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.