Friday, May 7, 2010

Southern State of Mind

This post comes to you from Jackson, Mississippi.  I'm actually on vacation this week - and it's weird, being on vacation.  On one hand, it's been easy to detach myself.  But on the other, I feel kind of bored - and missing the beach.  I really need to make it to a beach this summer.

BUT I love being here in Mississippi.  It's a part of me.  As soon as I walked into my aunt's home and then my gram's home, I felt like "I'm home...this is me."  I think part of it is the fact that my taste and style is so influenced by my Southern roots.  I love decorating, but there is a distinct way that I like to decorate (I'm not one to copy a catalog's pictures) - and it is matched by the decor in my Gram and Aunt's home (and of course my Mom's).  It just is so fun and reassuring to see your own taste reflected in someone else's home.

I love being here!  I have probably said the word "Cute" at least a hundred times already, but being here dictates that compliments and praising of each other's outfits, decor, jewelry, hair and/or any piece of the surrounding area that the conversation is taking place requires that it be commented on and declared "Cute".  It is common courtesy and in fact, it might be taken as a slight if nothing is said.

I love being here - I love getting to talk with my 93-year old Great Grandmother about what happened that night on "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" and treasuring every moment, no matter how mundane, of being in her presence.  I love that she has had her white Cadillac for twelve years and only has put 40,000 miles on it.  Sharp as a tack, completing the daily crossword and commenting on your mistakes that you've made on the puzzle if you haven't figured it out yet, she is a delight to be around.  The history that she's lived through, the things she's seen - it is a wealth of immeasurable treasure.

It's a part of me - I come from a strong stock of women.  This past Sunday, my mom told me a piece of my early history that I had never known before.  My dad was in the Marines when I was born - and both of my parents were young.  My mom was only 24 when she had me.  And almost a week after I was born, my dad had to ship off to Panama for 10 weeks.  During those 10 weeks she lived with her parents in Maryland.  When my dad got back from his cruise, he was home for a couple of weeks, during which time my Granddad, my mom's dad, passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  And then my mom had to endure my dad shipping off again shortly after that.  I don't know how she had the strength to endure taking care of me without my dad, mourn the sudden loss of her own father, comfort her grieving mother, all without the support of my dad - but she did.  And when I'm around my Gram, my Great-Grandmother, and Aunt, I realize where she got that strength - and that strength and force of personality is within me too.

I love the idiosyncrasies of being here in Mississippi, the deep South.  I love how my latent Southern accent comes back when I'm here.  Cooking, gardening, decorating, styling - it's the South and it's a part of me.  I love being here.

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