Thursday, July 2, 2015

The South Carolina That I Love

Angel Oak
Ideas sometimes come from unusual places, or from an unusual combination of places.  At least they do for me.  I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a post about South Carolina for a while now.  I just wasn’t entirely sure what to say.  People far more eloquent than I will ever be have pontificated at length about the goings on in my home state.  I wasn’t even sure if there was anything more to say. 
Then I read this post.  I know it’s a bit of a leap, and I won’t try to explain the whole, long process that got me here.  The short version of it is that Pinky lives in Australia.  I’ve never been to Australia.  I know nothing about it, except that they seem to have the coolest accents in the world, what I’ve seen on TV, and the tiny bits I’ve gleaned from reading Pinky’s blog.  I enjoy reading her take on current events there.  I think it makes for a much more realistic picture of a place to read about a real person’s day to day life there.  It’s at least more interesting than just news stories. 

I believe Pinky has mentioned visiting the US, but I have no idea whether or not she visited any part of the South in general, or South Carolina in particular.  That’s probably one of the biggest reasons I’m writing this post.  I can’t stand the idea of people who’ve never visited South Carolina thinking that recent events are normal, or that we all hold to certain beliefs.  If you’ve never been to South Carolina, I hope I can give you a little glimpse of the good things about us since you’ve certainly had ample opportunity to read the truly horrible things about us.  (I just want to clarify that Pinky said nothing derogatory about the US in general, or South Carolina in particular.  My mind doesn’t always make sense, so I don’t have the clearest explanation for how her post tipped the scale in favor of writing this post.  It just did.)

Table Rock, SC
This paragraph: I know it was naïve of me but the day Barrack Obama was elected president of the United States I went to work, whistling in joy, thinking… well that’s it then folks, no more race problems; the mostpowerful job in the world has just been given to an African American, no onecan be racist now, can they? Hmmm. didn’t quite work out like that didit? I'll bet you cheered that day though, Ms Harper.” especially made me want to write this post.  Yes Pinky, it was very, very naïve of you to think that no one could be racist after that election, but it was a beautiful thought.  Some of the things I heard the day after are things I’m just plain not comfortable writing.  The flip side of that is that he was elected, and so many people celebrated. 

I can’t speak for outside of the South.  I’m not well-traveled, and I’ve lived my entire life in southern states.  I’ve never been “up North”.  But if you’ve visited my blog much at all you know that I’m a South Carolina native, and that I love my home state.  I live in North Carolina now, but still consider myself a South Carolinian.  Nick is a North Carolina native, and we engage in a lot of good natured banter about who comes from the “better” Carolina.  I still love South Carolina, and always will. 
I’m not trying to defend what has happened, and what is happening in South Carolina.  Some things are just indefensible.  But the South Carolina that I love doesn’t consist solely of confederate flag waving racists, and that’s the part I want to share with you.

Folly Beach, SC
Please, please, please do not think for even one moment that I am saying there aren’t problems, and that there isn’t hatred fueled by prejudice.  I know those issues exist.  I’m just saying we don’t all feel that way.  I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who taught us to see people, not color or ethnicity.  Not all children born and raised in South Carolina are raised this way, but I’d like to think it was more common with my generation than it was with my parents’ generation.  Throughout my life I’ve had the good fortune to meet and befriend a wide variety of people.  I have no idea who my first friends of other races were.  My mom knows this for herself because she started off in segregated schools.  Let that sink in for a minute. 
Most people consider me to be fairly young (I’m in my early 30s, so teenage cashiers never bother to check my ID for anything since I look like an old hag to them, but most adults seem to think of me as being on the younger end of the spectrum), so it’s scary to think that one generation before mine lived part of their childhood with segregation.  The more positive way to look at that is in noting how much has changed just in my parents’ lifetime.  Their children grew up in a world where we didn’t necessarily have to think about race at a young age. 

We’re not all obsessed with the Civil War.  I know there are a lot of Civil War reenactments throughout the South.  There are also a lot of Revolutionary War reenactments.  Personally, I have never understood the appeal.  The noise is deafening.  Every summer you can hear distant cannon fire at my parents’ house (I think that’s actually from a Revolutionary War reenactment).  The noise gets old fast.  I can totally understand the lyrics to ABBA’s “Fernando” when they sing about how “The roar of guns and cannons almost made me cry”.  It gets old.  Fast.  I promise we’re not all issued confederate flags, and that many of us believe their proper place is in museums and history books. 
Now I’m not saying that I don’t find the history of both wars to be fascinating.  I love museums, and I’m a sucker for Civil War movies and Revolutionary War movies.  I just happen to believe they’re history, not something to be re-hashed on a regular basis. 

