled peanuts that the old man in the beat up Chevy truck is cooking and chasing it down with a Cheerwine would always bring me back. To live somewhere that I could not find Duke’s would be unthinkable. I love the earthy smells of spring and the summer thunderstorms and the foggy winter mornings and the crisp, chilly fall days full of bright light and strong breezes and smells of leaves. I love the squirrels and birds and deer and ugly possums and irritating raccoons and timid rabbits. You can have caviar and snails and champagne and very expensive wines. Give me a fresh, sweet, chilled watermelon or a peach from Hood Farms in Chesnee. I want to be clear: This is not opinion. This is fact. No human prepared anything about that watermelon or peach. These are not manufactured goods. They just are…….. Perfection.
“To be a Southerner, or to live Southern, is to feel, well, something special even in the quiet, something fine in itself after all those rebel yells and Roll Tides have faded into silence”. Rick Bragg
While driving I listen to a few podcasts. Joe Rogan, Tomahawk Chop, and another one called “The Bitter Southerner.” This is a NPR podcast from the state of Georgia that is about all things South. Unfortunately a lot of the podcast is focuses on the wrongs of the south. There are some good stories on the podcast as well. (Sorry I just get tired of hearing about how bad I am). It did get me to think about why I love the South. I can’t think of another part of the country where the people are more proud of their raising than those in the South. I don’t think you can find it anywhere else. I’ve never heard anyone say that they were proud to be from California. Seriously where else can you hear the words sugar, dumpling, sugar dumpling, honey, pumpkin and sweetie pie and it not refer to food.
I find as I get older I am more aware of sites, sounds and the smells that remind me of the days I spent growing up in the South and Indian Land SC in particular. I bought some muscadines yesterday at our local produce stand here in Powdersville, brought them home, ate a couple and my thoughts went back to simpler times riding my bicycle with my cousins on the red dirt road that ran beside our house stopping along the way to eat us some muscadines. It’s funny how that works. The sound of a creaking board, the screen door on the porch slamming, the smell of rain, the sound of crickets and bull frogs, eating pecans and pears right off the tree and even the mistake of eating persimmons. Eating crawdads and catching lightning bugs. That is my love affair with the South, warts included.
“If Heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie
I don’t wanna go
If Heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie
I’d just as soon stay home“. Hank Williams, Jr