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My South

My South

After the lockdown, maybe revisiting a simpler time is what we need in order to stay focused on the right things.

I don’t really know what the rest of the world thinks about the south but if the truth be told, it is probably not good. Oh, we are indeed good at football, but that is all the credit we get. We have a few famous authors and a famous talk show host that hail from the south. While I love where I grew up in Alabama, it wasn’t always easy. I imagine it was easier for me as a white girl than it was for my black brothers and sisters. I am not claiming that I had it worse, no, that would not be fair at all. But as a young girl who happened to be smart, life could not be more confusing. I grew up in the country where we ran around barefoot from breakfast until supper. We had to be forced to come inside. Once I recall taking a roll of toilet paper outside so that I could simply dig a hole and would not have to waste the few minutes it took me to go inside. Of course, I am not a heathen so I dug a whole and did my business. I was a tough little thing, jumping out of trees and the very tops of barns. I rode horses with little more than a bridle on them. I was always rescuing some bird or rabbit that the dogs had caught and trying to nurse it back to life. I should have known then that I would have been a great veterinarian if girls were allowed. I had pet bunnies, pet goats and I dressed our dog Sassy in scarves and sunglasses. She played along, but secretly hated it. She was a white poodle with dark stained eyes that I often thought were her tears. I have never been a big crier because maybe I secretly still think my eyes will turn dark from my tears. I wonder how many times that poor dog endured me dressing her up. She seemed to love me though as I loved all my animals. I remember once when I got a bigger pony I had to brake the news to the small pony of my youth. I cried as I broke the news to Peanut even though he often tried to rub me off of him on the nearest tree or barbed wire fence he could find. I told him that it wasn’t because I loved him less than my new pony but I was just getting too big for him. I explained this to him and felt like he understood me. I think I might have seen a tiny tear in his eyes too. He was a mean pony but I never loved him less for it. I had funerals for dead bugs and made my little brother sit through the service. It was a simple time where we entertained ourselves. I am no different now than back then. Oh yes, I have a hard surface known to the people around me but the people that really know me know that I am a softy. I love deeply and am loyal to a fault. I care for all little creatures, sometimes to the detriment of my pocket book.

Southern people are strong, we sometimes get a bad reputation as racists and not as intelligent as our northern neighbors. Well, this may be true to a certain extent but not in my world. I believe that kindness is the root of my people. We may not have all gone to Harvard (actually none of us did) but that does not mean that we lack in kindness. My father and mother have helped many people over the years, black and white, young and old. My father actually bought my grandparents their first house. He worked hard and therefore was able to give them this. My grandparents worked in the fields and sold Raleigh products door to door. They were extremely poor now that I think back. I never knew this as a child because I always got a card for my birthday and Christmas with a $20 bill in it to buy whatever my heart desired.

I was the first in my family to get a masters degree. It was during a time when not many women in the south got a masters in business. I was offered a job making $18,000 a year while my male counterparts made double. It was hard for me because I faced not only discrimination but harassment. I didn’t know how to handle such things and never did anything about it. The one time I did report it, I was demoted while my boss got promoted. It was a hard time for a young girl in a man’s world. I won’t say I ever truly succeeded in this world. I think perhaps I was too empathetic and took everything to heart. It begin to make me physically ill until I had to quit. I should have been a veterinarian but I did not think I was smart enough. I was smart enough and then some, I just didn’t know it. I hope that if you are a young girl reading this and you doubt your intelligence or place in this world, don’t. Use every stone they throw at you to build a house…a strong house. No matter where you are from, be proud. There is beauty all around if you simply look for it.

I don’t really know what the rest of the world thinks about the south but if the truth be told, it is probably not good. Oh, we are indeed good at football, but that is all the credit we get. We have a few famous authors and a famous talk show host that hail from the south. While I love where I grew up in Alabama, it wasn’t always easy. I imagine it was easier for me as a white girl than it was for my black brothers and sisters. I am not claiming that I had it worse, no, that would not be fair at all. But as a young girl who happened to be smart, life could not be more confusing. I grew up in the country where we ran around barefoot from breakfast until supper. We had to be forced to come inside. Once I recall taking a roll of toilet paper outside so that I could simply dig a hole and would not have to waste the few minutes it took me to go inside. Of course, I am not a heathen so I dug a whole and did my business. I was a tough little thing, jumping out of trees and the very tops of barns. I rode horses with little more than a bridle on them. I was always rescuing some bird or rabbit that the dogs had caught and trying to nurse it back to life. I should have known then that I would have been a great veterinarian if girls were allowed. I had pet bunnies, pet goats and I dressed our dog Sassy in scarves and sunglasses. She played along, but secretly hated it. She was a white poodle with dark stained eyes that I often thought were her tears. I have never been a big crier because maybe I secretly still think my eyes will turn dark from my tears. I wonder how many times that poor dog endured me dressing her up. She seemed to love me though as I loved all my animals. I remember once when I got a bigger pony I had to brake the news to the small pony of my youth. I cried as I broke the news to Peanut even though he often tried to rub me off of him on the nearest tree or barbed wire fence he could find. I told him that it wasn’t because I loved him less than my new pony but I was just getting too big for him. I explained this to him and felt like he understood me. I think I might have seen a tiny tear in his eyes too. He was a mean pony but I never loved him less for it. I had funerals for dead bugs and made my little brother sit through the service. It was a simple time where we entertained ourselves. I am no different now than back then. Oh yes, I have a hard surface known to the people around me but the people that really know me know that I am a softy. I love deeply and am loyal to a fault. I care for all little creatures, sometimes to the detriment of my pocket book.

Southern people are strong, we sometimes get a bad reputation as racists and not as intelligent as our northern neighbors. Well, this may be true to a certain extent but not in my world. I believe that kindness is the root of my people. We may not have all gone to Harvard (actually none of us did) but that does not mean that we lack in kindness. My father and mother have helped many people over the years, black and white, young and old. My father actually bought my grandparents their first house. He worked hard and therefore was able to give them this. My grandparents worked in the fields and sold Raleigh products door to door. They were extremely poor now that I think back. I never knew this as a child because I always got a card for my birthday and Christmas with a $20 bill in it to buy whatever my heart desired.

I was the first in my family to get a masters degree. It was during a time when not many women in the south got a masters in business. I was offered a job making $18,000 a year while my male counterparts made double. It was hard for me because I faced not only discrimination but harassment. I didn’t know how to handle such things and never did anything about it. The one time I did report it, I was demoted while my boss got promoted. It was a hard time for a young girl in a man’s world. I won’t say I ever truly succeeded in this world. I think perhaps I was too empathetic and took everything to heart. It begin to make me physically ill until I had to quit. I should have been a veterinarian but I did not think I was smart enough. I was smart enough and then some, I just didn’t know it. I hope that if you are a young girl reading this and you doubt your intelligence or place in this world, don’t. Use every stone they throw at you to build a house…a strong house. No matter where you are from, be proud. There is beauty all around if you simply look for it.

Source: Thrive Global