Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today's fortune: May 25, 2011

Today's fortune: Traveling to the south will bring you unexpected happiness.

My fortune is late tonight because Jamie and I were helping our friend, Kristen, move. Kristen lives to the south of us, so that pretty much wraps up this fortune, right?
Nah. I wouldn't do that to you.

I could also say that if I were to travel to the south, any happiness would be unexpected. Bada-bing!

Just kidding, Southern friends. I don't have anything against the American South, per se, but Jamie and I lived in a small southern town for about four months. The experience left a sour taste in our mouths, in large part because the people I was working for were monsters, but also because the town itself was so... strange, and completely backward from the way we had grown accustomed to living.

But we learned a lot living in the South. We learned that "Southern hospitality" is a myth. I'm not saying there aren't hospitable people who live in the South. There certainly are, just as there are in the North. But being Southern does not grant one hospitality. We met plenty of inhospitable Southerners who would talk sweet to your face and then stab you in the back.

The absolute worst part about our Southern town was that it was racially segregated. I'm not kidding. The town was divided by a railroad track, with all the white people on one side of the track and all the black people on the other side. When we first thought about moving down there, I phoned a realtor to help us find a house or apartment. I asked her about a certain house listed in the newspaper, and she replied, "Oh, you don't wanna live there, honey." Only later did I realize the realtor wouldn't show me that house because it was in the African American part of town.

I don't think I could live in a place like that long-term.

 Now I feel bad. I feel like you're gonna think I'm bashing the entire South because we had a bad experience in one Southern town. I have friends and family in the South. Some of my favorite relatives live in South Carolina. Jamie and I spent a terrific vacation in New Orleans last year. Hell, my favorite food, barbecue, has roots in the South - even though Kansas City perfected it. And even when we lived in that backward little town, Jamie and I loved, absolutely loved, spending time in Memphis.

And, of course, there's this: Jamie and I hope to retire to the South.

This fortune is saying a visit to the South would bring unexpected happiness. And Jamie and I have been hoping to take a trip down to South Carolina to visit those relatives. So maybe within the next year we'll be able to do that.

For now, let me leave you with a scary story.

On Sunday, Jamie and I took a road trip. We eventually traveled due east to Columbia, Mo., and meandered our way back home, stopping at wineries along the way. It was lovely, but it wasn't our first choice. Our original plan was to drive a few hours to see a mural by Thomas Hart Benton, the famous Kansas City artist Jamie and I both love.

The mural is called "Joplin at the Turn of the Century."


If we had headed south instead of east, Jamie and I may have still been in Joplin when the tornado struck. At least 125 people were killed and thousands more are still missing.

7 comments:

  1. Thomas Hart Benton is an awesome artist. And didn't he have something to do with the invention of the transcontinental railroad? Or maybe he just had something to do with the invention of transcontinental railroad paintings. I don't know for sure. Mike Mulcahy

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  2. Thomas Hart Benton is an awesome artist. And didn't he have something to do with the invention of the transcontinental railroad? Or maybe he just had something to do with the invention of transcontinental railroad paintings. I don't know for sure. Mike Mulcahy

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  3. Hey Mike! Right name, wrong guy. Thomas Hart Benton was the name of a politician in the early 1800s who was a big proponent of "Manifest Destiny," which was the drive to expand west. He was the great uncle of Thomas Hart Benton the painter.

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  4. We, the South Carolina relatives, say: "Come on down!!" Seriously, you know our door is always open..........and that is not just Southern hospitality - we actually like you two!!

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