I’d be lying if I told you I drink sweet tea out of Mason jars. Or feel comfortable driving a pick up truck. My backyard never did have a tire swing. And I can honestly say I don’t own a single a pair of cowboy boots and certainly wouldn’t know the first thing to do with a teasing comb. Most folks don’t even detect that faint Georgia accent in my voice except on select words like sugar, maybe, and Marietta.
But the South has crept into me in others ways. In twilights spent chasing fireflies. In the sound of fresh-picked blueberries falling in yellow plastic buckets and the smell of boiled peanuts from a roadside stand. In rainy tin roof lullabies. In over-yonder and reckon-so and I-do-declare.
And the South taught me a thing or two. Like how to catch a tadpole. Or how to flirt with boys. What side of the plate the fork goes on. And which vegetables are best for frying. It taught me important contractions like fixin’to and all-y’all. And when it’s okay to wear white shoes.
But it was while buried in the South’s endless summers and darting beneath her falling leaves and scalding every last taste bud with hot cocoa and waiting for the jonquils to bloom… it was in the South that I found my voice.
And realized all that I could be.
(Image source: CarolinaBlues on Tumblr)