Culture Shock: A Yankee Meets The South

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*I actually wrote this years ago, but the story is still funny, so enjoy! ☺️

Plenty of factors are to blame for my decision to make the all-emcombassing move from Pennsylvania to unfamilar Arkansas, a sliver of the deep south previously nonexistent to me. College, the companionship of my mother and most of all, a much needed change of scenery, all pushed me to pack up my life and journey twenty hours away from all I knew and loved. But let’s be clear: in no way did I want to BECOME Southern; who I am remains the same regardless of my surroundings. But I took a leap of faith and landed in a place so different that it still continues to shock me. Oh, the experiences of a yankee who crosses way beyond the Mason-Dixon…
On my first Saturday as an actual Arkansas resident, I found myself slumped in the backseat of my step-father’s Volkswagen Jetta, stroking the chilled, nubby surface of the armrest, staring out the window at what seemed like some sort of naturally occuring wasteland: brown lumpy rows of mush running along side one another, one after the next forming a muddy stew blanketing mile after mile of barren fields, stretching as far as I could see in all directions. I would soon learn that this hideous landscape was actually acres and acres of rice fields, a staple of the state and the cornerstone of this area. This was the ‘duck hunting capital of the world’: a city better known as Stuttgart, Arkansas. 
I was informed, or rather warned, by my mother upon my arrival that our presence was expected at a party being thrown by Dave’s fellow employees. After all, his position was the reason he and my mother had relocated south to begin with. After much debate and floundering on my own accord, I had made the trek and was en route to what was to be my first true taste of Arkansas living. It turns out this party was in fact a ‘crawfish boil’ and was being held at the company’s ‘duck camp’. Both of these terms were new to my vocabulary and definitely a mystery to me. What sort of secret backwoods tradition could I possibly be getting myself into? Images of ducks running wild through campsites complete with tents, lanterns and smores flooded my mind, but I hadn’t the slightest inkling as to what this ‘crawfish’ nonsense could be; I was unable to find any memory in which to associate with that term. 
Fresh off the plane, soaking in all my obvious Yankee glory, I watched these rice fields whizzing past, shocked by the utter desolation of this place. Never had I been forced to travel longer than ten minutes (and that’s being generous) to reach some sort of convenience, better known to me as civilization, in its most basic form. I was certain we hadn’t passed a single store in atleast half an hour, not even your basic 7-11. I wondered where these poor fools who had actually chosen to reside here got their toilet paper. What if they craved a Dr. Pepper at 10 PM or ran out of coffee in the morning? My mother sensed my disbelief and made some sort of joke that was hilarious to us, but probably would have offended these folks that must enjoy living so far off the beaten path. 
After one misstep in our directions forced us to turn around in a tiny town called Holly Grove (sounds like a serial killer hot spot, if you ask me), which was basically a handful of crumbling buildings and two old men sitting on a bench in what I guessed to be the ‘town square’, we were finally arriving at our destination, which instantly erased all of my previous expectations of ‘duck camp’. We pulled up to a cabin situated on some sort of waterway, surrounded by woods and dusty terrain. Why this place wasn’t simply referred to as a cabin, (which is exactly what it was) was beyond me, but this was only the beginning of what is now a daily reminder of the stark differences between two opposite regions of the same country. Duck camp or cabin, it was a very nice property, filled with mounted animals and stories of hunts long since past. I was reminded of the weeks I spent at my uncle’s cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania, but this scenery was vastly different, including the high temperature and sticky heat that smacked me in the face upon exiting the comfort of the air-conditioned car. Yes, there’d be plenty to get used to in my new environment.
