We are especially lucky here in the mountains. If we drive downtown (about 900 foot change in elevation) we see spring unfolding a week or so earlier than it does in our neighborhood. And if we drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, we gain several thousand feet where there is less evidence of changing seasons. In a single day we can see a modest amount of green in our neighborhood, much more green downtown, and very little green in the higher mountains. It's almost as if we can follow spring. And follow it we do...several times a month.
When we lived in WI, we saw short spring seasons. Everything burst forth at once and we went from winter right straight into summer.
As a general rule (OK, as MY general observation) there truly is such a thing as southern hospitality and gentility. Although I was born in the mountains of North Carolina and spent my youth here, I had forgotten how different the people are. A prime example of this happened Saturday.
An elderly neighbor died some time ago and her niece and nephew had a household sale. I do not often go to such sales, but this one was very close so I walked down. I wandered through the house, picking up a few things as I went. The items I picked up were old kitchen items to add to our display over the cabinets. I found a wire egg basket, a little teapot, a vintage Guardian pot (think non-electric slow cooker), and a small pitcher. I carried them around with me from room to room. I didn't find anything else I cared to buy, so I took my treasures to the nephew to pay for them.
Imagine my surprise when a woman yelled in a shrill and grating voice, "Wait a minute! That's MY teapot. You stole my teapot!" I turned around and SHE WAS LOOKING AT ME. I said, "I beg your pardon...I picked up this teapot from the table over there." To that she responded, "Well, my pile was on that table and that is my teapot." The nephew looked quite uncomfortable. I gave the woman the teapot. Smiling at her, I did not apologize. There was a time when I would not have done that. On principle I would have paid for the teapot and taken it home. The woman took the teapot from me, scowling all the way. I thought to myself how awful it must be to let such a small thing bother her so much. And why she would choose to say I STOLE her teapot, rather than consider I picked it up not knowing she had chosen it. In fact, I had the teapot in my hands when I had seen her in another room and she hadn't said a word. And there was nothing about the table to suggest that some of the items were already selected by someone else.
The woman's behavior reminded me of the worst of the rude people in our Wisconsin community. I had gotten used to more calm and better manners in the years since we returned to NC. I told one of my friends about the incident. She replied with a stone face, "She didn't have a southern accent did she?" No...she did not.