I am proud to be a Southerner. I am proud that my Mama raised me to have manners. She also raised me to be strong-willed and resilient. There’s an art to being a Southerner. You can be nice or at least display manners while giving a good dig. (Passive aggressiveness at its best.) We can bless your heart and make you wonder if it’s a blessing or a curse. And that all depends on the tone of voice. You have to be clever around Southerners. Pay attention to what we say and what we don’t say.
Another thing I am extremely proud of is my hometown. I am from Huntsville, Alabama. The Rocket City. I saw on National Geographic’s website a great homage to my hometown…Rocket City Rednecks. I got teary-eyed viewing the page. That’s where I am from. I worked at Marshall Space Flight Center and met some of the nicest people in the world there. I met people who made history. It was amazing. So for all the people who like to make jokes about how stupid Southerners are, maybe you need to come on to Huntsville and see where the United States of America’s space program was born. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/rocket-city-rednecks/producer-blog/welcome-to-the-rocket-city/
I also love the food of the South. Sorry but biscuits and gravy are absolutely heaven! I like some fried chicken. I love barbecue and some hot vinegar barbecue sauce. I also love some white barbecue sauce which I have only seen in Huntsville, Alabama. Dip a hushpuppy in that and you will be a quiet and happy puppy!
There are other areas of the South that are quite beautiful as well. I currently live in Asheville, North Carolina and it is gorgeous. There is a charm and beauty here that is unrivaled. The art scene here is magnificent. I think our art could stand up to any of the major cities.
You have to experience the South to “get it.” And that doesn’t mean coming down South with a snotty attitude or thinking you’re better because that is when a Southerner will give you hell. As nice as we can be, we can also be that ornery.
I have lived in other areas and couldn’t wait to get below the Mason Dixon. I needed the drawls and sweet tea and grits. I can’t survive without hearing “y’all” at least once during the day. I need these things like I need air.
Thanks, National Geographic, for bringing me closer to “home.”