There is just something to be said about the warmth, comfort and hospitality that seems to reside down there, amidst the magnolia, the azalea and the calendula...It is other-wordily, and yet it feels like home every time I am there.
My sister lives in the South... I am envious. But it does give me good cause to visit from time to time and breathe in the wonderfulness that resides there. Everything slows down, life seems to take on more meaning and the little things become so apparent I wonder why I didn't think of it sooner...
Because it is warm in the southern United States, there is more detail spent on the yards, the outdoor seating areas, the magnificent sub-tropical flora is planted and meant to be ejoyed. You spend more time out there, I love that! (I planted a hydrangea or two in hopes that I can relive a bit of that blooming splendor. We shall see how it weathers a Colorado high country winter...) The yards are meticulously kept and details like a decorated mail box aren't overlooked. So incredibly perfect!
(I want to live in this mailbox!)
There is something else about Southern Living that just keeps me wanting more... The People! Seriously, you just don't know hospitality until you have been down there and shared in a bar-b-que or a family gathering! It sure seems that Southerners have figured out that the finer things in life sum up in "folks". Your folks, my folks, the folks up the road... They take time to stop by, wave as you ride your bike down to the local farmer's market, say hello and complement your shoes. I know that most places have these practices, but in the warm sunshine and skin plumping humidity the Southern states just seem to have it perfected.
I must confess something - I love the food! Even being as food challenged as I am, I love southern cooking! I do have to be careful about the amount of fried and breaded things that are a Southern staple, but the time that is poured into each dish brought to a gathering leaves me sighing with sated glory! Baked macaroni and cheese was a foreign item to one grown up on boxed Mac'n'cheese. Not that I don't treasure my Grandmother teaching me how to make my own of an afternoon... But the crispy outer layer of real cheese and the gooey center of buttery yumminess - AAAAAHHHH! I can't hardly stand it! Even made with Gluten free Macaroni, it is to die for! It takes longer, but then that is another thing I love about the South.
Time not only slows down, there are moments it actually seems to stop... Bliss! To sit and watch ones kids enjoy their play in the pool, to share a drink and a snack with family and friends, these things you don't get to relive. These things you savor. Dinner out is meant to be enjoyed and experienced, not rushed through. Don't expect much of anything to be speedy in the lower 48... it just ain't gonna happen.
I am planning a trip to the Plantation Trace in Georgia and I cannot wait to see it through. I am not worried about being lost, someone will help me along. I am not worried about being hungry, there will be plenty of great things to eat. I am only concerned that the economy may slow my ability to get there before the beauty of fall passes.
The last thing to note about the south is something that is antithetical to most of us living in the upper 48... You don't leave without giving hugs! You may actually spend more time saying goodbye than you did at the gathering itself, but parting is a ritual that begs to be done with great contact and verve! So as I leave you with this post today, I give you a virtual hug....hhmmmmffff! and I bid you, "Y'all come back soon!"