For anyone who knows me and hears me open my mouth to speak, you know I am from the South. I often get asked if I am from Georgia, Alabama or if I am from Burgaw. If you are from North Carolina, familiar with the eastern part of our state, you may just know what I am talking about. Since living in Raleigh for the last eight years, I am asked if I am from Johnston County. I really don’t mind because when I am told I have an accent I just smile my sweet, charming smile and with my ‘southern accent’ I tell them, ‘Noooo, I don’t have an accent. YOU have an accent!’. It makes me laugh every single time!! My daddy taught me to say that and it works like a charm 😉 Seriously though, I enjoy telling them I grew up in the western part of NC in a small town called Elkin and also in N. Wilkesboro. I am a Wilkes and Surry county gal….and a great mix of both with some Bladen County roots as well.
Growing up, I was the youngest of three girls. I was a spoiled brat at times…I admit it. I got my tale tore up for misbehaving, talking back and if you talked during church….mmmmmm. You got the thump on the side of the head and that ‘look’. My southern friends know what I mean by the ‘look’. It was a look of understood discipline that was to come from one of your parents. My parents did not believe in time out, rearranging the house so we didn’t touch things that we weren’t suppose to and you dare not sit down for dinner and refuse to bow your head to pray and thank the Lord for the food He provided on the table. We were never asked how we felt about the rules of the house or what we thought our punishment should be when we misbehaved and we were never promised a toy for being good. The rules were just that….rules. They were our parents rules and we followed them rather we liked them, agreed with them or hated them.
I attended a small high school where everyone knew everyone within one county over in every direction and if you sneezed, I honestly think someone 30 miles away said ‘God Bless You’. We cruised town and we were so good at it, USA Today did a feature article on the small town of Elkin. We liked our front porches, taking trips to the beach, Friday night football games, eating and hanging out at the Speedy Chef (the best place in NC for a hot dog) and we knew all the police officers by name and they new us. Trust me…it wasn’t so bad. It was like growing up on acres of non stop land where we associated with everyone. It was a blessing and a curse at the same time.
What did we do for fun? Give us a dirt road and we were happy!! The stories of the dirt roads and empty fields is only one a southerner would understand. We grew up loving our neighbor, learning to work as soon as we turned old enough to want things. It didn’t matter if you helped clean the house, haul fire wood to the house, rake leaves or wash the car. We learned to be productive.
Church is a huge part of who I am and how I was brought up. We attended Vacation Bible School were we ate cookies, made crafts, sang songs and learned about Jesus and how much He loves us! Vacation Bible School was the most awesome thing as a kid!! I was going either at home in the mountains or if I was down east with my relatives, my grandma made sure I went at her church. I can’t thank my parents enough for planting that seed for me in my life. It has saved me from many things along the way.
I would often spend my summers down east with my relatives. I was taught that if I were to eat it, I had to help pick it. Oh good Lord….I wanted to cry so many times…oh wait, I actually did a few times while digging taters as we call them. Not because it was hard but simply because it was work and I was a whiney brat…hahaha!! I had to shuck corn, dig potatoes, shell beans, drive a tractor, hang out laundry and whatever the chores were for the day. The greatest reward?? I had the BEST southern, home cooked meals and it was 95% of the time fresh from the garden….that I helped pick 😉
Fast forward years later. I moved to a ‘big’ city and it was far bigger than anything I had ever experienced on my own. I seem to learn new things about myself and what intrigues me. I have been to places that require fine dinning, black cocktail dresses, limos, fancy rooms with chandeliers, and all the pressure of being as fancy as one woman can be. I have traveled abroad to broaden my well-rounded tolerance for our worlds cultures. I have been in the presence of people who are dignitaries of our state, community and so forth. I have had dinner with those who had more money than I ever dreamed of but let me tell you something about this Dixie girl.
I never forget where I come from. I am a true Southern girl who understands who she is. I was taught to love everyone, trust God, make the best sweet tea this side of the Mason Dixon Line, I can show you how to skin a deer and cook the best hog on a cooker you have ever eaten (although my daddy may have the upper hand on that). I can bait my own hook, love to drive four wheelers, I can shoot a bow, work on my own car and at the end of the day, I know how to say my prayers and thank God for all he has given me.
The people I have met and continue to meet along the way know that I am true to my roots. You can dress me up and take me out to the fanciest places there are or you can put me in a pair of overalls, boots and I am right at home. I am a Dixie girl from a small town but with the biggest heart you have ever seen 🙂 As Miranda Lambert says in her song ‘The House That Built Me’…..”You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can. I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am” Have you forgotten who you are?