No, I didn't grow up there. No, I don't live there now (unfortunately). But regardless, that's what I am. A southern girl at heart. Born and raised in Indiana, I took a chance and went to Tennessee for college. There I met and befriended a couple of southern girls (Misty and Mary)who would show me the ways of southern life.
I haven't been down to the mountains of Tennessee and Virginia for a couple of years, and this past weekend, Evan and I went down for Mary's wedding. The mountains and my friends for a whole weekend? How blissful. We stayed in the lovely town of Rocky Mount, which, I'm sure has it's druthers (especially according to Misty's husband Chadwick), but Evan and I enjoyed it.
Sometimes I forget how different the ways of Indianapolis and say, Rocky Mount are. There is a totally different concept of time. For example, after Mary's wedding people were just hanging around outside the church instead of heading on to the reception. I was talking to Misty's mama and I asked her if something else was happening at the church or we were supposed to be going to the reception. Her response? "Oh, sweetie, there's nothing else happening here. We're in Virginia. We linger."
I love lingering. I hate to be rushed. I often feel in my current life that I'm constantly rushing from one place to another and getting caught in traffic in the process, which only makes one feel more rushed. Not that the south doesn't have it's fair share of traffic jams, but people don't seem to care about it as much. And I'm okay with that.
I also love the sense that people just love to hang out and eat together. After church on Sunday, Misty, Chadwick, Evan and I headed to the big Sunday potluck at one family's house. Did we need to be invited? No. You just show up. And bring whoever with you. There is no worry about if there is enough food. There is ALWAYS enough food. Evan (who has never lived anywhere outside of Indiana) had no idea that events like this really existed. He had heard about them, but he had never experienced one. Kind of like an urban legend. But in the mountains.
Plus, it's always an added bonus to be with your close friends who know you so well but love you unconditionally anyway. It always feels like home when you're with people who love you in that way. I think it automatically makes you a more caring and active person when people appreciate you for who you are. Really, it was like leaving home to come back to Indiana.
Evan knows I have a desire to relocate to the south. I think after living in it for the weekend, he may be ready to join me.
And honestly - as a therapist, if I could give everyone a pretty mountain to look at, a glass of sweet tea, and a rocking chair with a fab friend like Misty in the one next to them, everyone would be happier. I know I would. And then I could just retire and enjoy my southern life.