When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Conservative Lost In Liberal-Land.

My trip to the Smokey Mountains was awesome (do people still use that word?) and very enlightening. I've always heard the term southern hospitality and I've always known that the north and south were different, but this trip really opened my eyes.

From the moment that we arrived, you could just tell things were different, it was just a feeling that is almost indescribable. Our first stop was at the Cabin rental building where we were greeted with genuine cheerfulness. Notice that I used the word genuine, like it's somehow born and bred into them at a young age. Anyway, we got directions and were on our way. The climb up the mountain to our cabin would make even the calmest person a wreck. Mountain cliffs on both sides. Have they never heard of a side rail before? Suffice it to say tha
t we went very slowly and since I am back home to write this, we did it quite successfully.

We did a lot of sightseeing through the mountains, hit the aquarium, raced on the go karts, but what I want to focus on right now are the shows that we saw. First was the Comedy Barn. It was hysterical, and could even keep the staunchest, Bah Humbug, grouch in stitches.
I've enclosed a video below, and although it wasn't the one we attended it made us laugh so hard that we had to purchase it. If you somehow make it threw the video without getting downright hysterical, then there is just something seriously wrong with you.

**I should warn you, put down all drinks, and make sure you have gone to the bathroom before you attempt to watch this.

Now that you have been entertained, I will actually get to the point of my post. One thing very unique about the Comedy Barn is that is was wholesome family comedy. You didn't have to worry about the F-bomb getting thrown all over the place nor did you have to explain to your kids that a blow-job is actually when people get a job at a car wash and they blow the cars dry at the end of it. (You think I am kidding?) They somehow were able to make everyone of us, from three different generations laugh our butts off, and at the same time pride themselves on their family styled comedy. Half way through the show, they honored the veterans for their service and had them stand up to be recognized. What a sense of pride and thankfulness I felt at that moment. It hit me somewhere throughout the show that this NEVER would have worked in New Jersey. Besides the fact that they had cloggers and sung about a "Tender Tennessee Christmas" the reaction of the people back home would not have been the same. Northerners would have thought it hokey and probably made fun of everything they were doing. You might be asking yourself well, you are a northerner, so why didn't you? Even if you weren't particularly asking yourself that, I will tell you anyway. My family is southerners in disguise. We are so out of place up here in liberal valley it's like the show, The Beverly Hillbillies. So when we have a chance to visit the south, it is almost like coming home.

The next show we attended was The Black Bear Jamboree. A magical night, but another example of how very different the north and south are. People were polite and pleasant, not the usual...."Follow me" you get, like this is the last place they want to be, when we were getting seated. The show was full of singing, dancing and dare I say it...... GOSPEL. They actually celebrated the real reason for the season. They sung about the birth of Christ and it was a very poignant reminder to everyone there that Christmas had nothing to do with lights, tinsel, gifts and stockings and everything to do with Jesus' birth.

There wasn't one thing in particular that made me realize how very different it was between the north and south. It was as if we were visiting a totally different country. Southern hospitality is a living, breathing thing and this experience really restored my hope in America. I realized that the values and beliefs that are non-existent up here are bountiful down there and it just confirmed how much harder I needed to work with my kids, on instilling those same values. It's a difficult task I have ahead of me, when so many of their friends, are very different than what I expect of Anthony and Nicholas.

Being from the north doesn't make you a bad person, just as being from the south doesn't make you a good one, but there was just a fundamental attitude that was very different between the two places. The atmosphere here in Jersey, is stifling, it is crowded and people are just not friendly. They seem to have the "What can you do for me attitude", where as in the south, it felt more like "What can I do for you?" The atmosphere down in Tennessee was just genuine and welcoming and the people actually were polite and used phrases like "thank you" or "yes ma'am." Sometimes I feel downright lost up here. The people, the places, the values, and the atmosphere are so completely different. God seems to be welcomed down there, wherever you are, while here, He is only allowed certain places. Sometimes southerners get a bad reputation but I truly think that we would all be a lot more content if we took some lessons from them. Especially that southern drawl......that was music to my ears!

The mountains all around, reminded us every day of the beauty God has bestowed upon us. You could see HIs beauty in the clouds that floated over the mountaintop and the trickling streams running throughout the mountains. There was a sense of peace there that I have never found anywhere else. The air was fresh and clean and it was a wonder how the simple act of breathing felt so good. As I sit here in yankee-land, I am thankful for the memories that I will always hold with me and I hope those that are able to experience that beauty and magnificence every day, appreciate what they have been so blessed with.

Cross posted at Palace For A Princess


The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Sorry you had to leave our reality to return to yours Jenn. I was raised in California and full understand what you mean.

