Beaufort: a détente

by dixie

Although DC has characteristics of the South, and I spent my day in New York with a southern family, Beaufort was the first real Southern experience of the trip. I could taste the thunderstorms in the air when I went for my run, and I could hear my vowels lengthening in response to the voices around me. And I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I waded into (then back out of) small-town Southern life.

Something about Spanish moss triggers all kinds of feelings in me.

Walking along the seafront in Beaufort, enjoying the trees.

In the same way the Spanish moss dripping from the oak trees harbours colonies of hell-inducing chiggers, the slow, honeyed southern accent conceals a dark forest of nasty. The words are pretty but the sentiment can be unpleasant. In a town that sees more tourists and snowbirds than actual familiar faces, I can’t really blame people for being politely standoffish, but the effect was still striking. Beaufort was pretty and ostensibly welcoming, but we didn’t engage with each other. More that we tolerated each other while I did what needed to be done. We were civil, possibly even pleasant, and I’d like to think we appreciated the finer points of each other. We will likely never be friends, Beaufort and I.

Words to live by

I did manage to have a good conversation with the proprietors of a “charming” greasy-spoon diner set in an old schoolhouse, but it took a while for the warmth to creep into the conversation. We chatted easily with the other customer as well as the owner as our food was served, but by then I think I was ready to get out. Small Southern towns offer some beautiful things, things that can’t be found anywhere else, and that are infinitely delightful and valuable. I am happy to leave them for the people who live there, and get myself out of its hair. Atlanta was waiting for me.

I was lucky that it didn't rain.