Dave was bombarded by friends seemingly ecstatic at his arrival. I was introduced to a number of nice people, who seemed to immediately identify that I was not from around here, even before my ‘accent’ came into play. There were some lawn chairs, a few kids messing around on four-wheelers caked in mud, and even a few smiles lacking a tooth or two. I can remember smiling to myself at the unexpected conformation of my expectations (with no malicious intent, of course). Our new companions commented on my poor choice in clothing for such an occasion (I was wearing white shorts, mind you) and delighted in the fact that I had no clue as to what to expect from any of the day’s activities. The Arkansans had obviously dressed in what I guessed was more appropriate attire: various Razorback shirts, shorts, camoflage in many forms and of course, a hat atop each and every head. But the ensemble of the woman I met next was downright comical. In a long black dress, large decorative hat, plenty of gaudy jewelry and (you’re kidding me, right?) white PANTY HOSE with clunky sandals, she explained that she’s who made the fried pies on the table and gave me a once over I would have expected from someone in a far better role in which to judge. I’m almost positive it was damn near 100 degrees and she was in panty hose and what could have been a blanket. I’ve come to learn that supposedly some Southern women are old-fashioned that way. I’ll take my white shorts any day, thank you very much.
After a barrage of questions and plenty of “say this!” “say that!”, followed by rolling laughter at my family’s ‘yankee accent’ (didn’t they know it was THEM who had the accent?!), it was time to feast. Ah, the time had come to find out about this mysterious ‘crawfish boil’. 
As it turns out, most of the food was downright fabulous: huge pots filled with crawfish, corn, potatoes and sausage, all doused in spicy seasoning with all the trimmings. Although definitely unlike the seafood I so cherish back home, I had no complaints. Well, just one: just how do I go about eating one of these little suckers? 
Ask anyone who has even dined on hardshell crabs with me: I can pick apart crabs like a champion, lightning fast, effective and without waste of any kind. It’s a family tradition and I do it with pride. But these tiny crawfish had no clear point of entry; there was no obvious plan of attack. It was time for my next lesson in the ways of the South. Spoken in a slow, twangy drawl, my directions were to crack the mudbug in half and suck the meat straight out of its head. 
Um, excuse me? As horrifying as this process seemed in theory, it actually proved to be quite effective. But even after I was successful in this ‘head-sucking’ hilarity, I munched on mostly corn, potatoes and peach fried pies for the rest of the meal. Covering my face in crawfish juice was something I only needed to experience a time or two.
With full bellies and plenty of liquid courage, the evening festivities at the ‘duck camp’/cabin commenced. More four-wheeling (which I politely declined thanks to my white shorts and favorite flat sandals), some fishing off the ricketey dock and even a few fireworks. As homesick as I was for my Northern roots, this day of introduction to a Southern style hayday was certainly a pleasant one. Worth the ridiculous drive to the middle of who knows where? Debatable, but you’d hear no complaints from me. Atleast until the drive home. I would definitely regret all that soda I drank when there’s no place with indoor plumbing for miles.
For this Yankee’s first weekend in her new Southern home, the crawfish boil was filled with humor, introduction, and the start of what has become a life that is still a constant state of culture shock, even after all of the years I’ve logged here. There are plenty of Southern ways that still confuse me, surprise me, make me laugh or even make me cringe, but as far as a place to be, the ‘dirty’ south is a comfortable homestead. I am proud of my Northern upbringing, and although I’ll never believe in vast close-mindedness, their conservative lifestyles or (call me crazy) closed liquor stores on Sundays, and I’ll never be caught dead in panty hose, or see the necessity in churches the size of the White House, but I’ll admit I like calling Arkansas home. My ‘yankee accent’ is far from a ‘southern twang’, but a blending of these two wild and weird cultures make for a life I can surely be content with.

