Thursday, February 25, 2010

25 Random Things- #6 (Southern Love)

I think that it is time for another elaboration of one of my "25 Random Things About Me". I made this list forever ago, but if your remember, I am going through the list and explaining each thing in detail a bit more.

6. I love the Old South. Not so much the slavery part of it, but just the romance and elegance of it. Of course it wasn’t so elegant when Scarlett was digging in the dirt trying to feed her family. I like to think I could be that woman--so graceful and sophisticated, appearing so dainty, yet so strong. Of course, I’m not, not even close.

I've written about my love for the South before. That post was tied to my Rebel love, though. The thing is, they are kind of tied together in my heart. But I'm going to do my best to keep the Rebel references to a minimum and focus on the South outside of the confines of the University of Mississippi. That said, the first thing I say, I've said before about Ole Miss: there is just a certain inexplicable culture here that is sometimes hard for people who aren't natives to the south to grasp.

Like I said originally, I am mainly attracted to the elegance of the Old South. The elegance and the way men and women behaved in such a genteel fashion. I read something in a book of my mom's (I'm going to try to find it) about how you should always "dress" for dinner and while I have never done it, I do think there is something to be said for a time when that was the expectation. And if I hazarded to guess, the South was the last to let go of these traditions. There is a fine southern family in my church and the matriarch of the family always had her grandsons set the table for the fabulous Sunday lunch she prepared. These boys are well breed and can set a table better than I can. I think that is wonderful.

I know some people (mostly yankess- haha, just kidding) will say it's just a facade, but I really think there is a "friendliness" here that there just isn't in a lot of other places. If we're talking about Dallas (which isn't the "deep south" in my opinion, anyway) or Atlanta, I'd be proven wrong, but there is also just a pace of life that is different in the South. It's like someone gave us permission to smell the roses. I. Love. That.

There is also something really funny about southerners, to me. I was the only one of my friends in high school, who when we watched Lifetime after school, really preferred "Designing Women" to "The Golden Girls". Y'all....I have no idea why we loved those shows. What were we Benjamin Button? Going backwards....slowly becoming forty somethings from the '80s? That's what our viewing choices seemed to indicate.

One last thing, before I finish this post, I really want to address the elephant in the room. Okay, yes, there is an ugly part of our (southerner's) history. Honestly, if you say you have "southern pride" a lot of people hear you say "white pride" and that is truly a travesty. I'm not going to deny that my southern heritage is full of ugliness and hatred. At the same time, as an educated person and a person with the equivalent of a history minor, I will tell you that I firmly believe that Robert E. Lee had as much compassion on his fellow man as Abraham Lincoln did, if not more. The stereotype of those whole love the Old South as racists infuriates because many southerners for generations have loved black people like family while, sometimes, people in other areas have had inflated egos over an abstract ideology. When I tell you that my grandmother told her housekeeper about her first kiss, and not her mom, I do not lie. And when I tell you that as I sat in a room full of children around this time last year, watching a man whose views I could never support, take the oath of office of the presidency, I still had tears in my eyes at the beauty of it, I also do not lie. Even much as I disagree with him and abhor much of his ideology; it was a very powerful moment for me. All that to say, it *really* upsets me when people think I'm a bigot because I am proud of my heritage.

There is so much more I am sure, but I am so glad that this place, the South, is a part of me and that I am a part of it.


Peyton said...

GOOD EXPLAINATION IN YOUR POST. I think it's a hard thing to convey to those not from the South, and don't think I usually appreciate some differences in getting caught up in the negatives (over-formality).

Tiffany said...

I agree whole-heartedly! I love the deep south, and I'm proud to have been raised there. There is good and bad everywhere. (Believe me, I've lived in the north, south, west and mid west.) There's a give and take with every where you go. I could live anywhere. I'm a bloom where I'm planted kinda girl. But, my heart will always be in the deep south. It's in the blood. -And you're right, those who weren't raised in it, just don't understand, probably never will. I say their loss! ;)