Monday, September 1, 2008

Southern Hospitality my foot!

I live in the South. This is not a choice I made but rather a circumstance with which I live. I have nothing against the South, mind you, but I'm a Yankee through and through and would prefer to live up north where we have four distinct seasons per year.

We have lived in our current home for over a year. That is long enough to establish oneself in any given neighborhood. Today, The Girl and a bunch of other kids (some of whom I'd never seen before) decided to open a tea stand. Please note it was *not* a lemonade stand but, rather, a tea stand. And here is me, shaking my head.

We don't live on a particularly busy street so I was not expecting the kids to do much business. I look outside and there is an older couple drinking the kids' tea. I walk outside. The couple is speaking with the kids and the woman asks me if I live here. Um...did you not just see me walk out the front door...wearing my slippers?! I answer her yes and she tells me who she is. She lives across the street one house over. Did I mention yet that I've lived here OVER a year?! She seems polite, as does her husband. I find a way to casually slip into the conversation that we've lived here for quite some time...over a year now. She says something to the effect of "Well, it's nice to meet you," and how nice it is to have children in the area. My kids ride their bikes through the street a lot. They are outside a lot. In fact, I've seen this couple outside on numerous occasions - they do a lot of gardening/landscaping. Not once in the year we've lived here have they said hi. We've even had yard sales...two of them! Again, not once did anyone come by and say "Hi! I'm your neighbor."

I know only two people who live on my street: the man across the street (who introduced himself when we moved in) and a couple down the street who just moved in (and I know them because I happen to work with the wife). One of The Boy's classmates just moved into a house down the street, but I have not met his family. There are probably 20 houses on our small street (ours included).

So I'm curious about this mythological concept of southern hospitality. We have yet to see it in action...anywhere. How far south does one have to go (not that I'm considering it!)?


  1. I think this is general practice in most places. When I moved to Northern Nevada I thought that there would be that whole neighborly thing going on but there wasn't. I was really surprised when I moved into this house because my neighbors were so welcoming and the people at the property behind mine bought me cookies and now the man two doors down cuts my lawn. But the people who live to the left of me - they have never said one word to me. I think the whole neighbors thing has long gone, so maybe we should bring it back? You have a lemonade stand and I will have a martini stand!

  2. My guess is that those neighbors were not originally from the south.
    They must be transplanted Yankees (I'm only kidding - you know that, right??)

    Glad he's got a friend down the street.

  3. I've lived several different places now... and only once had a neighbor come and introduce themselves... it's a dying art form...

  4. There are a couple of homes for sale on my street, and the neighbors are beyond friendly - do you like Louisville? (: I'm a firm believer that Midwestern hospitality trumps Southern any day!
    I can't tell you the number of times that one of my neighbors has called at 11pm to tell me our garage door is still up.
    It probably is due to the fact that none of us have family nearby, so we all basically have to depend on one another.

    Really? A year? That is just silly.

  5. I was born and raised in the south and still live in the south.

    Things were different when I was growing up. Neighbors did know each other and we went "visiting" often. The lack of visiting is something that irritates my mother. She complains that nobody goes visiting anymore and this is something she truly misses.

    The town I grew up in has changed dramatically since I was a kid. We're not as rural as we used to be and in a rural area you tend to form friendships with your neighbors and call on them when in need or just to visit with them.

    I think it's people in general these days that are more closed off and less inclined to be hospitable.


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