Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Through the Eyes of a Yank

I love the drive to North Carolina. It is almost a tangible feeling when the 'south begins', and it happens closer than most Notherners would think. I can almost pinpoint it to somewhere around Smyrna, Delaware.
Beyond Smyrna the business signs are mostly hand-painted.
"Jackie's Hair Hut" (complete with silver stars that dot the i's)
"Melvin's Pool Room"
"Salisbury Beauty Supply"
The types of restaurants change from "Fridays" to "Fomy's Barbecue Pit"
The businesses even change as John Deere stores and Harley shops begin to line the road.
The thing that stands out the most for me is the unabashed declarations of faith:
"Redemption Auto Repair"
"Christ's Cleaners"
"Christian Diner"
Actual Billboards that proclaim:
"Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light"
"One Nation Under God"
"Trust in God Alone"
These are not urban images...God does not live openly in Philadelphia...
Another image that is plain for all to see, but that is virtually non-existent in Philadelphia is the amount of Bush/Cheney, W '04 and various other pro-Bush signs and stickers ...so strange -refreshing, but strange...
Nature takes on new meaning as stretches of land grow larger -and greener. Corn fields pepper the large expanses -all equipped with giant sprinkler systems...
I love watching this transformation. I have been making this journey for over 15 years and it never ceases to amaze me.
Traveling down Route 13S, you almost have to believe John Edwards' proclamation about the reality of two Americas. In Virginia there seems to be only two living situations. Sprawling plantation-style homes on rolling acres complete with wrap-around porches and silos --or --small mobile/modular homes that are barley larger than the sheds that many in Philly have in their back yards to store lawn mowers. (Though in defense of the 'plantation' owners --we looked at a house while we were in NC that was on ELEVEN acres and was going for $199,000...so it would seem that you don't have to be rich to own that much land).
The Outer Banks itself is probably not indicative of inland Southern living --OBX benefits immensely from 'renter taxes' and boasts some of the best schools in the south. The homes are all big, beautiful and outrageously overpriced. I love the surf shops, the HUSH PUPPIES, the giant sand dunes, the shells that you can find on the beach before dawn and the 'realness' of the locals.
My stress fades away there --it's not just the fuschia sunsets over the Currituck Sound, or the dolphins and pelicans racing over the waves in Corolla...it's the pace of life there...Slower and laid back. Road rage virtually non-existent. It is hard to get used to at first and sometimes I catch myself in big-city-mode wanting everyone to hurry up. It was also hard to get used to the fact that everyone talks to you -at first you awkwardly say hello back and unconsciously grip your purse. Now I love meeting the variety of people that North Carolina has to offer, and look forward to conversations that quickly lead to each person's 'story'.
I know many Northerners snub the south --I have had the rare pleasure of being able to love both worlds... This trip was too quick and I can't wait until the end of September when we go back for a week or two.
When I am here- I can't imagine living anywhere else, but as soon as I cross the Wright Memorial Bridge-I wonder what keeps me in the urban jungle...

10 comments:

this we'll defend said...

Yes, it is true that you and I don't agree on politics. I still think you should hear me out on this: you have completely kicked Moby's ass so bad that he would rather hang out with Eminem & Triumph the insult dog, so quit being "Moby Rebuttal." How about "Blonde & Brainy" or something (preferably less cheesy than my suggestion)? Moby rebuttal doesn't fit anymore and doesn't do your blog justice.

justrose said...

You're right that God doesn't live openly in Philadephia, apart from the lawn shrines to the Blessed Mother (I know you find them questionable.) That's such an interesting notion. Sometimes I feel like an underground Christian here, like I either have to hide it or defend it.

ALa said...

TWD: It's funny that you mention this because I was actually thinking about that this weekend --that I should have never even used his silly name (in any context)...but wasn't sure if I should change it at this point as it is already linked as such...I must ponder the possibilities...

Tammi said...

Make the change, we'll update the links. Piece of cake.

I moved to Florida from Chicago. But I didn't go to the major urban areas at first. I settled in a little beach town for the very reasons you mention. Laid back, sower pace, killer sunsets. I needed to regroup, heal, find myself (as corney as that sounds). Due to work, I'm now in Orlando, but not really. I'm out in the open. Oh I live in a subdivision, but it's all orange groves around me. My post office is 15 miles away in a small town where you see the real south.

I still enjoy going north every now and again. I love the hustle and bustle, but I need the quiet and slow pace. It's funny because the longer I live here, the more like a "tourist" I feel when I head back to Chicago. Last time I even caught myself gaping at the tall buildings when I came out of the train station. And I worked downtown for 6 years!!

I'm glad you get to enjoy both sides of the coin.

Tammi said...

Popped back over to see what conversation you got going, saw the name change and WHAM, blogroll updated.

Just that simple!!

ALa said...

Thanks Tammi -I just didn't want little ol' me causin' any trouble...
I didn't realize that you were in Orlando (until your wedding post). My Grandmom and my husband's mom both live in FL (Grandmom in Summerfield and His Mom in Hollywood). We want to take the boys to 'Nature's Cove' and hang with the dolphins, but I think we should wait until they are older and will actually remember it... I have never seen an orange grove...another thing to add to 'the list'...

RBP said...

Everyone loves the dirty south. (Don't they?)
A conservative mommy who likes the south and listens to Pantera can't be all bad.

justrose said...

Please tell me that car in the picture isn't real.

ALa said...

Oh it's real...redneck limo baby... Doesn't that rock!

~Jen~ said...

I love the new name!!!

Did you guys see that someone named "CBFTW's Wife" posted in his comments?