Southern Hospitality

Posted by on March 3, 2011 at 12:01 am :: No Comments

I only have one set of grandparents still living and their home is deep in the heart of rural Mississippi. They used to travel across the country every year to visit their grandkids here in Utah; it was a much anticipated reunion. Unfortunately, my sweet grandpa suffered a stroke last summer so driving thousands of miles isn’t in the cards for him right now. Since they couldn’t come to us, and we hadn’t been down to Mississippi for four or five years, we decided it was definitely time we paid them a visit.

It was so nice outside that we decided to relocate our card game to the backyard. After moths of relentless Utah winter I couldn't get enough of that sweet southern sunshine.

We didn’t “do” much while we were in the South. We spent most of our vacation chatting, going on walks, playing cards, watching movies, and eating. But doing “nothing” with my grandparents was a pleasure, especially with a warm sun shining overhead. The weather was extremely pleasant the whole time we were down there, even by Mississippi standards. I couldn’t resist wearing shorts even though my legs are currently a shade so pale they almost look lavender.

Those of you who haven’t visited the Deep South may not fully appreciate just how different the culture is there. Complete strangers wave at you as you drive by them or stop for a chat as they drive by you, trailer houses are almost as common as non-portable homes, time seems nonexistent because no one pays attention to it, English sounds very foreign and sometimes it’s undecipherable, practically everything is fried, even the tiniest of towns seem to contain innumerable churches, and everyone’s enormous yards look like they are in constant danger of being reclaimed by the dense woods bordering them.

My grandparent's took us to their favorite restaurant: The Pickle Barrel. There we ate a variety of fried fare including my favorites: catfish and hushpuppies.

It’s a unique place with a flavor and heritage all its own. Speaking of flavor…the South is all that when it comes to catfish, hushpuppies, cornbread, or carrot cake topped with fresh pecans from the yard. Those southerners know how to cook and I know how to eat so we get along alright.

It was an overdue visit and I’m so glad we finally made it down. Mississippi may not the center of sophistication but it’s home to some pretty fantastic grandparents and some pretty fantastic catfish.

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