|View of Macon and Indian Mounds from Camp Benjamin Hawkins|
I'm surprised I grew up in the South to Southern parents albeit in a military town that was a shadow of the South. When I entered the South after graduating from college, I realized I was Southern Light.
Being Southern Light was having the ethnicity, accent but not really understanding the culture. Having been immersed in television since a child, my view of the world was fairly rosy glassed. My parents had sheltered me from the harshest parts of reality.
Moving and working in a suburb of Atlanta gave me another escape from my ethnicity. I watch the Southern culture mystique reality shows. Kids today have no concept of Southern culture. They imitate rudeness which has never been a part. One good part of the South was good manners permeated all the social classes.
I live in Fort Valley now. What I do know is that it is not Southern Culture that creates a community. It is people committed to convictions that they will not tolerate people not treating other people well. It doesn't mean there are no problems, it means that there is less of a problem.
When I thought of buying a home just outside Fort Valley, I did not know. My first immersion into Southern culture came to mind. How would I fit in?
I stopped at a convenience store/gas station and bought gas. I thought of a little story and told the cashier. They talked. We both laughed. I get in my car and the realization hit me.
Those were the nicest teenage African American kids and they actually enjoyed talking to my 40 something white self. Maybe Fort Valley would be a good place to live. I mean there were three factors that had to be acknowledged.
1. When are customer service employees that friendly to customers. Most only talk when they want you to respond.
2. When are teenagers interested in a talkative older woman's chat.
3. The racial animosity in this country.
I made the move in 2003. One thing I know about people who stay in a place a long time and for generations. Their actions are more accountable. People can move from place to place and what happened before may not be known.
People that stay in one place have the past hanging in the present too easily. I'm older and I have more convictions than my parents foisted on me in my twenties. One I have been trying to acquire is to not listen to the lowdown about other people. I haven't gotten there yet. I do not repeat what I hear out of common sense.