I moved to the South kicking and screaming when I was a Sophomore in High School at my Dads insistance as he tried to quell personal demons of alcohol by moving to his roots.

I have never looked back and won't. The south has a charm that is found nowhere else in America. Sure we have our problems, but yes ma'm and yes sir are common place and hospitality is the norm not the exception.

Also EVERY show I have attaended in the South regardless of where it is has reference to God and especially at Christmas when the birth of Christ is forefront in the show.

I knew you would love it up there having lived only a few miles down the road in Hendersonville, NC for several years myself. We made Pidgeon Forge and area a regular trip and I loved every visit.

My mother lived in Rhode ISland before she passedin 2005 and I also understand the difference in the additude of people in the North.

We have a huge transplant retired Northern population in Myrtle Beach and it does not take long before they adopt the down home additude found here even with the large Northern transplants.

There are plenty of opprotunities and room for you and your family to make this area home and live in our reality whenever you want !

Remember also that the South did not elect Obama!!!!!!

rockync said...

In truth, liberals and moderates live in the South along with conservatives and spirited debates abound when we get to election time; both local and national, but, you are correct that Southern living is different from anywhere else in the country. It's like stepping back in time; although we have all the modern conveniences, folks still gather on porches on summer nights for sweet tea and a chat. And most folks say "hey" in the store or on the street. There is a cadence to the South you will either love or hate - I don't think there is anything in between!
Me, I love North Carolina and I'll be right where I'm at, forever.
I'm glad you enjoyed your stay and were able to make such happy memories here.

TLLTCT - Not quite accurate - North Carolina, Virginia and Florida all voted for Obama.

Anonymous said...

Ken, the temptation to move there is enormous! If it weren't for family here, we would be down there in a heartbeat. The South does have a charm....nice way to put it! It doesn't surprise me one bit that you have a lot of Northern implants there, it has a way of drawing you in and making it so you just don't want to leave.

Rocky, I know that there are liberals and moderates down South just like there are conservatives in the North. (although they are certainly a minority up here) I was just making a generalized statement that there are so many differences between the two places. I can picture meeting on the porches and sharing a nice cold glass of sweet tea. (sigh) They spoiled me for tea up here!

Is Florida considered "Southern?" For some reason it just doesn't seem to fit everything I've seen the last week.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Rockync, I stand corrected. You are right three southern states lost their senses in this election and went for Obama!

I beleive that Florida is actually southern NY and Jersey!

Jenn - You and your family are welcome here anytime you wish. Oh I quess I should have said "y'all."

Never really picked up the drawl but did pick up the rest!. Except for grits, collards and sweet potatoes. Those are southern, "treats," that I can do without!

Been in the south since 1973 and will be here until.......

rockync said...

Well, to be fair, Florida is usually referred to as the southern most Northen state - soooo, I guess, technically Florida doesn't count (but don't tell the native crackers that!)
You realize that New Jersey is only like 6 hours from North Carolina? Your Jersey relatives can visit and some of them will probably follow you down.
We have a lot to offer you know and I'm a real estate broker so I'm a good resource... :)

rockync said...

TLLTCT - whether we "lost our senses" or not is more a matter of perspective and see my comment above in regards to Florida. Poor Florida! They get no respect!
I'm with you on grits; can't stand 'em, never could. Sweet potatoes I can take or leave, but I do love my greens cooked with a little fatback.
Probably the favorite breakfast at my house is sausage gravy and bisquits. I make a slightly darker gravy rather than the white which I find too bland.
Then there's pecan pie and fried apple pies...
(Can you tell I'm hungry - I'm just getting ready to go grocery shopping, LOL!)

Robert said...

Jennnifer, I am happy that my Tennessee brethren did us proud. You and I have talked a little about the differences in northern states and southern ones, and you hit it exactly right early in this post: "...born and bred into them..." There are rules here, rules of civility and rules of grace. Even among southerners there are distinctions, but among the most gracious of the old south is the way we insult people. "Bless her heart, she just can't put down that bottle, can she?" and calling someone an alcoholic yet preserving good form.

People do make fun of the south, in movies and on television, probably conversations among your neighbors. We don't care much. The night we moved in this home the neighbors to the left brought a HUGE plate of brownies, baked the moment the truck pulled up to the curb. They were right out of the oven. The neighbors two houses down brought their whole family to meet and help take a few things off the truck. The neighbor to the right cut our grass that weekend because we were unpacking, and because seven days later I had to leave for six weeks for work. Before a month was out, we had been invited for dinner, shared tea on the back porch of neighbors, and we know the names and children of every family for a half mile each way. The phone rings at 200 am to check the garage next door because the husband it out of town, or to pick up a sick child from school because mom is on a sales meeting an hour away - we do these things for each other routinely.

