And I love the country music

This morning I’m wearing a tee-shirt I bought in North Carolina, and I’m thinking about my travels down south. Every year my family goes to the Outer Banks and stays in a beach house together. I’ve also been to Savannah, Georgia, and a number of other places in the South. I have an outsider’s view of the region. My thoughts are highly segmented, like some sort of ancient crazy quilt.

I could never live there, but I do like to visit. The heat drives me away. I start to melt when the thermometer goes over seventy. I love all the flowers there, and I adore the way the kudzu vines cover the buildings and trees. Their invasive weed is my eye candy.

I also love the grits, especially when those grits come from Waffle House, one of my very favorite places to eat while traveling. This restaurant chain is practically ubiquitous below a certain latitude that my brother refers to as the IHOP/Waffle House line. The food is good, and very inexpensive, and the atmosphere is unique to the chain. Waffle House delights me.

I’m not so fond of the sweet tea, although I see it as a technological marvel. How do they suspend so much sweetener in one glass? I also love the barbecue smell that hangs in clouds over many of the towns. I hear it’s darn tasty, too, but since I’m a vegetarian I’ll stick to the fire-roasted aroma.

I remember my trip to Savannah for the beauties of its gardens and architecture, but even more for the stunning kindness of its people. It was so hot while I was there that water boiled in plastic bottles in the car and peaches baked in the backseat. The locals were reminding the tourists to drink water and stay in the shade. Some establishments even had iced punch bowls on the sidewalks with cups for overheated pedestrians. I have not seen strangers being so sweet to visitors anywhere else. I’ll never forget it.

I’m very glad that I’ve had a chance to experience the region. Growing up in the North, I’d heard a lot of ignorant statements about the South. I’m sure it has its pitfalls, like everywhere else, but I will remember its charms. I look forward to future travels below the IHOP/Waffle House line.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

162. What are your opinions about the South? Have you been? If you live there, what are your opinions about the North, or other regions of the United States?

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