I lived in the South for six years. That’s only a third of the time I’ve spent in Washington and a quarter of the time I spent in Missouri, the state where I was born. And yet it’s the South that has left the most indelible mark on me.
From music to food to the way I like to see people treat each other, it’s the South that has given me life lessons. I still miss it, 18 years after I left, and I still am surprised at how quickly the South sneaks up on you once you head down I-95 from the District. I recognize the South right after I pass Fredericksburg, and it goes away just as quickly on the return trip.
Of course, for many Washingtonians, the South is the antithesis of what they live for. First of all, things…happen…too…slowly. Second, people talk to you whether you want them to or not. Third, and perhaps worst of all, they expect you to talk back to them.
But every time I visit Memphis or Atlanta or Texas, I miss the South. And although I haven’t been back to Little Rock in a solid 15 years, I’ll get back there one day as well, and a lot of things probably will be just the way I left them. And that’s why I miss the place.