Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

C: Bein’ Suthren and On Bein’ Raised Right

usa You know, I’ve traveled a good bet.  I’ve been to all “corners” of our great country and a whole lot in between.  (and, yes, overseas, too, but I’m talkin’ America here) 

I have loved every blessed minute of my American travels.  I revel in our country.  I think there is just something “American” about Americans, whatever section of the country you look at.  There is a spirit that defines us and even  transcends national origin.  And “spirit’ is just national anthemthe only word I can think of.  It embodies pioneering and innovation and, yes, brashness that others may find off-putting, but which we know that it is just that old American Spirit.  It is necessary for our accomplishments and endearing to those of us who live here.

I hope all people feel the same way about their nations, and I assume this feeling of loyalty and exuberant love of home are natural.

Sorry, I’m spinning out of control. I tend toward old-fashioned  patriotism.  Tears well at the National Anthem, and I love documentaries like “America’s Heart and Soul,” which I heartily recommend that you all order right now (through our site!) from Amazon for Independence Day celebrations.  Look at this trailer for just a taste of the great-American offering this documentary is:

Anyway, back to my title.  Much as I love New England; much as I love the Pacific Northwest; much as I love the great American Southwest, what I really am is a Southern American Girl.  I have had the bestest time traveling this country, but home and roots are in the South for me, and it is just the bomb.tick

I love watching you Northerners, recoil at the thought of a tick—we just yank ‘em off and flush ‘em.  Yeah, we know all about Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick  fever.  We jes’ don’t get bent out of shape ‘cuz of it…we just yank ‘em off and go on.  Most of us who have grown up among them fear the misery of chiggers more—shudder!

Experiences that “feel” Southern to me include:

  • Humidity: popping out in a sweat the very second you step outside in the summer air.
  • Lightning bugs and crickets/frogs chirping at night;
  • As a child: sweat beads around your neck and itching from wrestling down in the grass when your mama calls you in at night for a bath;
  • Iced tea (real sweet with lemon or, if you’re high falutin’ like V’s mama, a slice of lime or a sprig of mint);
  • biscuits (“cat heads” my grandmother used to call ‘em) and gravbiscuitsandgravyy. 
  • Skeeters keeping you up at night   (“hummmmmmmmmmmad infinitum)  and ending up with a blood-splattered bedroom wall from killing them. Believe me, you will go to great lengths to get them so you can get a night’s sleep.
  • Calling that piece of furniture that holds your clothes a “chester drawers;” “renching” out a glass in the sink.
  • Do you know what the phrase “Dillards’ is runnin’ their sheets,” or “Dillards’ is got their sheets on” means?  They both mean that the Department Store, Dillards, has sheets on sale. okra
  • Ice-cold watermelon, fried chicken (hot or cold), ‘tater salad, fried okra, grits, pecan pie, ribs, fresh cucumbers in vinegar and pepper,  cobbler with blackberries you have picked (at great risk of chiggers—see above).
  • Funeral home paper fans.

barefeet Growing up V and I just waited on the day when our mothers would allow us to go barefoot as the summer began.  We rarely put our shoes on after that until school started (except, of course, for company or going out), and by end of summer we could run across gravel, no problem, because our feet were so tough.  “Summer feet,” we called them.

Part of the American experience comes from the old “melting pot” theory, our invitation to the world, as inscribed on our Statue of Liberty:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

We’re a comingling of traditions and influences from around the world.  It makes for an interesting stew, and I believe that our country has, over the centuries, attracted those who already tend toward those pioneering traits that signify the spirit I mentioned above. We have welcomed the infusion of that spirit from fresh sources, from those yearning to breath free.

And part of being Southern is hospitality.  We’re taught to give it and love giving it.  We’re taught to accept it graciously.

And, right now I am P’d Off that someone would become an American citizen, fleeing the repression of Pakistan for the wide-open-spaces freedom of America, and then—just a year later—participate in a terroristic attack on Times Square.  Yes, “innocent until proven guilty,” for sure—it’s the American way—we’ll see.  If the charges are true, then he’s guilty of more than terrorism.  He’s guilty of returning our welcome and our hospitality with rudeness and treachery.  It’s plain bad manners—this guy was not raised right.

  Being an American is exciting, wonderful, and a privilege.  A terrorist attack would be a hard return for being allowed in on it.  C


carla said...

One news story said that he admitted it. Reminds me of his fellow-terrorist that killed our heroes in uniform at Fort Hood. I think they join the military or get their citizenship in order to do these things. All part of their plan. Never were real Americans.

Debbie said...

I think we must have grown up together! All those phrases were so familiar to me! And I grew up on that food:)
Yes, I agree about the terrorist. Times have sure changed. People came here for centuries for a better life. Now they come to destroy the lives we have. Go fig!

Jenna said...

Great post! Ya know until about a year or so ago, I thought they were called "chester drawers." I always thought it was odd to call them chester drawers..I just thought maybe chester was the name of a style of furniture...ha! Chest of drawers does make more sense.

Ayak said...

