>Ruba’s post about Islamic Civilation and identity got me thinking. The question of identity is a very interesting one. It’s one that the Beans will definitely have the opportunity to explore. They come from such widely differing backgrounds. So, in thinking about Ruba’s post, I thought of the old bumper sticker (and T-Shirt, and Beer Cozy, and, and, and…) with the big Southern flag on it and the words emblazoned across it American By Birth Southern by the Grace of God. These were the kinds of things you’d pick up at Stuckey’s. Yeah, I know, you Northerner’s out there are thinking, hunh? But, let me just say… Pecan Log Roll. You Southerners, you know what I’m talking about… And to take you back even more, here’s a circa 1950s snapshot of a Stuckey’s.
Being from the South was very interesting. Most people outside of the US (and many inside) don’t get how different the regions really are. I’m not just from the South, I’m from the Deep South. The Heart of Dixie. I’m from a state with a colorful history including one single county that refused to secede from the Union in the Civil War. It declared itelf the Free State of Winston. I’m from a state where liquor isn’t (or wasn’t) sold on Sundays and we still had dry counties.
In the South, we weren’t Irish or Italian or German or anything. We were all Southern. It took me moving away to Philadelphia to know that a family I had known for 15 years was Italian. Honestly it kind of surprised me. Because all of us were Southern before anything else. Before American, before any ethnic identification, we were Southern. Southerners are, fundamentally, people of the land (sound like anyone we know around here?). And, in Alabama, it’s the most beautiful land in the whole world (and I am so NOT biased). And I always truly felt that as much as didn’t fit on (I was perhaps just a tad too interested in the rest of the world to fit in with my peers, teehee), I was Southern by the Grace of God. Only a graceful God would have chosen little old me to be at home in such beautiful vistas. To see such beauty and doubt the existence of God, well, I can’t imagine it.
So, I am American by birth, but I also proudly claim my heritage… I am Southern by the grace of God.
And, in honor of this, here are my favorite things I sorely miss:
- Hot boiled peanuts from a road-side stand
- Chilton County tomatoes (named after the man who gaveled the Confederacy into existence)(here’s Clanton‘ water tower not far from my favorite year round stand for produce)
- Grits, real grits not the instant ones made in my microwave
- Meme’s Biscuits
- The mountains of the Birmingham area and the rivers and creeks of my summer camp home away from home
That’s my Top 5… Anyone else?
Happy identity crises!