Writer Sadie Henderson from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, considers what it would be like to enter her hometown as a visiting roommate during Thanksgiving. In a mock humor article, she presents a caricature of a city girl coming to a southern state.
Day 1 in the Deep South:
It is hot. It is muggy. I do not do hot and muggy. I do either “cool 70s with a nice fog” or “blazing mid-80’s while I can feel my skin crisping to a nice golden brown.” I stepped off that frigid airplane a hot two seconds ago, and it's since been a hot two seconds indeed. I am now sweating. I do not understand how people do this.
We are now driving two hours from the airport to my roommate’s house. Not two hours of awe-inspiring buildings and fancy statues to the soundtrack of Frank Sinatra, but two hours of pine trees, cows, and more pine trees. We are headed to the Pine Belt, the most southern region of one of the most southern state, Mississippi, where my roommate happens to live.
When my roommate shakes my shoulder to wake me up (because driving by all those pine trees had made me fall asleep), she tells me that we've arrived at what she calls the "greenest, most picturesque" camp. I think I start hearing bells faintly ringing in the distance.
Day 2 in the Deep South:
Confused. So confused. Everyone talks so slow. And they feel the need to share so much here. Why is it that every time I am introduced to someone, I end up being told their entire life story? And the life story of their significant other? It's as though every sentence starts with, "weeeell, honeyy, you know that mah daaaady taught me." Have they ever heard of the word efficient?
Day 3 in the Deep South:
My roommate just said, "yes ma'm," when talking to her mother. She told me I had to do the same otherwise people would be offended. “No ma’am, I do not want any iced tea today.” "Yes ma'm I love the blueberry pie." I really did like that blueberry pie though. They sure do know how to do food here. The second I walk into a house there is always somebody coming up to me, asking me if I would like something to eat. It might be humid, but in some ways, this temperature just emphasizes the warmth of this place. I'm starting to understand why Dorothy would go through such effort just to get back home again.
Day 4 in the Deep South:
Oh my gosh. I have never felt so happily fat. Wow. Southern food is no joke. And I do not understand how I lived this long without true, authentic fried chicken. The rolling pastures, the slowness of speech, the heat- it was all worth it. I feel like raising up my hands (if I could at all move) and proclaiming the victory of this moment. And in this moment, I felt complete.
Anything for you my beautifully breaded and fried chicken leg- and those other fried circle things -- what were they called again? Oh yes, HUSHPUPPIES. I understand now. I understand why people can live here. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Never let anyone tell you differently.