I love being from the south. Which is funny because I’m not really from the south at all. I’m not really “from” any where.
Nine years ago I was “from” Las Vegas. Four years before that, Pensacola (the first time). Prior to P’cola, I was a seventeen-year Texan. When I moved to Texas in 1977, I SWORE I would never utter the phrase “ya’ll.” No respectable Mile-Higher would ever say anything other than “you guys.” And before I became an Orange-Crush-Loving Bronco fan, I lived in an igloo in Alaska with a polar bear for a pet. At least that’s what my 4th-grade classmates thought at Aurora Elementary when I told them I had moved to Denver from Anchorage.
But even with all my “worldly” travels, I have spent the better part of my life in the south. Even Las Vegas qualifies (it’s just a smidge north of 36 degrees latitude). And I’ve absorbed a bit of each southern city I’ve had the privilege of calling home.
From Texas I learned strength and confidence, how to make tamales and love grits, and proper hat and boot etiquette. In Florida, I learned true southern hospitality, how to surf, and what a REAL beach should look like. And Vegas taught me I could be rough and dusty on the edges one day and glam it up like a rock star the next and not lose myself in the process. I’ve fully embraced the southern culture.
So even though I’m not really from the south, I call myself a southerner. The best part? My truly southern (born, raised, and never left) friends accept me as their own. It’s the southern way.