I have missed Southern culture & attitudes so much. I love how total strangers chat and actually want more than a "fine" in response to, "How are you doing?"
At Sam's, a lady stopped me to ask where I'd gotten my shoes. (They're these Onesole things, and I had a picture of Charleston's Rainbow Row on them.) I told her Charlotte; she was disappointed that she wasn't going up there any time soon, but she had actually lived in both Albemarle and Mooresville before, so she knew exactly where I was from and welcomed me to the area. We chatted for 10 minutes, all b/c she liked my shoes.
Tuesday, Annelise & I were having a snack out. I had reprimanded her for making a mess, but said that *she* wasn't bad; we just needed to clean it up. [DISCLAIMER: I am totally not saying that I'm always (or even usually?) so level-headed in my discipline!!! :-P] A man sitting beside us said, "I just have to tell you, you are a great parent. The way you handled that and made sure there were consequences to her action, but you didn't tear her down - keep that up! I work in counseling, and I can't tell you how many kids and young adults I see that could have avoided my office completely with parents like you."
I about burst into tears - what blessed encouragement for a mom trying to glue all our lives back together in a new place! The two other people sitting near us knew this man, so we all four ended up talking, and I got all kinds of info on Will's new school, which lifted me up, too. I love the feel of Southern small town life where everyone knows everyone, like where I grew up.
I'm thankful to have my hometown girlfriend Jamie here, too. We even got to have a double date night last Friday! Which lead to more chatting Southern strangers ending up in a smaller world: at one local place, a guy beside us struck up conversation. He said he knew of Davidson. Wow, I thought. How? He was on the national board of JB's fraternity & knew about the Davidson chapter! After the fraternity brothers & Davidson connection, Jamie & I said that we're from Concord, (which is close by, so he'd be familiar.) He said, "Well, I do some business with a little packaging company there..." *MY* family (my grandfather started it; my mom's brother & his kids run it) owns a little packaging company, and you guessed it - he works with my family business! Finally, it gets even weirder. We talked further about moving around, and he said that he actually lived up north during high school in a place called Naperville. SERIOUSLY?!?!? So then we talked Naperville, and we even emailed our dear friend from church there to ask if she knew him, b/c they had gone to that same high school about the same time.
Now I'm not saying that this kind of thing can't happen up north, but I didn't experience it, and surely not on a daily basis like here! The South is all about connections.