No, Ma’am!

 

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Not to sound like a bragger, cause no one likes a bragger, but…..it’s 60 degrees here today in Charleston, in mid-December. And while it seems to be the rainy season down here, not one drop of rain fell this fine day. Taking a break from work, eager to get out and enjoy this phenomenal weather, I took a really long walk with my dog around my quiet neighborhood. I could actually smell dirt in the air. You know that smell of earth that comes in spring (if you a northerner) or here I guess, always? It was heaven.

Moving from Amsterdam where the rain is too commonplace, and Boston before that where snow and frigid temps can keep you inside and feeling down, I am finding a spring in my step these days to match the smell outside. Why didn’t we move here years ago?

While the impact of bad weather can make one think and feel in negative terms the positive impact of great weather at this time of year in Charleston, I find more than surprising. Of course I knew it would be better. But there’s knowing it and then there’s living it. Living it is much better. I am converted. When can I start calling myself a southerner? I think I need to live here a tad longer.

I still haven’t gotten used to folks calling me Ma’am. Northerners teach their kids to say, “Yes, please” and “No, thank you” as respectful responses. Down here it’s “Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Sir.” To my ears this still sounds foreign and extremely formal, but I like it. I must admit when I first started hearing it I felt very old. To me, someone calling me Ma’am meant that I was a married old woman. Since this is certainly not the case, my ears must still be in training.

Noticeably different and gladly received are the smiles and friendly hellos all around. No doubt, cause the weather is having a positive impact. Not to mention how it feels to be outside smelling spring in winter. You can actually share more than just a quick hello with a neighbor or acquaintance when passing cause you’re not running somewhere to escape the wind, rain, snow or freezing temperatures. I am beginning to understand why northerners are always in such a hurry.

As a hockey mom, I adapted to the freezing cold. For years, in every season I drove around with a long down coat and UGGs in my car for the rink I would inevitably be entering to watch my son play hockey. I didn’t realize at the time what these items were doing to my psyche. My mother used to say, “It’s never bad weather, just bad clothing.” I am sure she said this to get us four kids out of the house, in all kinds of wretched weather. If my mom, who only lived in the north were alive, I would be informing her that “No, Ma’am, it IS bad weather, it’s just stuck up there.

 

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