First of all, by “Southern”, I mean those who are either from the Southern states of the USA, or they have relatives there. I found this quote to explain…
“More than any other part of America, the South stands apart. Thousands of Northerners and foreigners have migrated to it … but Southerners they will not become. For this is still a place where you must have either been born or have ‘people’ there, to feel it is your native ground. “Natives will tell you this. They are proud to be Americans, but they are also proud to be Virginians, South Carolinians, Tennesseeans, Mississippians and Texans. But they are conscious of another loyalty too, one that transcends the usual ties of national patriotism and state pride. It is a loyalty to a place where habits are strong and memories are long. If those memories could speak, they would tell stories of a region powerfully shaped by its history and determined to pass it on to future generations.”
— Tim Jacobson, Heritage of the South
That’s a great quote, but I’m a little upset that Mr. Jacobson didn’t include Alabama in that list. Nevertheless, the concept remains.
Many people look at the South and think racism, marrying relatives, or uneducated. Well, let me just say that those are ignorant stereotypes, and in the South, you can find many of the most kind hearted, friendly and down to Earth people that you’d ever want to meet. Of course, there’s the occasional radical that stirs things up and commits atrocities, but isn’t that the case everywhere you go?
I’ve lived in the Middle East for more than 20 years, but part of my heart will always be in the South, and here’s why…
Being from the old South and raised in proper Southern ways means that you still believe in a genteel way, a way that communicates your appreciation for beauty, generosity, being a good neighbor, and a devotion to God and the land that you’re standing on. It means smiling at a stranger and saying, “Hi”, or holding the door open for someone, helping a stranger with heavy bags or telling a joke to make everyone feel relaxed.
It also means dressing up no matter where you go, even if it’s just to the supermarket. My Southern “lady” grandma taught me that. She said that the very day that I decide to go in my sweat pants to the supermarket is the day that the Mayor will be there, or TV crews will be doing a story about the high prices. She taught me to look my best all the time. Sometimes I look around today and wonder if anyone else got that memo.
She taught me how to eat with my mouth closed and walk like a lady. She said that a lady or a gentleman should eat and walk with no sound at all. Until now, I hate the sound of dragging or sliding feet.
Most of all, she taught me devotion to family, and that family sticks together no matter what. I’ve passed on a great deal of my “Southernness” to my kids, and I’m proud of that. I may wear a hijab now and I live in a place that I have to miss the sight of open land and clear blue skies, but the best of the South is within me, and that’s been passed on. So, on that note, Y’all have a great day, and come back and see us soon, Ya hear? 🙂
Oh, and don’t forget that you can enjoy my book, Desert Magnolia in both print and as an Ebook via many online stores such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, via http://www.bluejinnimedia.com