Southerners above the Mason-Dixon line apparently appear as aliens to those who live there. At first, we couldn’t figure out why people were looking at us as if we had 3 horns growing out of our head. Was it our amazing beauty :), 2 women alone, or my sister’s eye-catching white hair? Of course, my sister’s hair did draw some compliments and I observed more than a few people checking it out. For those of you who have never met Debbie, she is a former red-head who “grayed” early into this unique white hair color. It is totally natural and the envy of quite a few folks. Our paternal grandfather’s hair did exactly the same thing. Mine? Well, I pay for my hair color and it changes with the new moons!!! I’m still searching for the perfect color.
It didn’t actually take too very long for the “aha” moment to hit.
It was our southern drawl!!!!!!
To them, we talk funny. And a lot of them don’t mind pointing it out. Those New Yorker’s talk funny, but neither of us felt led to say that to them. Isn’t it interesting how we don’t hear the southern drawl in ourselves and among each other? And isn’t it also interesting that so many Northerners can’t wait to retire down South among us “southern hicks?” If you’re one of those Northerners, beware, for our accent is easily acquired. Before you know it, “y’all” will sound like us!!!!!!!!
I am proud to be southern, drawl and all.
Being avid readers of Amish novels, we were excited to see for ourselves some of the Amish culture. If you have a problem with the smell of horse poop, then you best stay home. It was extra warm there this past week (in the middle 90’s) and the heat just added to the smell. When we arrived and stepped out of the car, it was our welcome first breath. I guess you get used to it eventually just like our rural folks do with the hog, chicken, and turkey houses.
Our hotel room was situated on an Amish farm. When we drew back our curtains, we were greeted with a beautiful field of corn and alfalfa right outside our window. Some distance, maybe 1/4 mile back, was an Amish homestead. It was a breath-taking view!
The countryside there is somewhat hilly and the fields are tremendously large. The corn is huge and much of it is harvested by hand. We saw them cutting the stalks and piling them onto a wagon. I can’t imagine knowing I had to harvest that many acres of corn in that fashion! Somehow, I don’t think lazy and Amish can be used in the same sentence.
There is no way to explain the beauty of that area without seeing it for yourself. Pictures can’t begin to justify the miles of healthy crops and homesteads visible in one glance. The children were running and playing. The wash was hung on the lines in neat rows. The men were hard at work gathering the corn and feeding the animals. The women were running their errands in their horse-drawn buggies. It is like my daughter has always said about Cornhuskin’ at Meredith College, “you just have to experience it!”
In one of the shops down by the Bird-In-Hand Farmer’s Market, my southern drawl led Anna Mae to start a conversation with me as to where I live. Turns out, her husband was a barn builder by trade and had built several barns in the Durham area. As she was sharing that with me, she mentioned that he had died. Of course, being widowed myself, that gave us much in common. She will soon be leaving the home she and her husband shared just as I recently did. I was thrilled when she asked if we could exchange addresses and phone numbers. Emails weren’t an option! I plan to write her today and look forward to our “pen pal” type friendship. Who knows, one day she might want to come back down this way and can visit with me. God is answering my prayer to enlarge the border of my little world in interesting ways.
Since this is a blog about my journey as a widow, I will add this insight. As much as I love my sister and am thankful for her willingness and eagerness to spend so much time with me, I still miss Les. The first part of the week, we were the only people at breakfast that weren’t husband-wife. Many of the couples I saw out and about held hands as they shopped and strolled. That emptiness in my heart came to the forefront as I watched them. My sister and her husband, as they should have, texted and called one another multiple times while we were gone. I miss that so much. Not long after Les died and we were at the beach, I asked my brother-in-law to call me so I, too, could feel missed and loved. He did and it meant more than he knows. My dad fills much of the emptiness, but it’s still not the same. Those of you that are widowed or divorced and live alone understand exactly what I am saying. I could say things to Les I can’t say to anyone else. Les knew me better than anyone else and it was easier to take advice, reproof, and criticism from him because he understood and protected my heart. Now I have to try to work through many thoughts and issues on my own in the strength of the Lord. Sometimes that is quite a feat. Taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ can be a battle for sure. If you have a spouse, cherish them. Love them fully in spite of their warts and wrinkles.
It was a fun, but tiring week. Our 7 hour drive home took over 9 1/2. Interstate 95 is a zoo and that really worked on our nerves. Wendy Winchell, the name we gave to my navigation system voice, played a few tricks on us which added to the zoo and there was a car fire that backed up traffic for miles. Once we ever were able to exit off, we used that incident to travel some back roads and see some of the countryside. Thankfully, we finally made it home and in the words of Dorothy, as she clicked her ruby slippers, “there’s no place like home!”
Lots of love, Sharon