What is it about the South? It seems like wherever you travel, you run into folks from “home.” Maybe we find each other because our accents stand out or because we aren’t afraid to talk to strangers, even though our mothers told us not to.
On a trip to Europe a few years ago, my friend Kim Este’ literally ran into the dad of one of our friend’s from Mississippi at the VATICAN! We were standing in line to get something to eat and Kim bumped into him – had to apologize – and then realized who he was! What are the chances of bumping into someone from home at the Vatican?
Same trip…also at the Vatican…we hear the laughter of young girls and look up to see a group from Clarksdale, Mississippi, the hometown of my friend Susan. We spent at least 30 minutes talking to these girls about who their mamas were, what sorority they had pledged, and all those questions we ask each other in the South.
As we were leaving Rome a day or two later, we ran into a group from LSU! While the Tigers from LSU are great rivals back home, seeing an LSU t-shirt in Rome breaks down all SEC barriers and we were immediately friends. Also on that trip, on the subway in London, a young boy from Alabama overheard us talking about Mississippi and asked if we listed to Paul Ott on the radio. He was a big fan of Listen to the Eagle back in the states. Paul Ott is the uncle of my friend Kim. Small world indeed.
As my husband and I have made Arkansas our home, I’ve realized just how small a world this really is. Mississippi feels like a long way away, but I’ve been amazed at how many friends we have here who have connections to that state. All of them know people we know and all of them seem to understand we have a unique bond, just by virtue of where we are from. What is it about the South that makes us that way? I’m thankful for it, whatever it is; that thing that makes us all kinfolk in this small, small world.