Friday, September 26, 2014

The South Wind Blows

We have been on the road a week and are both tired. After traveling  through Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee Sergio and I have decided to spend an extra day in Nashville to relax, work on arranging photos, blog and hopefully do laundry.

For  this post, I selected a few pictures to share of the hundreds I have taken  not because they were the best compositions, but, due to fatigue, chose them almost at random. They are like several colored stones in a kaleidoscope, just fragments of one whirling design which makes up my impression of the South.

The first picture is of Sergio wearing his camouflage ball cap with an American flag embroidered on the brim I bought for him in a small restaurant in the Appalachian Mountains of Northern Georgia. He is sitting with a couple we met who were traveling on motorcycles from Virginia to Alabama. To meet some real natives when visiting a foreign country and to talk with them is a quality moment for a curious tourist. I listened to their conversation. The time was spent with a lot of good-hearted fun and hilarity since Sergio had some difficulty understanding their Southern drawl and idioms which they struggled to explain and they likewise made him repeat words to understand his English, spoken with Spanish accent.

The second photo was taken at a roadside stand also in Georgia. Such places sell pumpkins and gourds of all kinds, home made jellies and jams, fresh peanuts boiling in cajun sauce or salted water, fresh jerky and of course, fishing tackle and bait. It is a hub for local people to sit around and talk about huntin', work, and of course politics. When I purchased a ladle full of steaming nuts and asked the proprietor jokingly if my five dollar bill was any good, the old codger behind the register retorted. "Sure, as long as"Olbama's pikshur ain on it."

In the next shot, I have included a church sign of the Neverfail Community Church. It was next door to another church, The Free Will Baptist Church, which was not far from the Church of the Eternal Tabernacle of God's Blessed Children.  Sergio has discovered that the South has a whole lot of  religious fundamentalists and, although the people are not Catholic like Colombia, it has its own flavor of fervor. As a biologist, he has a strong understanding and commitment to the facts of evolution. In Florida, outside of Gainesville, he spied a giant billboard along  the major highway depicting a series of hunched over ape-like creatures followed by a human form in a circle with a slash through it. The caption read something like "Seek Truth in God's Plan."

The fourth photo needs to be looked at carefully. It is a spin on the bumper sticker that some peace -loving people have on their cars that says COEXIST using  symbols from the world's great religions. This bumper sticker I found attached to guard rail in North Carolina has the same message. However, the emblems representing the letters are made from the logos of gun manufacturers and the NRA. I certainly don't want to shoot myself in the foot by saying that most folks down here love their firearms and their rights, but a whole of them do. The gap of trust in the federal government seems pervasive. You can draw your own conclusions about why and where this will lead, but there is a nasty ignorant sentiment out there and I, for one, don't like it.

Finally, the last photo comes from a truck on I-40 in Tennessee. I have no idea why someone painted a raccoon on the back of the truck, but it certainly made me feel good. I wonder if there is a fleet of different animals. This is why I love to travel. I see the usual and the unusual.  I watch the landscape go by and remain appreciative.


  1. I know you guys are having a great trip and I'm so happy for both of you!! Have to admit, however, that if I had a choice, I would choose a different part of the country to travel across!!! But considering where it all started, there wasn't another choice! Hope you both get some rest before starting on the next adventure! Enjoy!!

  2. I'm very glad you explained that "Coexist" bumper sticker, because that picture really threw me! It looked somewhat familiar when I first looked at it, but not familiar enough that I could place it. Then after I read your post I enlarged the picture, and sure enough, it was just what you said it was. Don't those good ol' boys realize that the Second Amendment isn't the only amendment in the Bill of Rights? There are nine more of them!

    It sounds as though you feel as much like an alien in that part of the country as Sergio, maybe even more so. I have no doubt that I'd feel the same way. Right now I'm asking myself for the 100th time, "Why oh why didn't we just let them secede?"

    But that would be so unfair to my liberal, non-racist, non-fundamentalist Southern friends, who already feel isolated enough and who get very tired of the "redneck stereotype." They tell me all the time that's it's just that--a stereotype, and that not all Southerners are like that. But just like you and me, they also know the stereotype exists for a very good reason.