"I don't believe I've ever heard that saying," someone would remark, and in such a way as to ask me to explain further.
So I began by telling the group about my life growing up in a small Mayberry-type town where there were primarily two choices when it came to religion; you were either Baptist or Methodist. (Yes, we had other denominations there, but that came later on in my life and it didn't add to the story I was about to tell, so ...)
"On Sundays, if we Methodists were lucky, the preacher cut his sermon short by a half a point so we could make it to the Town House Restaurant before the Baptists," I said. "Now, the Town House had these incredible cinnamon rolls that came to the table before the meal, along with the rolls and the cornbread."
I went on to talk about eating at (what we often called) "Tredeau's" for the family who owned the restaurant and about going home (a second of several options) to Mama's fried chicken or a simmering pot roast.
|Rose Chandler Johnson|
Instantly recognizing her Low Country accent, I told her I had grown up in a little town called Sylvania, Georgia.
"My gracious alive," she said, her eyes dancing. "I grew up in Sardis, Georgia! I thought I recognized your accent ... but when you said 'the Town House' and talked about those cinnamon rolls, I just knew we had to have grown up near each other!"
Sardis and Sylvania, you see, are about 15 minutes apart. Twenty on a bad day. Rose (my new friend) and I were joined at the hip after that. We knew all the same people, remembered all the same stories. It was like a trip back home to have a cup of coffee with my dear friend Rene Forehand. Rene knows everyone! She knows the history of everyone! She is a walking Peyton Place encyclopedia, let me tell you.
To some degree, so was Rose.
So am I.
Oh, I love this about the South! We know our own people! And we know our own stories. Even the things we'd just as soon forget, we speak of with great story-telling abilities.
We are Southerners, you see. We are family!