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Summers Down South, A Retrospective

Spending my summers down south as a child…

My cousins: Felicia, Sherry, Melissa and Lisa

I went barefoot and felt the earth under my feet and the dirt between my toes,

I swung from a tree swing in my Grandma’s front yard,

and I experienced the free-ness of walking through unmarked dirt paths with cousins and friends.

I learned…

About tobacco fields from my Uncle Aaron, and then how to sprint like a gazelle as to not get whipped by Uncle Aaron for playing in his tobacco fields.

I also learned that…

  • I can see in the pitch blackness of night,

  • people raise livestock and cultivate crops in their back yards (that accounts for the God-awful smell),

  • not every street has a side walk or light, and that’s okay,

  • not all roads are paved, and that’s okay, too,

  • most stores shut down at night; correction – mostly everything shuts down at night,

Three generations say "Cheese."

  • Piggly Wiggly is the major supermarket and I shouldn’t laugh (out loud) about that,

  • there are no local buses or trains to speak of (a bit weird and inconvenient, but still okay),

  • people slaughter and prepare their own food; and yes, that includes the food you’ve just eaten,

  • most of the town is my relative in some way or another,

  • I will not die from ingesting food that a fly has repeatedly landed upon, and

  • I am actually the one with the funny accent.

There's nothing like an old-fashioned fish fry!

Another important lesson learned was how to survive the 9 hour drive necessary to get my brothers and I to North Carolina.

Oh yes, that long and arduous journey: sitting on Momma’s lap in the front seat with out a seat belt, which seamed to impose no health threat at all.  Eating the fried chicken and chocolate cake momma made for our trip.  Sleeping while sitting Indian-style on the floor in the back of Dad’s Cadillac with the bottom of the seat (my pillow) plastered to my face.  Stopping on the interstate to potty on the side of the road because our tiny bladders couldn’t make it to the next rest stop.

But the best part of the long and drawn out trip was passing truckers so that my brothers and I could get their attention and make a certain repeated arm/hand gesture (moving our bended arms up and down with clenched fist as if we were tugging on a trains horn): a universal symbol to request that a trucker honk his horn; and they almost always did to our extreme amazement and delight.  (Such little niceties make a kid’s world go round.)

Getting out of the city and going south for the summer opened up my world; not to sophistication, but to simplicity, and to a pace of life that was soothing to the soul.

Today, I’m amazed at how the things that this city slicker thought was so weird about life down south is so comforting to me now, and I’m yearning for, and running towards that lifestyle more and more everyday – minus the stinky livestock in the back yards.  {Smile}

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Comments

  1. Hi Cuz!

    I wanted to say hi! I’m sorry I missed the family cookout in NC this year… The pictures and your comments are great! I was in Pinetops last weekend I went to the Piggly Wiggly! I saw your mom & dad enjoying the backyard of their home in NC, they were watering the beautiful plants. I enjoyed reading all about your Welcome Home Family Life Ministry! That is GREAT, to GOD be the glory! When are you coming to PA to see me?

    Take care!
    Cousin Jackie

    • Hey Cuz! I’m soooo glad you stopped by!

      I couldn’t believe you weren’t there, you were soooo missed! But I totally understood. I hope you enjoyed your reunion. yes, I should be seeing you more often seeing that we are “only” three hours apart. Oh well, I hope to make it to visit you one day – soon! 🙂

      Love you sooooo much, cuz.

    • Oh, my! How I would love nothing more than that – to send my kids off for the summer! 🙂

      Turns out that they’d have no where to go. All my cousins (the ladies) are working (funny that the ladies are the only ones that take care of kids). And my paternal grandmother has passed on. So, there’s no one to watch them during the day. However, my parents, who are both retired, just brought a summer home down south. I’ve got secret plans to send them there next summer whether my mom likes it or not (and she won’t because she’s one of those always out thrift shopping retirees). The surprise will be on her! (Or perhaps on me when they are expressed back North?) Until then, my kids will sadly wear the title: “extreme city slicker.”

  2. Tiff,

    What a GREAT web-site, I have truly enjoyed visiting it. Can’t wait to see what you do next.

    Hell-o to the family.

    Aunt Jackie

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