Thursday, January 28, 2010

Looking Through My Father's Eyes

I really am a Southerner. I say this somewhat begrudgingly though. Not that this is a bad thing, its just that I hold my hometown of Chicago very near to my heart and I love my summer vacations there. I love my Northern family. I love the museums and Lake Michigan and Portillos. I love deep dish pizza and thin crust pizza, Wrigley Field, Schubas and all of the fests. So even though I have lived in the south since I was eight years old, I have never truly admitted my southerness....out loud and on the internet. How's that for a coming out party? Now granted, there have been times over the past 24 years that I thought well, maybe I am Southern. Like when I began calling a shopping cart a buggy. Or when I write my check to pay the power bill instead of the electric bill. Or the time I mentioned to my father that I had stopped by the package store and he had no idea that I meant the liquor store. I have been known to throw around words like ain't or fixin, y'all and I do enjoy eating grits and collard greens and fried okra. I have been known to sing a little "Devil Went Down to Georgia". In the days of my youth, I was not opposed to goin muddin, skipping school to spend the day at the dam and I know that in order to throw any sort of a party in the fall one must first consult the SEC schedule and plan accordingly. And of course, there was the summer when I first started listening to Jimmy Buffet and none of my northern cousins had any idea who I was talking about and thought that it was a form of country music and turned their nose up at it. (That might have simply been them, not a north v. south type thing.)

Point is, I love the South. I have adjusted quite nicely to the southern way of life. I married an Athens local. My children are most definitely Southerners and well, this is my life. In the South.

Now, to take it a step further. I no longer live in the metro Atlanta area. I live in the country. I live in a place where by the time the girls were 3 years old they knew the difference between a barn and a chicken house. I am quite used to seeing trailers for houses and kudzu growing over the power poles. But today, as I was driving back to my school from a meeting at another school, I started looking at the area as if I were looking through my father's eyes. His Yankee, son of Italian immigrant, eyes, and realized that while I have adjusted, this place would be culture shock to him. I made this realization as I passed by a large warehouse building with a green roof and in really large letters on the front of the building was the name of the store, "Dave's Goody Barn." I can only imagine what might be inside such a large "goody barn." And I can only imagine what my father's reaction would be to seeing "Dave's Goody Barn." I don't think it would be good.

1 comment:

molly said...

oh,Trust me, the midwest has their own version of "country" that I'm sure your dad has seen and chuckled about. there are things about the south that i will never get used to like the ultra religiousness factor, but one thing that is great about the south that i didn't notice in Chicago is that everyone is so much more open here, more friendly, more willing to get to know you. I think this is something that we should be proud of... we're friendly "folk."