Pregnancy and Pot: The Magic of Mixing Motherhood and Marijuana

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First thing’s first: There’s no denying that my love affair with marijuana began long before I’d ever even considered having a child. While my high school friends were always searching for a place to get drunk, I was the girl perfectly content with driving around on the (supposedly) haunted backroads of my hometown, puffing on some green leafy magic and feeling like that very moment was the happiest of my life and that the universe was alive with wonder just for me. Sure, I’m sure part of that was knowing I was young and alive and had no real worries in the world. But my almost instant realization that this substance that everyone treated like a terrible drug wasn’t really a drug at all but a miraculous product of nature, was instantaneous and everlasting.

Even long after the days of typical rebellious teenage behavior had run their course, I was still very much ‘proud to be a pothead’. I didn’t really know when I was young, but my love for marijuana didn’t actually begin with me. In fact, it seems to be in my blood: there’s more relatives that use cannabis in my family than there are that don’t. I didn’t exactly ever have my parents’ ‘permission’, but I know they knew what their oldest daughter was up to and were actually much happier knowing I wasn’t out drinking and driving. But it makes me think back to one particular incident when I was 17 and was pulled over and ultimately found to be in possession of a small amount of pot. Looking back, I was beyond lucky (they confiscated my stuff and called my parents) and understood why my daddy yelled at me from the front seat “WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS, SARAH? THAT 70’S SHOW?! YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS JUST OUT GETTING HIIIIIIGH?!” in his best angry tone. But no matter what the situation, I just didn’t see things that way. How is it possible that anyone could see anything wrong with getting high? Or with using a resource provided to us by nature, with zero chemicals (or destroyed livers)?! I knew my choice to use marijuana was the right one and I’d tell that to anyone who asked (which is EXACTLY what I’m still doing today!). I truly believe I found cannabis for a reason, as did so many others, and it hasn’t left my life since, and never will.
I mentioned my younger self’s brush with the law because it makes me think of what the future might be for our children. Fast forward ten years, and here I am with a husband and a child of my own, something that I wasn’t exactly sure would ever be in my future. My family teased me for years about my lack of maternal instincts (all because I hated babies on airplanes and constant annoying questions!), but learning I was pregnant really was incredible. I was a different from other typical expecting mothers from the start (that’s just how I roll!), like finding the need to make a ‘birth plan’ utterly ridiculous and reading my unborn son Hunter S. Thompson while I felt him kick and wiggle in my belly. But I did the obvious: took my prenatel vitamins, stopped all alcohol consumption (which was basically nonexistent anyway), and tried to eat and sleep better than usual. But what about smoking weed? The thought of stopping literally NEVER crossed my mind and I felt no shame in it. I know pregnant women who would never admit to using cannabis, but I was proud of my choice and I’ll tell anyone who is willing to listen. 

My pregnancy was literally the perfect example of why EVERY woman should have cannabis in their arsenal: I had no morning sickness. I actually had an appetite. I was chill and happy literally all the time. I slept like a champ and I had no postpartum depression issues afterwards, which can be so heartbreaking and scary.

Unfortunately, because the only information out there on marijuana’s affects on growth and development of a child and/or mother during pregnancy is almost never relevant or even factual. Information online ranges from old school, moral biased ‘preaching’ about fearing the reefer, to articles basically shaming any expecting mother for even thinking of using a *gasp* illegal drug (that we all should accept is classified incorrectly by now!) When my doctor asked me the normal questions about my lifestyle, I didn’t lie. Instead, I told her outright that I use marijuana on a daily basis and have for basically over 10 years. I expected a look of judgment at the very least, but to my surprise, she embraced me and said that telling me to stop outright would be much harder on my now ever changing body and that I should keep doing what makes me the most comfortable. If I had previously had any sort of doubt in my decision, it was now dead and buried. 

Fast forward nine long months and my husband and I were blessed were a perfect, healthy, beautiful baby boy, weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs 11 oz (so much for all that nonsense I read about the dangers of underweight babies with cannabis use!) with big bright eyes and dimples identical to his daddy’s. From the moment we brought him home, he blessed us with his forever happy demeanor and love to sleep, even through the night. All that shaming I read about pregnancy and weed? Nonsense. My baby was healthy, happy and would only continue to do so. He didn’t get a cold till he was almost eight months old, barely cried and would eat and sleep like a grown man, all without that gross spit up phase most babies go through. Then, before we knew it, he was a year old and walking, absorbing every word and place we went, all while always maintaining such a pleasant and sweet personality.

My only slight point of questioning myself was earlier this year while I waited for what seemed like months for my son to really talk. He said lots of single words, but would never string them together or fully express himself. And because all moms seem to love to torture themselves by comparing their child to others, I was worried that somehow something I did or was doing was contributing to his lack of speech. I read to him everyday, and tried my best to speak slowly on his level, often naming every object in a room. My family always reassured me, explaining that my husband and I talk so much that Carson didn’t really need to speak much (truth!), or that all those crazy noises he was constantly making were the verge of a ‘word explosion’. And just like they predicted, he literally woke up one morning and decided to show off all those conversations he’d be saving to have with us. And now we can’t get our friendly little chatterbox to stop talking, he’s even been known to show off his singing skills.

I felt the need to share my personal experience because the subject is still so taboo, and perhaps with more awareness will come more acceptance, which could very well lead to that big social change in perception that the marijuana legalization movement needs. I’m a firm believer that moms are the key in the ending of cannabis prohibition: now more than ever, moms are taking matters of their childrens’ health into their own hands and witnessing incredible results with the use of medicinal cannabis. It’s use to battle some seriously traumatic health issues experienced by truly suffering children is amazing and has been known to literally reverse the effects of multiple diseases and injury, improving quality of life and sometimes curing them all together. More mothers need to support these amazing results and push to move away from the chemicals pushed on us and our families by Big Pharma. Recognize that this beautiful gift of nature is about so much more than getting high, and stop making families live in fear because they are doing whatever possible to help their children, even if that way is not yet legal nationwide. And if you’re like me, a mother and wife who discovered long ago that marijuana was just meant for me; don’t be ashamed that while other mothers drink a glass of wine or three to wind down, you simply smoke a bowl. After all, I dare anyone to say they’re more ‘in the moment’ with their kids than I am, and I dare them to claim that alcohol is safer than marijuana in any instance, kids or no kids. My amazing bond with Carson is the only reassurance I need that I’m doing NOTHING wrong.  

