How Did I Get Here?
“I wasn’t born in the South, but I got here as quick as I could.” (Read it out loud with a smile and a flutter of the eyelashes.)
Don’t you think that sounds friendlier than “I come from the same state as Grant and Sherman -- deal with it.”?
I am a northerner by birth – in fact a Buckeye, from the Great State of Ohio -- who now lives in the South. Not just the South, but in Georgia south of the gnat line. If you’ve ever been south of the gnat line in the late spring or early summer, you know what that means. (If you haven’t, count your blessings, and fear not. I’ll be talking about bugs in another blog post.)
Funny thing is, the move to Georgia was a move north for me. I lived in Florida for a while first. My husband likes to tell people I left fingernail marks all the way down I-75 when we moved to Florida, but that's not true. My nails never were that strong. They were worn down to the quick by the time we got to Cincinnati.
Did you know it's possible to move farther south by moving north? It’s a geographic fact that Florida is south of Georgia, but most people don't consider Florida the real South. When you’re in Florida, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore, so to speak. Sandy soil, Saint Augustine grass, and palmettos do not look like a northern landscape, even when you squint. But there are too many Yankees in Florida. Read just about any Florida restaurant menu, and you’ll know what I mean. Food items you typically don’t see south of the Mason-Dixon Line can be had in many-a Florida restaurant. If you want to learn what the South is like, Georgia is a better place to start.
As the bluesman wrote, “I been down so long it seems like up to me.” After living nine years in Florida, the terrain and flora in Middle Georgia looked a lot more northern by comparison. The thought of moving north gladdened my heart, and though I would miss the beautiful Florida beaches, I was happy to be Georgia bound.
That’s a lie. I was nervous about moving. I thought all the women in Georgia were always stylishly coiffured, kept their nails polished, and were just all-around perfect. My hair only obeys me on pain of daily electrocution (with a curling iron). I can’t seem to keep my nails all the same length, let alone painted pretty colors. And I prefer Pepsi. That's right, Pepsi Cola! I was worried I wouldn’t fit in, in the land where Coke was born.
It’s been almost 14 years, and I still don’t quite fit in. But there's a lot to like in Georgia.
Looks like I'll be staying a while.