Welcome to North Carolina ya’ll! Please put your hair in its upright position! Once we stepped onto the jetway and took our first big gulp of wet air, I knew I was home. Humidity and the South go together like bees and honey, cukes and tomatoes, flies and Chardonnay. The little angels whined, “Mommy it’s sooooooooo hot.” Ah, bless their little hearts….and we just got here! My hair went from unmanageable to Miss Sweet Potato Queen runner-up in seconds! In the land of big hair, I fit right in.
We were welcomed with the sweet melody of Southern drawls. Even the airport security guy was nice when I freed Cowboy from his carrier. “Excuse me honey. Do you mind holdin’ your dawg until you can take him outside? Thank you.(smile) He shore is a purty dawg.” He reached down and gave him a little scratch on the head. We are not at LAX.
My friends and my daughters’ friends were circling like seagulls waiting for us to pull in from the airport. Holding mommy sippee cups filled with fruity cocktails, they embraced us as if it had been forever and a day. With a few apologies for impending rainstorms, I couldn’t thank them enough as if they had ordered it especially for us. Rain? Yippee! Tears of joy! (It never rains in California, the girls don’t they warn ya’). We caught up on gossip, our lives, and tied the two coasts together as if they were connected at the hip.
I slid into the South like an old pair of loafers, ones I had hidden in the back of a closet. The air is fresh and clean. Cicadas hum every afternoon from the live oak trees and people stop by unannounced just to talk about the weather, leave a pie or boiled peanuts, or ask how we’re doing (and they really want to know!). To see my daughters beam with the same excitement I had growing up by the beach here overwhelms me. The simple pleasures are the big ones. Riding bikes in bikinis, jumping off friends’ docks, eating fried shrimp and picking blueberries excite them more than a One Direction concert
North Carolina is where my heart is; where it will always be. My toes dig into the soft powdery sand like roots and to me, there’s no place more beautiful. My years away make me more appreciative everyday that I have this. It has shaped me into the person I am. I’m doubly thankful that I can see the same joy in my daughters’ eyes. They are me.
As I unWINEd in North Carolina, I want to give you a few sweet things to sink your teeth into about the wonderful South:
Land of Southern Belles, country ham, and blueberry pies. Azaleas, beauty queens, pig pickins’ and front porches. Rocking chairs, and NASCAR, sweetened ice tea, ice-cold beer, and the Intracoastal Waterway. Garden clubs, floral dresses, floral everything. Long vowels, country music, fat tomatoes and cucumbers from your garden and summer rainstorms and bare feet. Live oak trees, bluegrass, cardinals, bushy-tailed squirrels and the Civil War. Pee-cans, homemade preserves, and Dukes mayonnaise.’Yes ma’ams’, grits and buttermilk biscuits, and warm ocean water. Hush puppies, needlepoint, chivalry, madras plaid and pick-up trucks. Just to name a few…..
Sending warm hugs and humid kisses,
“In my mind I’m going to Carolina. Can’t you see the sunshine, can’t you just feel the moonshine? Ain’t it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind? Yes, I’m going to Carolina in my mind.”
-James Taylor (NC native) “Carolina in My Mind”
“Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”