It snowed in the Southeast yesterday. People were stuck in their cars on interstates, kids spent the night at school. It was a (mostly preventable) mess. Above is a picture of my father at our house (yes, the same house he lives in now), during a snowstorm in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1940’s.
Today my father is snowed in at this very house. He is elderly and his caregivers are unable to make it through the snow and ice to be there with him. But everything is okay. In fact, I’m actually grateful.
Specifically, I’m grateful for Southern neighborliness. We know our neighbors, and our neighbors know us. My dad’s next door neighbor Kathryn has already been by to check on him this morning and is happy to make sure he gets his lunch and dinner. She didn’t have to do that, but she’s doing it with a smile.
I’m grateful, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Southern hospitality is a real thing, and it’s a part of the air we breathe in the South. It is not true here in New York City. That neighborly care just doesn’t happen here. It could be urban transience or density or Yankee-ness. I don’t know. It’s not easy to be neighborly here, even as a Southerner. I barely know the faces of people in my building, and only a few names, and I’ve been here over a decade.
What I do know is that I am so grateful for Kathryn today. Even though she was raised in upstate New York, she’s absorbed that care for neighbors we pride ourselves on as Southerners. Maybe she was always that way, and that’s why she embraced the South once she got there. I’m not sure, but I can be sure my dad will get his lunch and dinner today and that she’ll be available if something else happens.
Let it snow!