 

Happy mom, happy kid: from conception, to toddler, to teenager and all the years in between. Do your thing, marijuana loving mom! You’re doing it right, I promise!

Who We Once Were and Where We Might Go

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I should probably start off by saying that I don’t consider myself a religious person. I was baptized Catholic, but my parents were always open-minded; I have almost zero memories of being at church on Sundays, and our version of saying grace before dinner was the classic “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food…” rhyme said by my sister or me. I guess we were the kind of people who showed up for the important stuff (I still enjoy a beautiful midnight mass on Christmas Eve!) but church just wasn’t a priority in my upbringing. As I got older, there was never an ounce of pressure from my family to live the way the Lord wished, or to do the ‘godly’ thing and go to church every single Sunday and stay after for a session in the confessional (to this day, I’m extremely thankful for this, and will allow my son to make decisions on his faith in the same manner.) But although my faith isn’t a huge factor in my life, and being Catholic technically means you’re Catholic and ONLY Catholic and ALWAYS will be, as well as your entire family (if you’re a crazy Catholic as well, you know what I’m talking about…) but I would say there’s bits and pieces from various religions or spiritual beliefs that I find very intriguing. And although a lot of the teachings are practically the opposite of what I may or may not have learned being Catholic, I seem to most identify with a lot of the beliefs of Buddhism or Hinduism. I find peace and comfort from the universe, nature, positive vibes and good karma. It actually kind of blows my mind how the messages resonate with me; there’s nothing complicated to the spiritual philosophy ‘When I do good, I feel good and when I do bad, I feel bad type of religion.
I’ve always had a fascination with the concept of a “Past Life”. I think it’s possible that our soul is so much more than the body it happens to reside in: it feels possible to me that I may have existed elsewhere at another time, and may even exist again, even though I’ve got plenty of life left to live, of course. I went through a lot of ‘phases‘ in my younger years; for instance, I basically lived each day for Catwoman. I had a Catwoman theme birthday party, a Catwoman bike, Catwoman footie pajamas and some days even made my mom call me Catwoman at all times. (Oh, for the love of funny memories…I’m chuckling like a school girl thinking about that). I was in third grade when my “hippie phase” hit me. Hard. I loved the Gerry Bears (a Grateful Dead icon) and bought the plushes in plenty of colors. I immediately wanted anything with a peace sign or a VW Beetle on it. I dreamed of rocking at Woodstock and putting flowers in soldiers’ guns while protesting Vietnam. I wanted every T-shirt in my closet to be tie-dye and all my jeans to be flared, with a ying-yang patch on the knee for good measure. I was definitely a suburban flower (very young) child. It was funny to my parents, and went on for quite some time, as did other phases. But then, years later, my dreams started to take on a 60s-like feel. By this time, I had learned a little more about that point in history and felt drawn to the events that unfolded during those times and places. But there was definitely more to it than make-believe: I’d wake up and fully remember my surroundings (including watching Jimi Hendrix play the ‘Star Spangled Banner early in the morning at Woodstock, or exploring the theories of Timothy Leery) and believed whole-heartedly in being ‘Far out, man. But even beyond that, I feel a connection to that time in history. The music, the culture, the revolution, the rebelliousness. Not to mention the weed. Do I one hundred percent believe I was really there? Maybe not, but I don’t think it’s totally impossible, either. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and I feel I can identify with that (far more than I find myself identifying with Catholicism, anyway). Plus, I’m a big fan of enlightment through experience, instead of ‘repent for all you’ve done, and you might reach nirvana. Ugh.
Plus, I’m a big fan of belief in the unknown. Conspiracies, ghosts among us, aliens-I love to theorize about what goes against the norm (by the way, if you actually think that our tiny planet is the only place with life in the entire gargantuan universe surrounding us, then you are an idiot. I hope someday you have an experience like Christopher Columbus when he did NOT sail off the edge of the ‘flat’ Earth. No offense ☺️) and wondering about the sort of powers the universe holds that those who aren’t looking would never see. I think that’s why I have some disdain towards organized religion: I don’t like the “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality, the “none of this incredible beauty around us would be possible without God” riffraff, or the “This is what the Bible says, therefore it MUST be true!” rantings (If ANYONE thinks I’d be totally down for being “beneath” my husband because that’s the word of the Lord, or that it’s ok to burn books because their content might go against the moral guidance of the Bible, let me tell you: THERE IS SIMPLY NO WAY IN HELL.) I feel connected with a higher power when I see a beautiful night sky full of stars, when I’m quietly meditating and reading something fabulous, or when my son points at the sun and smiles back at me. Heaven means something different to everyone, but especially to those who choose to look at it beyond pearly gates or God perched on a cloud. To me, I see heaven every time the night is clear and millions of twinkling stars shine brightly with the moon, a mere glimpse of the improbable beauty that lies beyond it.
I seem to be rambling, but all that really needs to be said is imagine the possibilities if others weren’t so confined by their particular set of beliefs. Whether you see a higher power is a magestic man watching us from above, or believe that with good karma comes Samsāra (cycles of rebirth), life is what you make it, so enjoy it while you’re here!
…I know my hippie self did, and so shall I! 😄

