Monday, August 3, 2009

Deep South Part 1

“I think we might need to take our passports, because where we are going is a foreign country,” said my sister, Barbie. She always reads, researches, and plans our summer escapades. We were headed for the Deep South.
We didn’t need to learn the language because we were raised by a Southern M ama, and we know the lingo well. If the sentence ended in “Hear?” it meant, “and you’d best be doing what I say or I am going to go get me a switch off of that willow tree outside!”
I was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and it will take more than forty-two years in California to take the Southern out of me.
However. I am aware that the invasion by those rude Yankees is in the past and it is time to move on. This is not the case in the South. And I mean anywhere in the south.
There are precious few southerners who have forgiven those miserable yankees for what they did to them and their genteel way of life.

The “wawah” as it is simply called might just as well have happened last week.

You aren’t going to believe this, but while we were in a restaurant in South Carolina, I found a letter in the local newspaper where the writer was trying his best to justify slavery! He actually wrote, and the editor published:
“Raising people above their station of intelligence and ability was cruel to them!” I couldn’t believe it!
Barb was right. It was another world!

We landed at Raleigh-Durham, got our car, (which we drove over four thousand miles in the two weeks we had it.) and headed for our base in Conway, South Carolina.

We had read a book called Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz, just to get into the Southern mind set. It’s about Civil War re-enactors. We thought it was pretty funny as they are an intense bunch of people who live for this activity. Men who can “bloat” when they are “killed” on the pretend battlefield are in demand, for authenticity is paramount. If you aren’t authentic, you will be known as a “farb.”

We were so hoping to see some re-enactors.

Our first outing was a visit to Savannah, Georgia, where the warm air was so thick and heavy with humidity that we could almost see it. Be that as it may, I still give it my vote for the prettiest city in the world, and I’ve been to a lot of cities.
We visited Charleston, where they make the loveliest baskets from Low Country sweetgrass. You can’t get them anywhere else. (Except the Internet—look them up!) The basket making skill was brought from Africa and handed down through the generations. They are beautifully made and will last a lifetime.

Charleston has gorgeous old iron gates and gardens. Maybe it is the loveliest city in the world. (My proclamations about the Prettiest City in the World tend to vacillate.)

I did notice that even in the Catholic Church, the Stations of the Cross are in English instead of Latin. They don’t cotton to any foreign stuff in the Land of Grits and Kudzu.
Speaking of which, kudzu is a vine that grows prolifically there. If you park your car for too long, kudzu will grow over it and you may never see it again. I actually saw a satellite-dish-shaped kudzu bush on a kudzu-covered pole at one house. Guess the people who lived there went away for the weekend!

During that week we also visited Sullivan’s Island, Mount Pleasant, The Isle of Palms, Myrtle Beach, (Briefly. I’ve been to a beach.) Beaufort and Paris Island, and then Columbia, the capitol.

There is a statue of George Washington displayed on the steps of the capitol building. According to the iron plaque that was lovingly placed upon the base of it, the statue was beaten with a “brickbat,” (whatever that is) by those Yankee villains. They have chosen to leave it broken so they can be reminded of the indignities they suffered by the hands of the Yankee scoundrels.

In addition to this reminder, they did not repair the damaged places where that old reprobate, General Sherman, shot his cannon at their capitol for no reason! If that isn’t enough, they placed metal stars by each pockmark to call attention to them. (Lest they forget.)

And don’t even think of mentioning that criminal, Abe Lincoln, if you go there! I’ll tell you right here and now, I used my best Southern accent the whole time we were in Rebel Country.

You don’t want to be mistaken for a Yankee. You’d be better off being mistaken for a British person, and they aren’t too fond of them either!

They sure have some good food, though. We ate grits, fried okra and green tomatoes, biscuits and gravy, tons of barbeque, crab cakes, shrimp, crawdads, (aka, mud bugs), and we drank gallons of sweet tea. (aka, swait tay).

Those Low Country folks sure know how to eat!

Darn! No bloaters yet.
So we packed up and headed off to Virginia.
To be continued…


Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

That seems so bizarre that they could still radiate pre-war memories so effectively so many, many years later. I appreciate wanting to keep the culture, but the sentiments that belonged to them before the war seem like ones they should want to forget! Right?!?!?

mbkatc230 said...

Surely you know that not everyone in the South still harbors resentment over the "recent unpleasantness" lol. Confederates in The Attic is one of my favorite books ever, period, amen. I almost forgot about the "bloating" Thanks for making me giggle (again!) As my yankee husband constantly reminds me, the difference is that we keep our crazy relatives on the front porch to show off and say hey, and they keep theirs locked up lol! Hope you have a great trip. Kathy

Lori E said...

How about the French? I think they like the French don't they?
Any time I see photos of the beautiful old homes down there my heart "bloats". Fabulous.

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

I adore the south..It's been a few years since we've been to New Orleans.. and I know the devasation is still there in large parts.. but I truly fell in love with the area...
I'm not sure if cows and horses like the trumpet vine or not.. I did google it and started to read on it and then got detoured away..Looking forward to more about your trips...hugs ~lynne~

Lynn said...

I am sorry I don't know much about American history as we were not taught this in Britain where I went to school, I only know things through movies I guess. I am not much of a history buff either. I have seen beautiful Savanna on travel tv and it looks like an amazing place to visit. Glad you are having a great time :)

Housewife Savant said...

I'm enjoying your trip!
I SO love the south.

I want to move to the low country.
With my Pollack ways I'm pretty sure this Wisconsin girl will b-l-e-n-d, and my charming personality will soften 'em on the whole still-peeved-about-the-war thing.

I can' wait for your next post. Thanks for taking us along.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

No hiding where I'm from with my Brooklyn I do love the south.

Lori E said...

Thanks for the history lesson. Any photos I have seen of the area are very beautiful. Almost unreal.
I may go hungry there though as I don't eat shellfish. I had grits once (I thought it was Cream of Wheat cereal... "them's grits Honey" the waitress advised when I asked for some milk to pour on them)
Never had okra or green tomatoes.

Lori E said...

I went back to read the comments and see I already commented on this in 2009.