Thursday, May 13, 2010

Honeysuckle On My Mind

Back when we lived in Illinois, we were visiting in Tennessee one early summer. After spending the evening at a friend's house, Mike and I were driving the back roads between Lenoir City and Kingston. The windows were down and the night time breeze through the window was warm, not chilly like the night time air in Illinois. But even better than the warmth was the sweet smell of honeysuckle. Oh my. That smell, that night, began my love affair with the South.
Yes, I was raised in the South. Yes, Mama is from Georgia and Daddy is from North Carolina. It was just who I was, where I was from. I even got upset with people up north who seemed obsessed with the South. They'd come down here on vacation and then rave to me about it. "Oh, how could you have left it? The mountains, the politeness, the coasts." Then I'd proceed to tell them the things I knew were wrong about the South. And in my reading group, it seemed every other book was fixated on the South. Give me a break! I'd say, "It's just another part of the country, for crying out loud!"
And then that night with the honeysuckle and I fell in love with all of it. Deep, because I already knew it and it resided inside me. It wasn't love at first sight, it was love at long last.
Last night driving home from dinner at dusk, we were coming down roads laden with honeysuckle. My window was down and my head was stuck out the window like a big old dog. I couldn't get enough of it. Mike laughed (oh, yeah, I wasn't driving) and he said, "I feel a blog coming on." I said, "No, people have got to be sick with my ravings about the South."
But when I sat down this morning all I could think about was that honeysuckle.
Oh well, I had good intentions, but the honeysuckle made me forget them.
And that's another reason why I love the South.


Jfer said...

I don't know too many people who love The South like I do. It is home. It is a part of my soul and my very being. I'll share something that's framed and hanging above my fireplace. I found this at Cracker Barrel about 12 years ago and it's always had a place of honor in our house. It reads:

"The South is a land that has known sorrows---it is a land that has broken the ashen crust and moistened it with tears---a land scarred and riven by the plowshares of war and billowed with the graves of her dead.......but a land of legend---a land of song---a land of hallowed and heroic memories.

To that land every drop of my blood, every fibre of my being, every pulsation of my heart is consecrated forever.

I was born of her womb---I was nurtured at her breast---and when my last hour shall come, I pray God that I may be pillowed on her bosom and rocked to sleep within her tender and encircling arms."

By Edward Ward Carmack

When I say I'm Southern, I don't mean it casually. It's *in* me.

Beautifully written, Kay. : )

Anonymous said...

NICE! I'm not from the south, so write on about the south!! :-)

Sounds fantastic.

Kay Dew Shostak said...

Wow - I love that, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing it. Got to save it. And as always, thanks for your encouragement - your's too, Lynn!