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A Tale of Culture Shock

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We’re moving this week, and I hate packing! So to distract myself, I thought I’d post a piece I wrote on one of my first days in Arkansas after moving here from Pennsylvania. The cultural differences that exist within the boundaries of our own country are fascinating. Enjoy! 🙂

Plenty of factors are to blame for my decision to make the all-emcombassing move from Pennsylvania to unfamilar Arkansas, a sliver of the deep south previously nonexistent to me. College, the companionship of my mother and most of all, a much needed change of scenery, all pushed me to pack up my life and journey twenty hours away from all I knew and loved. But let’s be clear: in no way did I want to BECOME Southern; who I am remains the same regardless of my surroundings. But I took a leap of faith and landed in a place so different that it still continues to shock me. Oh, the experiences of a yankee who crosses way beyond the Mason-Dixon…

On my first Saturday as an actual Arkansas resident, I found myself slumped in the backseat of my step-father’s Volkswagen Jetta, stroking the chilled, nubby surface of the armrest, staring out the window at what seemed like some sort of naturally occuring wasteland: brown lumpy rows of mush running along side one another, one after the next forming a muddy stew blanketing mile after mile of barren fields, stretching as far as I could see in all directions. I would soon learn that this hideous landscape was actually acres and acres of rice fields, a staple of the state and the cornerstone of this area. This was the ‘duck hunting capital of the world’: a city better known as Stuttgart, Arkansas.

I was informed, or rather warned, by my mother upon my arrival that our presence was expected at a party being thrown by Dave’s fellow employees. After all, his position was the reason he and my mother had relocated south to begin with. After much debate and floundering on my own accord, I had made the trek and was en route to what was to be my first true taste of Arkansas living. It turns out this party was in fact a ‘crawfish boil’ and was being held at the company’s ‘duck camp’. Both of these terms were new to my vocabulary and definitely a mystery to me. What sort of secret backwoods tradition could I possibly be getting myself into? Images of ducks running wild through campsites complete with tents, lanterns and smores flooded my mind, but I hadn’t the slightest inkling as to what this ‘crawfish’ nonsense could be; I was unable to find any memory in which to associate with that term.

Fresh off the plane, soaking in all my obvious Yankee glory, I watched these rice fields whizzing past, shocked by the utter desolation of this place. Never had I been forced to travel longer than ten minutes (and that’s being generous) to reach some sort of convenience, better known to me as civilization, in its most basic form. I was certain we hadn’t passed a single store in atleast half an hour, not even your basic 7-11. I wondered where these poor fools who had actually chosen to reside here got their toilet paper. What if they craved a Dr. Pepper at 10 PM or ran out of coffee in the morning? My mother sensed my disbelief and made some sort of joke that was hilarious to us, but probably would have offended these folks that must enjoy living so far off the beaten path.

