It's a hazy morning and I'm up earlier than normal with my girls. I've had my coffee and have started working through a stack of magazines my mother-in-law has passed onto to me.  While my girls finished their breakfast I flipped through Southern Living and Our State and pulled out recipes and decorating ideas.  I admire the flowers and the paint choices in the features and smile at the familiarity.

This is the South I know. 

It saddens me that we are often known for our accents in the most awful and ridiculous exaggerations--similar to cats and in which it takes 5 syllables to say most words.  Or the fact that we're apparently all inbreeds who share 20 teeth between the 12 of us in the house.  Or that we living out in the middle of no where without running water nor shoes--and lookout for the crazy loose rooster.  Or the fact that we wear bib overalls with manure smeared on them.  Or that we are the cast of "Hee Haw" with cute pigtails and 4 freckles painted on our cheeks.  

That is so embarrassing.

My Southern world is a place where sweet tea is a delicacy, not just a cheap and easy beverage.  People enjoy this, or maybe lemonade with slices of real lemons, in a frosty glass while sitting on their front porch.  There might be children riding bicycles in the street right in front of your house, and if it's close to the 4th of July, there will be sparklers involved.  People walk to and fro not so much for exercise but for conversation and greeting their neighbors who are also out walking, sitting, or tending their yards.  

It's a world in which manners are required--and gentlemen hold the doors for ladies, we yes and no ma'am, and we always say please and thank you.  We acknowledge those in traffic who let us into the lane, and we smile and nod to those who cross our path.

It's a world where a home cooked meal is routine and not a treat.  We love each other with Jesus and food--and often at the same time.  

We take great pride in our family history and often name our children after relatives or maiden names.  We like to give our babies names that mean something.  We respect our grandparents, even when we feel they may be outdated or old-fashioned.  They are our link to our past and they know why we are the way we are.  They shaped our parents, who in turn, shaped us--as we will one day shape our children.

I want my children to know the true charm of being southern. 

While we were in Savannah, I felt like I was at home.  Shop keepers who smiled at the locals and visitors alike.  Ladies who dressed well because it was Thursday at 10am.  Gentlemen who held doors for ladies and call even the smallest girl "ma'am" or "miss." Where a smile and a kind word is shared by all.

It also helped to see the spanish moss hanging from the tree-lined streets and horse drawn carriages.

This charm, this forgotten art of being, is what I desperately want to recapture this year, this season, this life.  

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