Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Arbor Day; and a Story: REGIONAL DIFFERENCES

For the Tag Tuesday challenge - today's theme is Arbor Day (USA). National Arbor Day is the tree planter's holiday, and has been celebrated since 1872. It began in Nebraska, a largely treeless plain back in the 1800's. It's always the last Friday of April, a day to plant and dedicate a tree to help nature and the environment. Millions of trees will be planted Friday, April 29, 2011.

(click for detail)

For more information about how I made the tag, or to join the challenge, click here.

Sixteenth in the Tuesday Story Series

In 1973, I moved from Columbia SC to outside of Harrisburg PA, in the small town of Dillsburg. My mother's family lived in south central Pennsylvania and I was looking forward to seeing my grandmother more often. I had moved because I was young,  I was tired of living in Columbia and I thought I'd try something different. 

In Autumn, it was wonderful to experience the weather and the brilliance of the leaves. In Columbia, there is a slight change of seasons; in Charleston, there are only two seasons: Hot and Not. So it was a heady change of pace for me. The people I met were very pleasant, although they did tease me about my accent. I thought I would probably stay in the area for awhile.

Then, things began to change. There were two main reasons for this - the weather and the food. Having been raised in the South, there were some foods I began to miss after a few months. I remember stopping at a diner one morning to have breakfast and asked the waitress (that's what they were called back then) if they had grits. She looked at me strangely and said "What's a grit?". And I was used to BBQ being pork with a mustard base, not beef with a tomato base, which was all there was available. When I went into a restaurant in the evening during winter, and asked for iced tea (THE southern staple!), I would get another strange look and would be brought a glass of ice and hot tea in a pot. 

I think what capped it in the area of food were the turnip greens. Growing up, we would cube the turnips and cook them in a pot with the washed tops and they were delicious. I went to several large supermarkets in the area and I found fresh turnips (the greens had been cut off), canned turnips, and even frozen turnips, but no greens anywhere. Finally I approached a store manager, asked him where I could find this particular delicacy and then received a VERY strange look! "Lady," he said slowly "We feed those to the pigs."

Turnips, greens and cornbread - mmm mmm!

And then winter....... I loved the first couple of snow falls, but then the snow stayed on the ground. And continued to stay, adding more with each snowfall. It turned yellow in a lot of places, or was full of dirt.  And it was cold and it stayed cold. At that time, if you didn't have money for a snow mobile, or didn't ice skate or ski, you stayed indoors. In Columbia it may have snowed once a winter, or if it was very cold, it wouldn't stay that way, after a few days it would warm up a bit. I found out first hand what it was like to have cabin fever. In January, there was the "January Thaw", the temperatures went up into the 50's and people were walking around with shirtsleeves. I did not think that was funny, I thought they were crazy. By March, I had moved back to South Carolina, all the way back to Charleston!

I realize that over time, regional differences have shrunk, and you can find any food just about anywhere. And now that I live in the mountainous area of the state, I experience the full four seasons. It even snows more than once a winter here too! But I am always more than ready for Spring and would not want to move any further north. It's quite lovely in the area of Pennsylvania where my mother's family was from, but I am content to have it as a destination instead of a residence. I guess you just can't take the Southern out of the girl raised in the South!



  1. Ohhhh I know how you felt! Eleven years ago I moved from Atlanta to Cleveland, OH...what a rude awakening. My first winter I had no winter coat, gloves, hat, nothing. I about froze to death and cried A LOT (even after I got winter gear!)Though I've spent 11 winters up here I still like them no better. One day I'll return to my beloved south.
    Your tag is BEEautiful! Love, Andrea

  2. Oh my gosh I haven't laughed that hard for some time! I was born in Georgia but raised in the north by a southern born and bred mom. Talk about confused! :) I love southern food and know what a grit is (and love them by the way). No one in the north makes BBQ like they do in the south, just not in their genes! LOL I still live in the north but my hubbie and I have finally decided to move to the gulf coast of Florida this coming fall. Oh, and he knows what a grit is now as well...born a southern girl raised in the north but still a southern girl!
    Beth P

  3. Funny, I grew up in Pennsylvania and miss the COLD!

  4. GRITS: Girls Raised In The South

    Love the story! I'll take the south and the weather down here always!

    Love the tag, the butterflies are a nice touch and I love all the colors!

    Love you!


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