By CANDACE ROBERTS
There was a time in my life where everything was simple. When I was a young child, still small enough to sit in a chair and be able to swing my feet; I would always sit on my Great Grandmother’s porch in one of her rocking chairs and read. Each time, after only a few minutes, Ma (pronounced Mm-uh), would come out and join me. This one day I noticed that every time a car drove pass the house, she would wave. The person driving would blow their horn and if they had others in the car they all would wave. Every now and then one would yell out a greeting. I said, “Ma, do you really know all these people?” She looked at me as if she wanted to laugh. She said, “No, but it is polite to wave.” This was my first lesson on Southern Hospitality.
Over a decade later, at age 22, I moved to Maryland with one of my Aunts and her family. My first morning there I went for a walk. As I ran into people on the way I would greet them. Each one would hesitate first and then manage to greet me back. They looked shocked, perhaps astonished by my kindness. One thing was for sure, I wasn’t in North Carolina anymore. Where I was from, everyone would chat with strangers, as if they had already known them for years or had run into an old friend.
This wasn’t my first time outside of the South. I was born in Maryland and raised in North Carolina. I spent many summers on Long Island, New York and in New York City. New York has its share of friendly people, but of course everyone is busy and rushing to get somewhere. Nevertheless, New York is still one of my favorite places to visit. Although, it’s nothing like living in the South; plenty of great food, cheap housing, beaches and lots of friendly folks.
I have been to many states in the South. Everything really is bigger in Texas, nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning, Georgia is the Empire State of the South, Tennessee is rich in history, and Alabama is really the Heart of Dixie!