Hey there darlin’,
I’ve been in the south long enough now that I’ve become accustomed to the hospitality and general kindness shown by strangers that drew me here in the first place. Just the other day, I was at the deli counter at Kroger ordering honey maple turkey and Swiss cheese and the lovely elderly worker behind the counter engaged me in conversation the entire time she sliced my deli items with motherly care. We talked about the weather because that’s what you do in the south. She asked me what was going on out there because we were due for some inclement weather. I told her it was cold and raw and rainy and she informed me that we were to get snow later in the evening and maybe some ice. This was just one day after it was a lovely 70 degrees and sunny. We chatted about how we’d like to be somewhere tropical when the weather turns sour. As she handed me my food, she looked me in the eye with genuine concern and said, “Now, you be real careful out there. Alright, honey?” I replied, “Yes, ma’am. You do the same.” It’s nice when strangers care about your well-being.
This is just one of many instances of southern civility that occur on a daily basis in my life. I was talking to one of my clients a little while back as we were completing an install at her condo here in Nashville. She is from the Northeast and lives in New Jersey so we have a lot in common and often talk about the differences between the North and South. She said although she loves the variety and all the Northeast has to offer, she is always struck by the warmth of southern people. We were talking about going to the drugstore or grocery and how people hold doors, smile and actually talk to you, not at you. I mentioned how I had been at T.J. Maxx the other day and instead of a surly “Here’s your receipt,” as I checked out, I got a cheerful, “Thank you. Come back and see us!” My client smiled and said she hears that a lot here, too. We both paused for a moment, looked back at each other, and at the same time said, “And they actually mean it!”
I think non-southerners are catching on to this and flocking to the south. The secret is out! I stumbled upon this article one of my friends shared on facebook. I’m glad to know that other people appreciate the ways of the south like I do!
Y’all come back! (I mean it!)