When You Come From The South
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Politics and Activism

When You Come From The South

Where I come from, we like to abide by the "Three F's": Faith, Family, and Food.

When You Come From The South
Melinda Allen

Where I come from, we do things a little differently 'round here.

I'm from a small town in Mississippi--where the summers are long, and the tea is extra sweet. If you drive by too fast, you just might miss us. Living in the South my whole life has greatly shaped who I am today. As with living anywhere, the South definitely comes with its fair share of "ups-and-downs" (especially when the only thing to do is to go to the Dollar General, which is around every corner if you live in Grenada); however, I am proud of where I've come from because it has taught me to be who I am today: strong-willed, determined, disciplined, hard-headed (Thank, Pops), and a bit "wide open" at times. Where I come from, we like to live and abide by the "Three F's": Faith, Family and Food.

From the day my mother started carrying me, I was in church. In the South, that's just what you do: Go to church on Sunday morning wearing your favorite Sunday dress, eat breakfast in your Sunday School class, socialize for hours in the sanctuary after the service, and then rush home to make sure your roast and vegetables haven't overcooked yet. And if you are a Baptist, you know what I mean when I say there's always food involved. Jesus and food go together like Southern and Baptist.

Since I grew up in a Christian home, my parents instilled in me the importance of having Jesus Christ in my heart. From attending Vacation Bible School as a small child to now having worked at the church as a Youth Intern, I can confidently say that The Lord is the most important relationship I could ever have. I have learned that until He is in the center of your life, contentment will constantly escape you.

Along with going to church, family is another important aspect "about the South." Where I come from, family is all you need. They are the ones who will laugh with you--and at you, most of the time--until your belly hurts. They are also the ones who tell you how it's gonna be, whether you want to hear it or not. Since I am an only child, my family is my everything. We spend most of our time together, and I wouldn't trade my parents for all the Chick Fil A waffle fries in the world (yeah, I know--they're a pretty big deal). They've taught me how to make good decisions and still have fun; how to cook and clean; how to act mature and speak respectfully to adults; and most importantly, how to raise a child in a loving, silly, and supportive Christ-centered home. I can only pray to have a relationship this special with my future family.

If you're from the South, you know there's one thing we do here best: EAT. Where I come from, butter is the best, and most important, ingredient. I like to abide by this saying, "More buttah, more bettah." One simply cannot cook without it. Where I come from, chicken is fried, macaroni and cheese is a vegetable, pecan pie is always mandatory, and biscuits better be served with gravy. If anyone mentions the word "food," you know we'll be there with a freshly made, moist coconut pie, with meringue almost as tall as the Empire State Building in hand at your front door. It's just a part of who we "Southern Folk" are. It's how we gather as a family and make lasting memories. In fact, every Saturday night, my family gathers at my "Memaw's" house to eat supper. We've done this for as long as I can remember. We all bring a different dish depending on what we are having, and we just have the best time cooking and sharing old memories. When we eat supper, we gather at the "Round Table"--an iconic place that all of my friends can attest to being the location where some of the funniest stories, hardest laughs, and greatest memories are ever made. I look forward to going there every Saturday night--not just for the food, but for the fellowship, too--because where I come from, food and fellowship equal fun!

Growing up in the South has meant more to me than words can describe. From going to church every Sunday, road-tripping with my parents to "Who-Knows-Where," to eating a delicious meal, there's just somethin' special about where I come from that is unique and heart-warming. You see, a lot of people think that "The South" is a place where people don't get educated. Where people are overweight. Where people are "barefoot-n-pregnant." Where people can't say anything right. But let me tell you somethin' about where I come from. Where I come from, people can be anything they want to be. They can succeed. We may believe that "y'all" is the only proper noun (and I strongly agree that it is), but I'll be John Brown if our accent isn't just the cutest thing you've ever heard! Sure, we like to eat. But we have wide open spaces to run around. We can pretend we are famous softball players in our very own grassy field of a backyard. We can be an Olympic gymnast on our trampoline. Oh, and those dirt roads, they make great running lanes. Where I come from, sure, we might act like "Rednecks"--and I use that term very lightly--but we have fun. We make memories. We live life. We think everything is "just darlin'." But most importantly, where I come from is who I am--a simple country girl who loves Jesus, family, food and fun. Period.

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