Sunday, September 9, 2007

North and South

We spent the last week (10 days, actually) in Maine, or traveling to and from there. It's two days each way to drive to Mount Desert Island from North Carolina. (More on this trip in posts to come.)

After that time in the Northeast, especially the crowded and fast paced Mid-Atlantic states, we were all feeling more and more compressed by the North's privacy standard. NOT greeting everyone you pass feels bizarre to us, and is hard to do. While we did get a beautiful smile from a lady walking down a sidewalk reading a book in Southwest Harbor, Maine, and while people were friendly if you smiled, waved, or spoke, they usually acted surprised, or even startled. When, in a Maryland rest stop on the return journey, a lady from a northeastern state stepped out of her car right into my personal space and did not so much as glance at me, it seemed the perfect symbol for the entire cultural difference, to me. I was so ready to get back to the South.

As we left the Petersburg, VA area on I-85, leaving I-95 behind at last, everyone commented on how I was singing with the music, laughing more freely, and smiling. "You're just glad to be south of Richmond!" Moomin Light said to me. She was right and I grinned from ear to ear.

We had a great time in Maine, and we met and spoke with many friendly people - particularly the folks who own the cottage where we stayed, but there's no place like the South.

In the NC Welcome Center on I-85, as my youngest and I entered the men's room, we passed an elderly gentleman. He looked up, smiled, and said, "How are y'all doin'?" I flashed him a huge smile and said we were doin' just fine, and how was he? I grinned like a fool and chuckled the entire way through that stop. At the car I commented that the sky was the most beautiful we had seen all day, and everyone laughed.

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