I feel like I’ve somehow spent a long time talking about the negative aspects of South Carolina when I’ve told you I wanted to write a post about the things I love about my state, so here are the good things:

It’s a beautiful state.  We have gorgeous beaches, beautiful mountains, and great places in between.  In a day’s drive you can easily make it from the mountains to the ocean.  I love the variety.  We’re also home to the Angel Oak, the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen.

Biscuits & Gravy
We have great weather.  I realize this one is largely a matter of perspective, but I think we have really great weather.  We have fairly mild winters, we mostly stay home when it does snow, and we have long, hot summers great for growing tomatoes, peaches, tea, and lots of berries.  In the spring, summer, and fall we have lots of roadside stands with locally grown produce and hot boiled peanuts.  The opening of the first roadside stands is a much anticipated harbinger of spring. 

Sweet Tea!
Some of the things we’re taught as “Southern Good Manners” are actually really good things.  We grow up being taught that any time anyone in our community (neighborhood, church, work, etc.) has a death in their family we must deliver a casserole and/or baked goods to their home.  It’s mandatory.  It doesn’t matter how much food is already there.  We must deliver ours.  We’re secure in the knowledge that we will always be well fed in times of crisis.  It’s not quite as mandatory, but strongly encouraged, during illness or after surgery, or when someone has a new baby.  It’s just what we do.  We also wave.  A lot.  At everyone.  We wave any time we see our neighbors coming and going.  We wave anytime we pass someone we recognize from pretty much anywhere.  We wave if we think we might recognize someone.  And they wave back.  It’s friendly.  A smiling face and a wave can go a long way toward brightening someone’s day. 
Southern Food and Sweet Tea:  I realize that South Carolina isn’t the only state with southern food, but it’s a huge part of my life.  I love cooking, and I love enjoying things like biscuits and gravy, hush puppies, and of course sweet tea.  You also may have noticed if you’ve visited much before that I really like to end blog posts on a positive note.  For me, sweet tea is a very positive thing.  And South Carolina just happens to be the birthplace of sweet tea.  So yes, my home state has some very serious flaws, but it can also be a place as sweet as our tea.


  1. It is a great state, almost as great as New Jersey. What happened was horrible and indefensible, but it happened IN South Carolina, it is not South Carolina.

    I used to think they were bald peanuts

  2. I think your home state sounds lovely. I am not sure I'll ever get to that part of the country, but I would consider it worth my time to visit it and see the beauty it offers. The action of one person doesn't define the entirety of the rest of the people that call South Carolina home; sadly I don't think any state or city is immune to such a tragic event.


  3. I'm glad you felt inspired to reading this post Danielle. I have been as far south as New Orleans and Maryland on the East Coast. I would love to visit South Carolina one day and I think all the things you've described are enchanting. I think of Gone with the Wind and Steel Magnolias when I think of the South. Don't worry, we have our own issues over in Australia and as a nation we have a lot to feel sorry for. The Angel Oak is magnificent, goodness me. I love big old trees like that. I have a photo of a rain tree which I love and will put on my blog one day and make sure to mention you. Just the title of your blog makes me want to start rocking on a porch and speaking with a southern lilt :) Thank you for saying such nice things about my blog x

  4. What a lovely piece. We enjoyed a visit to Charleston a few years ago and it doesn't change my positive view of the place. I'm just sorry it had to happen anywhere.

    Anabel's Travel Blog

  5. It is a beautiful state. What happened was sad, indeed. But you can't let the hatred of some, ruin it for all.

  6. Terrible things happen everywhere. That doesn't make it a terrible place. One must not judge a place based on the idiocy of one person.

    I loved reading about what you love about South Carolina. Maybe we should do a blog hop--what do we love about our home states. It's better to focus on the good rather than dwell on the bad.

  7. Danielle! You must look at this site. South Carolina is featured twice :)

  8. Thank you for this wonderful post, Danielle. It makes us sad when people just assume the actions of a few are indicative of the whole. South Carolina IS beautiful and wonderful, and we loved reading about why you know that to be true.

  9. I am in neighboring Georgia. I've visited SC many times and love the beauty there. These days, tragedies can happen any where. You have a lovely blog.


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