You're right about the terrorist C. It's just awful to become a citizen, be welcomed, and then do this.
Strangely I was never very patriotic about England, but when I became a citizen of Turkey I suddenly found myself caught up in all the patriotism thing. I love the Turkish national anthem. It gives me goose bumps, but mostly because of the reaction to it. It doesn't matter where you are, if you hear it, everyone stops dead in their tracks...even traffic sometimes!
I always feel the Americans have the same sense of patriotism as the Turks...the British just don't have it...sadly.

Kathy's Klothesline said...


I still eat those foods today and love to crack open a freshly picked watermelon in the cool dawn air and eat until I can't. Ticks.....if you unscrew then counterclockwise you will get the whole thing out intact.

Yes ma'am and thank you so much.

Vickie said...

No mercy, no sympathy for this terrorist in my book. It's like trashin' my own home or harmin' my own family.

I grew up the same way you did, C, and my feet can still walk on gravel - now I don't have to wait on mama to tell me I can go barefooted - I do it all year long. My mammaw put a weekly rench on her hair and she also crocheted africans (afghans). My Nanny used to say, "if the good Lord made anything that tasted any better'n' -----, then He kept it for hisself." If you ask my daddy how's he doin' he still says, "fine as frogs' hair split four ways".

Ate your food, played your games, went to church and stayed outside at night til daddy whistled us in. There's no place like the USA, and no place like a home and family in the south! Excellent post, C!

www.immigrant daughter.blogspot.com said...

living many places I have to admit I love it here best. When people asked where are you from you talk funny. I say born in PA raised in NJ and lived many places in the USA, but like the "south" in Ark. best.

Queenmothermamaw said...

Loved your post on patriotism and immediately thought of the guy who you just discussed. It is unbelievable they ways they are probably embedded in this country. Love the south too. Blessings

Noni at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Well said, C. And, yes, you definitely have some Southern roots. =)

Tried your Mom's Chicken and Rice tonight with cheese on top! VERY good... and comforting! Thank you for posting it.

Suzanne said...

You forgot FRIED PICKLES!!

Can you imagine that my family has lived in the American south for over 240 years (yep, the first one arrived in Charleston in 1767) but they had the nerve to birth me and raise me in Chicago. The south is where I feel at home.

You thoughts on being an Amercan? WHOOO YAH. My friend is traveling to the Netherlands constantly on business and she reports that the thing that drives her nuts is that the Europeans do not have a "can-do" attitude. They all sit around and talk and talk until everyone reaches a consensus (if ever) and will not moved until such time. She just wants to jump up and get the job done herself. It's a cultural thing I guess. You just see so many people thankful beyond belief for the opportunities that we have. And those who think we don't should go spent some time in say.....Guatemala. Been there, saw oppression, glad to be home.

Anyone who has Netflix can add that movie to their queue.... I just did. I can't wait to see it.

Zuzana said...

I lived in North Carolina for almost a decade. I miss the humid heat more than anything. I miss the long hot summer and mild, short winters. I also miss the cikadas and the concert of crickets in the night.
And I also miss the people.;)

Zuzana said...

Oh yes and fireflies. Oh, don't I just miss the fireflies...

Paul C said...

Enjoyed this folksy look at American values and ways...As a Canadian our family loves to visit and now travel more through your wondrous regions.

Debbie said...

YOU RIDE 'EM, COWGIRL!!! My word verification below is 'irtabl'. Heck, yes, I'm irtabl (that's a good southern word and spelling!) over the same things you are. Those cotton pickers comin' over here and taking advantage of our freedom...What's wrong with them?!? We got a better thing goin' here that anybody else. And why does BHO want to change things to the worse? Huh? What a butthead! Loved the movie trailer...I'm in line already to see that! Yep, I'm irtabl!

Mamma has spoken said...

I agree the guy doesn't deserve all the benifits of being a USA citizen. My son in the army has been station in Afganistain and he says it's a mess over there. The guy should be glad that he and his family had the freedoms of the states. Now they'll be opressed over there while he sits in our jail, hopefully to rot.
Oh and I am a southern gal too! Love grits, have been know to say 'you was' 'warsh' and 'yall' every once in a while. Oh and of course the yes mame, and no mame, please and thank you.

jan said...

'Cat heads' is something new to me, but the image of chiggars is vivid. Trying to describe chiggars to someone who has never had them is hard. Anytime you start with "you can't see them", you know you have a tough sell...

Joy said...

Oh man, the food got me going. Especially the okra.

Robynn's Ravings said...


And I still here people say around these parts (and these parts are California but we have LOTS of old-timer transplants) that they need to "get their hair did." I love that one.


Jody Blue said...

So many of your southern things are also northern things...except for the okra and grits. Maybe its less southern or northern and more country life. It is so so saddening the events that are taking place and that this country that opens it arms to so may would then be attacked. God Blessed America for a reason, to be a light in the darkness!

joolzmac said...

You have chiggers and ticks - we have mozzies (mosquitoes) and blowies (blow-flies the size of a B52 bomber!). There's no way we'd leave a door or window open in summer or you'd get eaten alive. Not to mention our big spiders (Huntsmen) that drop by when you least expect them!
I agree on your sentiments about ther terrorist - we have them lined up waiting to get in to our country too.

Cheers - Joolz

Cheers - Joolz

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