..Out here things are large. Large lake, large sky, large mountains. In the state of my birth, my Blue Ridge Old-Timers with their sloping shoulders really look their age compared to these perky pointed teenage peaks. I’m surrounded by the spacious sky’s and purple mountains that we sing about and I wonder, do the people here take that to heart? I wonder how much this expansiveness affects the folks that live out here. Do they live large too? Do they laugh louder, weep harder, think more in-depth, or feel more intensely? I wonder. Do they wake each morning and look up at their mountains and think, “God is really talented and I’m thankful that he painted this picture for me to relish in.” , each and every day? I wonder. Do the children raised here love their mountains as much as we love our ocean? Are they raised at an early age to play on these glistening ski trails just as we learn to frolic in our sometimes treacherous ocean waves? When they are away, do they miss the cold snow on their eye lashes as much as we miss the sand between our toes when we have to travel? I wonder. Out here they have their bison and elk while we have our Whitetails and turkeys, do they all taste just as wonderful cooked in their own regional way? I speculate on that too. They have their snowshoes while we have our flip-flops, are we both lost without them during certain times of the year? They dress in quilted vests and fur-lined boots while we have our shorts and shaging loafers, are they just as comfortable as we? Assuredly so, I assume.
These are hard-working folks out here. At least the ones I have had the opportunity to meet so far. They smile broadly and have firm handshakes. They are open and friendly and chuckle at my southern accent. “You’re not from out here are you?”, they ask. I drop my letters even more and say “Ya’ll” alot, when I am around non-southerners. It’s as if I want them to know that I’m “a stranger in a strange land” and wish to make it pointedly so. Talk to me, let me feel the differences between us. Are there any or are there many? I guess this comes from the fact that I have been more to the same places than I have to the different ones and I’m trying to play catch up. I listen hard for their “out here” accent, but find none. They do not say “Yippee ki yo yippee ki ay” nor is there much “Howdy Partner” going on either. Maybe I am too far north for that? Do you think? Out west to me is out west . It all gets lumped together. I shouldn’t do that I know. I’m sure they hate that just as much as we do in the South. I mean North Carolina is VASTLY different from South Carolina is it not? I think so. So I will try to find the true identity of each place that I visit. I may have to dig a little deeper. Perhaps ask some more questions. Listen a little harder for the “accent” in their voices. I want to discern the difference if there is one..or many. After all these are my fellow countymen…and I want to know them better. Wouldn’t you?