Christmas Eve day last year I spent running a chainsaw where a storm had dropped three 50 ft pine trees on the neighbors fence. I could go on and on, but life here is about people. We aren't perfect, we aren't saints, but we are 60 years behind NYC and NJ and LA, and I am proud of it.

The secret is hot water. I told you.

We do accept transplants, but there is a test to remain longer than 60 days. We take illegal immigration from north of Virginia very seriously.

I am glad you had a good trip. Next time, venture into the Heart of Dixie and take in the sugar white sands of Gulf Shores...Bring alot of clothes, because I promise you won't go back.

TAO said...

I consider "home" to be Door County, Wisconsin, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world (called the Cape Cod of the mid west...its the part of Wisconin that is the finger that sticks out into Lake Michigan).

Now, I would be the first to admit, having lived in Pigeon Forge for awhile and in Kentucky for over 20 years that southerners are more friendly and open.

But I also believe, as the town I live in which has grown from a population of 23,000 to 63,000 the friendliness is tied to the size.

My little hometown in Wisconsin is just just as god fearing and beautiful as any southern town....maybe not as warm initially but more than willing to help when needed.

Don't forget that Pigeon Forge, like my hometown derives all its income from tourists...so they have to be friendlier....who has ever said, "...We are going to New Jersey for our vacation" (or for others,"...we are going to Ohio...." :)

Anyway, glad you had a great time....and that climb reminds me of my parents back yard....and my Dad was always working on something he called "erosion control"

Robert said...

Erosion control...LMAO. That would be what some moron did 200 years ago when he planted kudzu....that worked about like a lead balloon and now it has taken over! I have to do erosion control at my place...I was scouting out holes for my Christmas trees earlier...

And while PF and other places thrive on tourism, there is no difference between there and my home. It has something to to with the size, but I can find places smack dab in the middle of Birmingham that you will find the same courtesy.

rockync said...

I'm with Robert on the issue of civility and neighborly concern. Whether in a small town or larger city, by and large, if you are in the South you will find more of that type of open friendliness and willingness to help. I'll admit I've been in more remote areas where there is a closing of ranks and clannishness, but as roads are built and inroads like the internet are made, these isolated onclaves are getting rarer all the time. I don't think of Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg as towns so much as amusement parks. You really can't get a real measure of the South from places like that.
And Robert, you captured that "we're all in this together" attitude of the South with your moving in stories.
One neighbor came over to drive out a snake from my mudroom. In later years, I drove his wife to the hospital to fetch him when he had a fainting spell at work and then my husband and I got his car from work. And my other neighbor offered us some wood from his tree trimmings which we could use for kindling for our wood stove and when we got home from work, it was all stacked next to my pump house. No matter where I go; the store, gas station, the doctor's office, there is always someone with whom to exchange a few words. I think we have something special and unique here that you just don't find anywhere else in the country. Which is not to say that there aren't great towns with good nieghbors in New Jersey or Wisconsin, but it's just not the same.
And I'm still laughing over Robert's "bless her heart" insult! There is no place like the South to be insulted in such a nice way!
BTW, Robert - the Gulf Shore might be a great place for a meet! :)

Gayle said...

An outstanding post, Jennifer, and it's true that there is a completely different attitude here in the south. That's why we decided to retire here in Central Texas. It's true that the South has maintained a pride of country and a culture from an earlier time. People who don't even know each other greet each other. I'm glad Walt and I chose to retire here.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Jennifer. We don't know exactly what 2009 will bring (other than Obama) but I can say one thing with certainty... it's not going to be a boring year.

TAO said...


I told my dad that people who live on a side of a mountain should not be cutting down trees....

But he did...

Robert...Birmingham? I know places in Birmingham that one should not be caught alone in after dark! :)

But if you ever get a chance go to Bessemer City and eat at the Bright Star restaurant....

Its a classic

Robert said...

Tao, I am in Helena, just a few miles from the Bright Star. Most places in Birmingham should be avoided after dark, but there are no finer places on earth than Children's Hospital which we utilize theie services regularly, or Samford University, or the McWane Center. We seek refuge in Shelby County by dark most times...lol.

Regarding cutting trees, my lot is just off the crest of a hill, and slopes down from the back of the house. There are enormous tress there and the two tallest ones in my yard are these twin pines that are probably 60 ft tall. Unfortunately, both are dying and I am going to have to drop them.

I won't replace them with kudzu....

TAO said...

Yes, in the mid 90's made two trips a year to Birmingham for a dog show held at Fair Park Arena....