Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Latham Anymore

Yesterday morning, I had some boiled peanuts for breakfast, after being awakened by a flock of loud turkeys outside my window.

Mid-day, I went downtown and had a great bowl of collard greens for lunch, and we discussed the fact that they were a smidge sweeter than the way we’d normally prepare, and noted that we needed to get some okra sometime soon as well.

Last night, I sat on the porch playing board games with a bunch of dogs underfoot, and then I shot a paintgun at some street signs visible from the porch, and then someone lit off some fireworks in the yard.

As I type here at the dining room table the next morning, fresh buttermilk biscuits are being crafted in the kitchen next to me, and I’m wagering that there’s going to be some greasy, crispy, smoky sort of meat served with them, based on the crackling, popping sounds that are beginning to drift my way.

For three days now, no one has looked at me like I was stupid when I said “reckon,” “fixin,” “y’all” or “ain’t” out loud.

Life is good, as I have returned to the motherland in the Carolinas (with my mother, no less), as the extended family gathers for the holiday. Later today, my brother-in-law and I are going to go biking in the woods, then we’re going to have a picnic with proper Carolina-style smoked barbecue and fried chicken, then we’ll go figure out where the blowing stuff up part of July Fourth will be held.

We’re also doing college stuff with Katelin this trip, having visited Wake Forest, Elon and Guilford on Wednesday, and then dropping her off at Davidson for a three-week summer program on Sunday. She’s got Davidson at the top of her list at this point, so the on-campus experience will be a good way to see if it’s really where she wants to be.

While, all kidding aside, I love the life we’ve made in Upstate New York and the quality of life we experience there, there really is a deep resonance that occurs when I get into the heart of the Carolinas, where the accents sound right to me, the culture is that in which I was raised, and the trees, soil, plants, climate and architecture all look the way things are supposed to.

At Wake Forest, we were walking around the peaceful, quiet, beautiful central quad, when the calm was interupted by a very loud woman on a cell phone, with a strong, beautiful Piedmont accent, shouting down the line at someone, telling them that she didn’t care what was going on, it was her house, and no one was going to use her bathroom, no way, no how, don’t you dare let him use the bathroom, because it’s her bathroom in her house. That’s it. No! No! Don’t you do it! Don’t you let him use the bathroom! Not in my house!

I wanted to hug her, but I figured she wouldn’t understand.

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