Saturday, August 2, 2014

Strolling Down Butterfly Lane

I always thought I was from the South. I was born in the South, raised in the South and I still live in the most Southern located state that there is; Florida. But living at the furthest point does not make you Southern. It doesn’t make you speak with a stronger southern dialect, it doesn’t make you swoon with larger vapors, nor does it mean that you will ever drink mint julep tea in your entire life. 

I went “home” with my husband this weekend to Turbeville, South Carolina. The southern tongue spoken here has a swagger that I can barely imitate. The slickness of the drawl and roll of the tongue is such that it’s unimaginable that there is ever a harsh word spoken here.

Even the land that is swallowed by corn fields, tobacco fields, cotton fields, and soybean fields have a grace about them that cannot be denied. The rows, one by one times a million, are straight as an arrow, lining every field, on every paved and dirt road. Some are plotted with family homes off to the side or the far back, and some are simply empty fields except for the product they bear.

Road after rough asphalt road have been tagged with names that ironically drip with southern softness; Butterfly Lane and Puddin’ Swamp Road. The stories that these old back-roads could tell if they could talk; well there is just no end to the wondering.

I’m not sure what the state tree for South Carolina is but it needs to be the Crepe Myrtle. I did not pass one yard, one business, one median, or one field that did not have multi-colored Crepe Myrtles lining driveways, property lines or growing wild in the fields. I mean huge, full-grown trees with wide-legged trunks and 30ft wide girths of blooms cross-wise. Just amazingly beautiful landscaping as we drove back and forth across two counties for the last three days.

Their historical districts are just glorious. Old homes with wrap around porches and rockers galore. American flags perched on the corner of each porch stoop and gardenia’s blooming and smelling-up lawns all the way to the sidewalks like freshly spilled perfume. Multi-colored Lantana lining the flower beds and sprinkled around like bursts of sunshine in some of the more obscure areas of each lawn.

I came to South Carolina to see family. Family that wasn’t originally mine by blood, but is now mine by marriage and by love. I spent the last three days eating meals, attending a baby shower, sharing fellowship, stories and laughter. My grand at the laughter; that loud, guffawing laughter that can only come with people who love one another and their shared faults and shortcomings. 

But what I also found here thru the eyes of my husband was his childhood, his memories and his life before me.  Learning his life through his stories only makes me wish I could turn back the hands of time, and found him sooner, so I could have loved him longer. 

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