Southern Hospitality

I have read quite a bit about the friendly people in the South and the rude New Yorkers. Almost any fiction set in the South raves on about the helpful "Southerners". Living in Houston for what seems an eternity now, we really did not feel any special hospitality radiating towards us or neither did we radiate anything special to out-of-towners!

Our visits to other Southern cities - Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and many more really left us thinking that Southern Hospitality is long gone and dead just like chivalry. Our trip to NYC last year was a rude awakening (pun-intended). We did realize Houstonians and Texans and Southerners along with all the drawls and y'lls pack in quite a lot of friendly nature reserved for everyone they meet.

But a couple of weekends back, one of those lovely Texas Spring weekends, we made a trip to a long forgotten ghost town - Independence. (You can read more about the trip in our travelogue here). Located not too far from the big-bad-city of Houston where we reside, Independence boasts of a population of 140, one general store that sells everything, one un-named gas station at the general store, few ruins, couple of old churches, a few old homes, an antique rose garden and no-other-eateries for the next 11 miles! It was in this ghost town we realized what Southern hospitality really meant.

None invited us for dinner or gave us a big gift but it was small deeds which we mom taught us. Small deeds which we never have time to do in this busy world. Small deeds that put a smile on the receivers face. Two strangers made our day trip to Independence memorable. I bet they don't even remember our faces or the small deeds they did but it matters a lot to us. And the fact that I am documenting this in our blog just implies it is one lesson we never want to forget.

Imagine this, you are on a one lane road - a country road on a Saturday morning. The road is almost deserted other than few well-worn pick-up trucks (Texas stable) whizzing past. Probably ranch hands carrying on their chores. On both sides are typical Texas farms, grass, hay bales, a few longhorns grazing, oil rigs, pipe lines, sprinklers, wildflowers. In this wild west landscape, a lone sedan making its way on this road suddenly without warning turns on its indicator lights and pulls into a small dirt track with a "no trespassing" sign big and bold. The occupants of the sedan are surprised to see the while Ford pick-up truck behind them slowing down a few feet in front of them and the driver puts out his head looking at them. The occupants, V and R are stunned, V's over active imagination is conjuring up everything from highway robbery to a mere coincidence. But soon they realize that the Texan had just done what any other friendly Texan would have done, inquire if the suddenly-pulled-off-the-road-sedan needed any help on a lonely road leading to a ghost town.

Like every road trip, they plan, they religiously checked their gas tanks, their insurances and their AAA membership cards, drinking water, snacks, cell phone batteries life and the such before setting out. In case of an emergency the first thing we would probably do was call AAA never would we have imagined a Texan stopping to help. Well this is what living in a big city does to one I guess!

And to our friendly Texan riding the white pick-up along the road to ghost town thanks! For putting a smile on our faces, for bringing back lessons that we need to remember...

The second incident took place along the same road to ghost town. A little closer to our destination,just near the town (or should I call it a village) of Clay we spotted a lovely patch of Bluebonnets in front of a house. Pulling off the road we started grabbing our cameras we did what tourists are good at - clicking pictures from all conceivable angles and complaining about the election signs placed in the middle of the bluebonnets. Suddenly, a car pulls into the driveway of the house and the car driver - a lovely young lady steps out and asks us if we want a picture together. And as all tourists we say sure and pose. Then the lady stops and says the signs are spoiling the view and goes on to pull out all the signs from the patch of bluebonnets before clicking our pictures. Another random act of thoughtfulness. Just a few weeks back, we have walked around Houston's famed streets clicking photos of azaleas in full bloom and got quite a few nasty stares from homeowners...and this young lady's thoughtfulness made our day!

And to the young lady who clicked our pictures, thank you! May your life be filled with joy as much as the bluebonnets doting your home gave us!

Is this Southern Hospitality? Or is this the way life needs to be lived? Questions we asked ourselves! Randomn acts of kindness puts a smile on a stranger's face and that smile will surely come back to you when you need it!


Anonymous said...

hi pooh! random acts of kindness certain put a smile on people's faces. that bit about the lady stopping over and offering to take your picture was just too good to be true!

Lavs said...

I am glad to know that such people do exist on this earth. Such incidents reinforce our belief on humanity and supreme self, don’t they?? Hey, why isn’t your header image working???

Pooh! said...

Thanks Mandira and Lavs for your comments. It does make life worth living!

The tech expert has promised that he'll look into the header issue and soon it will be up Lavs.