Hardened city woman, that’s what I am. Well, a hardened Oxfordshire countryside woman, who has had a lot of city experience. Maybe London’s rubbed off too much on me.
I have forgotten how nice people can be. Sure, I’ve been called nice by much more hardened city people, but I’ve lost a lot of that famous southern kindness. That yes ma’am, no ma’am, and just greeting people in general. You can greet anyone here with a kind “Good Morning” or “How y’all doing?” and be just fine. You can start up conversations in elevators about the sad state of the Treasure Ship after its terrible fire. You can ask the age of the kids playing in the sand or pat a local beach dog. Even the bums are polite here. They may be homeless and destitute but Lord willing, they will not sacrifice their manners for one second.
And Lord, about the Lord. I forgot how religion weaves its way into everything. I forgot the church billboards and the fact that the invocations at events will call people forward to be saved by Jesus and/or the Lord. I’ve forgotten about how, as a minor Catholic, I stood out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of Baptists. I forgot, that when praying, sometimes people cry.
I forgot that sweet tea can be served to you until you pop. That everyone is a “Sugar” or a “Darling.” I forgot about the airbrush t-shirts with the hearts entwined around McKayla and Coby, or the Confederate Flag, or about how red people can make themselves by baking in the sun.
But sometimes, when I’m laying in my little rental beach chair (as you should) and the nice gentlemen with the Jesus Saves shirt comes to put up your umbrella, then gives you a bottle of water free from his church… I remember that people can be nice. Sure, they may not roll with my particular set of beliefs, or morals, or political views, but dang it – people can be just flat-out nice.
Sometimes you just need to be exposed to it. If only just to remember your manners for a while.
Yes, sir, if only for just a smidge, Sugar.