I firmly believe, in my opinion, we still live in somewhat of a “state” of civil war in this country. Whether you look at it politically or from a personal point of view it still exists. Thankfully not for the same reasons from history but I can firmly attest to this seeing how I have lived in both places within the last 3 years during the most divided and tumultuous time we’ve seen in recent history.
Everyone who is from the North usually wants to migrate South. They want the sunshine and no more snow. Understandable. We wanted the same thing. We were tired of 6+ months of grueling winter and wanted sun and warmth for the majority of the year. We had family in Tennessee and Kentucky who we would often visit and we always said.. if we had the opportunity to move down there…we were going!!
Well… there came that opportunity. My husband’s company was building a new plant about an hour south of Nashville. Wahooooo!!! Sold!!! We are in!
Long story short, we made it happen. Sold our house, packed it all up and happily migrated South!
Our 2 oldest, boys, were grown and on their own, our oldest daughter was in college, and our youngest, 10 at the time was migrating with us. We were worried about her adjusting and leaving all her friends and her siblings but turns out she adjusted better than we’d ever imagined.
After about a year and a half, our daughter was happy as a clam but we started to feel a little isolated. I felt as if we should have had more friends and social activity by this point, but nothing seemed to want to materialize. My husband had his friends at work but on a personal level we really were not connecting with the people in the community. We were considered “Yankees” LOL and didn’t grow up there so we were kind of put in another category. People were kind and friendly, but kept their distance other than that.
Then our life took a swift turn. My husband became very ill and almost died.. twice. Had a pretty lengthy hospital stay and a very long recovery. And, during this tragic time in our lives we made a huge discovery… when southern people show their true colors…it is a sight to see!
I was enjoying the Christian tone of things down south. Prayer is everywhere. Before and after sporting events, at every meal, and no one cares if it’s politically correct or not. It’s a wonderful feeling…. being a Christian and being able to live it freely without feeling like you are offending someone…. for it to be a collective belief among the whole community and to feel it in the air. When my husband was being life flighted to Nashville the paramedics very sweetly asked me if they could hold my hand and pray over him before the flight. WOW… I was so taken aback by that. It was exactly what I needed and it gave me peace. I had never seen or heard of that happening anywhere up North.
And as our daughter started playing sports you could see it and feel it there as well. At the end of every game both teams form a circle, hold hands and pray. At EVERY sporting event. It is an amazing sight. Up North I had only seen that happen during events at a few Christian private schools.
We thought we didn’t have friends…but we were dead WRONG. During my husband’s illness we never felt so cared for and supported. We had no family close by and they all stepped in and took over. We will forever be grateful. I don’t care what you needed they made sure you had it. And all the Mom’s stepped up and were surrogates for me so I could be with my husband. I never worried for a moment, they had it all covered.
And on a lighter more humorous note, guns and speeding are a must in the South. Speed limit signs are basically a waste of tax payers money and if you don’t have a gun or even numerous guns you are considered some type of alien from Mars. If you aren’t at least going 20 over the speed limit you will be run off the road and pretty much anything can be made better with a good gun story…. or better yet…a good day of huntin’!! 🙂
We just adored the respect among the youth as well. The “yes sir” and “yes ma’am” you always hear about… is completely true. And I loved it! It never made me feel old or offended AT ALL. It was about respect and you felt it. Even grown men addressed all women that way. Sure felt good to be treated like a lady and the men were never afraid of a woman saying “Who you callin Ma’am?????!!!”
And believe it or not, the schools are more strict and you can clearly see the results of it. The dress codes are much more conservative (absolutely no leggings or yoga pants) and they still use corporal punishment. A student there would never even THINK of disrespecting a teacher, verbally or otherwise, or they would instantly be in detention. Our kids need this, especially nowadays. The North could definitely take a page out of this playbook
So, basically, Southern people can be a hard sell at first, but once they let you in it is a privilege to know them, and to experience the wonder and uniqueness of who they are and how they give.
As we started to meld with our new friends and become a more comfortable part of the community we realized that between my husbands job changing (not in a good way) his health being what it was and it becoming more and more difficult to travel back and forth to see our kids and grandson that it was time to look at moving back home.
Of course, we had lived there long enough that now, moving would be hard, especially on our daughter…who had by now really settled in and was very happy. But, when my husband was recruited for a job back home, we couldn’t pass it up. And, again, we sold the house, packed it up, and hauled it back up North… (I mean up yonder 🙂 )
During our time down South, there were many things we actually did miss from the North. You would be astonished to know that when you have been raised in the North you actually miss the snow and the dreary days. I know.. crazy right? But, there are just times when you long for a dreary day to clean your house or watch Netflix… or a snowstorm to watch out the window and snuggle up to in your warm house. A cold day where you make a huge pot of chili and watch football. It stayed hot in Tennessee until literally Nov/Dec and it never felt like Fall. That always made me sad because that it my favorite time of the year. In the entire time we were there I never pulled out a winter coat, gloves, or boots. It did get cold sometimes but only for a day or two at a time. And, yes, I know you must think I’m crazy for even saying these things but I wouldn’t have believed it either! *** Below is my favorite pumpkin patch in Ohio *** So green and beautiful 🙂
We missed how GREEN everything is up North. The grass and the trees…just so vibrant. Not burnt and brown and dry from the heat.
We missed the adult social scene. Couples don’t socialize much down South outside of their kid’s events. There is nothing wrong with that if that’s what you are used to but it took us a while to accept. Towards the end of our time there I was working on some of the ladies and trying to show them how important it is to have friend and lady time without your children once-in-a-while. I had a ladies night and they loved it and realized they needed to do it more. I hope it stuck and that they continue it. 🙂 And btw… they were a lot of fun and a little crazy!!! Who knew?? 😉
I also missed the strong history of professional sports (football, baseball, basketball). I could be wrong, but in Tennessee, at least I noticed, that College and High School sports are bigger than pro sports. NASCAR is soooooo big down there too. I am from Cleveland so we have a rich LOYAL history with pro sports that is second to none. It’s like an unspoken bond we all have there. AND OF COURSE when we move away the Indians go to the World Series and the Cavs win their first title! We stood in front of the tv and wept. That’s how deep it goes. So we ended up spending a fortune on MLB TV just to watch all the Indians games. 🙂
So, even with all the differences that divide the North and South, Republican and Democrat, etc etc… If we take the time to EXPERIENCE both sides and see the whole picture we can learn to appreciate each other and our vast differences….we can see that those differences can actually bring us closer if we are just accepting of them. I am a better person because I lived in the South and part of me yearns to return. I think when we come together we compliment each other.. opposites attract.. its pieces to a puzzle. Even though all the pieces are different when they come together, they make a beautiful thing. We all just have to be open to doing it. Thanks for listening and y’all have a nice day! 🙂 🙂 *** Ooooo and let’s not forget the perk of living near Nashville… when you get to meet Luke Bryan at a softball tournament….just because he was THERE!!! OMG! My daughter will never be the same 🙂 😉 🙂
Written with love by:
Char Head 🙂