After one misstep in our directions forced us to turn around in a tiny town called Holly Grove (sounds like a serial killer hot spot, if you ask me), which was basically a handful of crumbling buildings and two old men sitting on a bench in what I guessed to be the ‘town square’, we were finally arriving at our destination, which instantly erased all of my previous expectations of ‘duck camp’. We pulled up to a cabin situated on some sort of waterway, surrounded by woods and dusty terrain. Why this place wasn’t simply referred to as a cabin, (which is exactly what it was) was beyond me, but this was only the beginning of what is now a daily reminder of the stark differences between two opposite regions of the same country. Duck camp or cabin, it was a very nice property, filled with mounted animals and stories of hunts long since past. I was reminded of the weeks I spent at my uncle’s cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania, but this scenery was vastly different, including the high temperature and sticky heat that smacked me in the face upon exiting the comfort of the air-conditioned car. Yes, there’d be plenty to get used to in my new environment.

Dave was bombarded by friends seemingly ecstatic at his arrival. I was introduced to a number of nice people, who seemed to immediately identify that I was not from around here, even before my ‘accent’ came into play. There were some lawn chairs, a few kids messing around on four-wheelers caked in mud, and even a few smiles lacking a tooth or two. I can remember smiling to myself at the unexpected conformation of my expectations (with no malicious intent, of course). Our new companions commented on my poor choice in clothing for such an occasion (I was wearing white shorts, mind you) and delighted in the fact that I had no clue as to what to expect from any of the day’s activities. The Arkansans had obviously dressed in what I guessed was more appropriate attire: various Razorback shirts, shorts, camoflage in many forms and of course, a hat atop each and every head. But the ensemble of the woman I met next was downright comical. In a long black dress, large decorative hat, plenty of gaudy jewelry and (you’re kidding me, right?) white PANTY HOSE with clunky sandals, she explained that she’s who made the fried pies on the table and gave me a once over I would have expected from someone in a far better role in which to judge. I’m almost positive it was damn near 100 degrees and she was in panty hose and what could have been a blanket. I’ve come to learn that supposedly some Southern women are old-fashioned that way. I’ll take my white shorts any day, thank you very much.

After a barrage of questions and plenty of “say this!” “say that!”, followed by rolling laughter at my family’s ‘yankee accent’ (didn’t they know it was THEM who had the accent?!), it was time to feast. Ah, the time had come to find out about this mysterious ‘crawfish boil’.

As it turns out, most of the food was downright fabulous: huge pots filled with crawfish, corn, potatoes and sausage, all doused in spicy seasoning with all the trimmings. Although definitely unlike the seafood I so cherish back home, I had no complaints. Well, just one: just how do I go about eating one of these little suckers?

Ask anyone who has even dined on hardshell crabs with me: I can pick apart crabs like a champion, lightning fast, effective and without waste of any kind. It’s a family tradition and I do it with pride. But these tiny crawfish had no clear point of entry; there was no obvious plan of attack. It was time for my next lesson in the ways of the South. Spoken in a slow, twangy drawl, my directions were to crack the mudbug in half and suck the meat straight out of its head.

Um, excuse me? As horrifying as this process seemed in theory, it actually proved to be quite effective. But even after I was successful in this ‘head-sucking’ hilarity, I munched on mostly corn, potatoes and peach fried pies for the rest of the meal. Covering my face in crawfish juice was something I only needed to experience a time or two.

With full bellies and plenty of liquid courage, the evening festivities at the ‘duck camp’/cabin commenced. More four-wheeling (which I politely declined thanks to my white shorts and favorite flat sandals), some fishing off the ricketey dock and even a few fireworks. As homesick as I was for my Northern roots, this day of introduction to a Southern style hayday was certainly a pleasant one. Worth the ridiculous drive to the middle of who knows where? Debatable, but you’d hear no complaints from me. Atleast until the drive home. I would definitely regret all that soda I drank when there’s no place with indoor plumbing for miles.

For this Yankee’s first weekend in her new Southern home, the crawfish boil was filled with humor, introduction, and the start of what has become a life that is still a constant state of culture shock, even after all of the years I’ve logged here. There are plenty of Southern ways that still confuse me, surprise me, make me laugh or even make me cringe, but as far as a place to be, the ‘dirty’ south is a comfortable homestead. I am proud of my Northern upbringing, and although I’ll never believe in vast close-mindedness, their conservative lifestyles or (call me crazy) closed liquor stores on Sundays, and I’ll never be caught dead in panty hose, or see the necessity in churches the size of the White House, but I’ll admit I like calling Arkansas home. My ‘yankee accent’ is far from a ‘southern twang’, but a blending of these two wild and weird cultures make for a life I can surely be content with.

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