Growing Up Southern....
"In the South, we don't hide our crazy people- we bring them right out onto the front porch for everyone to see. " Julia Sugarbaker
First I must confess that I have never lived north of the Mason-Dixon Line (as we like to call it, but most of us don't really know where that line is), so some of the things I mention here may be common traits to "Yankees", too. I guess I should also mention that I don't speak for everyone that ever lived in the South- these are my own views.
I loved growing up in Georgia. I didn't know that to some people, snow lasted for months. For us, we would get snow once or twice a year and that meant that school was cancelled. We'd wake up and see snow on the ground and then rush to the TV to see if school was cancelled due to snow- usually it was. In the icestorm of 1972 (I think people are still talking about that one), it was beyond our imagination. This snowstorm lasted more than a day. Back then, I lived in Decatur and we were without electricity for over a week. My parents got us together and helped us walk a few miles to my grandparents house- they had a fireplace and a gas stove. We roughed it for a week in front of the fireplace, but we made it fun. We didn't have TV or radio, but we had each other- we roasted marshmellows and popped popcorn in the fireplace, and Grandaddy cooked hamburgers on the gas grill outside while the ice and snow were still falling around him.
Southerners are typically close to their families. For most of my life, everyone that I was related to lived within a 10 mile radius. Some people might hate this idea, but to me it was heaven. I had a furnished bedroom at Mema & Papa's, and one at "Mommo & Granddaddy's (grandparents). I spent Summers with Aunt Jane & Uncle Hub, and Aunt Evelyn & Uncle Larry. My cousins were all about 5-10 years older than me, but we all got along and they took care of me and kept me out of danger.
In the Fall, our whole neighborhood would pack up their RV's and we'd all had to Stone Mountain for a weekend. We'd get trailer sites together and build a campfire and we'd all sit around it. Some of the men would play their guitars and everyone would sing. I still remember Polly Cantrell- the artist of the nighborhood (damn, she was good with macrame!) - singing "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille" by Kenny Rogers, as the rest of us kids got ready to go on a snipe hunt in the dark (snipes are imaginary creatures, but no one ever told us that they weren't real and we'd search all night to find one).
My childhood memories of growing up in the South are cherised and many- eating boiled peanuts in a backseat and throwing the shells out the window-- listening to a guitar played by a campfire -- snuggling next to a few cousins and brothers to keep warm under a blanket during an icestorm, milking Rosebud at Mathis Dairy, fishing in a stocked lake with Miss Polly, sitting on a front porch swing waiting for the neighbors to all applaud when the street light came on, catching lightening bugs in a Mason jar, tying Junebugs to a string so they could fly around me, fieldtrips to the Grant Park Zoo & Fernbank Museum, skinny dipping in our neighbor's pool, jumping on the trampoline (we called it "tramping" back then), and eating strawberries in the garden- straight from the vine.
I might talk trash about my family sometimes, but God know that I love each and every one of them for giving me these memories.