I was born and raised in Columbus Ohio. I am an unabashed Big 10 fan. I'd like nothing better than to watch Ohio State clock an SEC school. Just to shut them the fuck up about slow Northern Teams. We play Football in football weather. The SEC plays football in beach volleyball weather. Sundresses and heels are not proper football attire.
That said, I have a major affection for the South. I am a card carrying Liberal. I don't care.The sublime, sweet,serene, sensual, Southern siren song has me as rapt as Odysseus. How?
It's complicated. Famous last words.
I first saw the South as a twelve year old boy on a family driving vacation. We visited family in Memphis. Drove south to New Orleans.I saw spanish moss on trees lining the two lane.In N'Awlins we wandered the Quarter.
Even then there was a gothic sensibility in the French Quarter that tugged at my soul. The ancient buildings. Courtyards.Balconies. The sunlight. The shadows The dark, Delta jewel beckoning, smiling softly..As a suburban boy from Ohio I was amazed and awed by the history.Walking in the footsteps of Lafitte,, Williams. Faulkner.Jackson. I had never experienced anything like this.The smells, sounds and music moved my heart and nestled somewhere in my soul waiting to reemerge in my adulthood. To catch me by surprise.
We moved along the Gulf coast. My younger brother and I launched bottle rockets into the Gulf of Mexico from a beach in Gulfport Mississippi.
We travelled along the Redneck Riviera.Got salt and sand in my swim trunks in Ft. Walton Beach Florida.
Up the East Coast through Savannah, Charleston. We ate well. It was on this trip I developed a lifelong disdain for grits. I have since been informed I may have to reevaluate that attitude.
I walked the decks and marveled at the big guns on the Battleship USS North Carolina.
On to Washington DC. Mount Vernon. Williamsburg. In the summer. In the South. The seeds were sown.
As an adult I spent time in Nashville and discovered I pick up accents easily and quickly. I found a different way of life. An appealing attitude.An intrigueing world.
I also developed a soft spot for Southern women. Similar to my genetic, Irish fascination with red heads.Both turn my head and steal my reason, only for me to discover I'm far out of my depth. I turn befuddled into the arms of strong Yankee women and am comforted there. I understand them. As well as I understand any woman. .
I later spent time in Maryland.
Then came my return to New Orleans.
She stole my heart. Captured my soul. The ambience. The music. The food. The people. The deep South called to me with it's genteel charm. The flower scented breezes. The sensual dance of life. It's hard not to love the South.
I am at best eccentric. At worst functionally crazy. A bit of a rogue. A scoundrel with an astounding lack of propriety. Eccentrics, scoundrels and rogues have a storied tradition in Southern life. We aren't avoided and condemned as in the staid puritanical North. And many of us are Irish. Imagine that.
I realize the South is conservative. Well so is most of Ohio. I simply feel lost and out of place in the North. I have a Southern sensibility pulling at me. Calling me. Confusing the hell out of me. Though a dear Southern friend told me I understand the charm and foibles of Dixie better than most Yanks. I would fit in.
I know moving is not a panacea. However I feel if I'm going to be alone and miserable I can do it just as well, if not better someplace I'd actually like. After all these years I can say with certainty that Ohio sucks. Not in a good way.
So it seems to be time for an exodus. Time to become an expat Buckeye. Time to live not exist. I'm overdue to embrace the the sultry seductress that is the South. It could be a mistake. I could get burned. But as Buffett once said,"the pleasure is worth all the pain". It'll be one hell of a ride.