Southern By Association

My Southern Family

My Southern Family

 

 

A Yankee transplant finds a sense of belonging in the bosom of the Deep South

My family hails from quaint towns carved out of Ohio’s rolling countryside. My grandparents and parents grew up and fell in love in these small towns, and I was born to the first snowfall there one year. As little more than a babe, I have vague memories of snowdrifts taller than I was and cold, dark mornings. When I was just three years old, my parents picked up and moved our tiny family to a big city in the South – Atlanta. Not long after our arrival, my baby sister was born. She was a glorious Georgia Peach, but I would forever be an Ohio Buckeye.

 As a small child, it was easy to assimilate to the Southern culture. In fact, I embraced all things Southern – fried chicken, sweet tea, boiled peanuts, bluegrass music and dogwood trees. I loved the sight of kudzu and while my friends sought animal shapes in the clouds, I tried to make sense of the hulking masses under the rapidly growing green foliage (“I see a dinosaur!” I always saw a dinosaur.) I baked many a mud pie fashioned from red clay in the hot summer sun, and my mom would often curse the bright orange stains on the back of my shorts. Many of my friends spoke with lilting Southern drawls – the sound of which I cherished and would often try to imitate. The hitch was – I always knew deep down inside that I was a Yankee.

 When I was seven, the local drive-in theatre held a special screening of “Gone With The Wind”. I recall being dazzled by the majesty and grace of the Old South displayed on that big screen. I also remember feeling a sense of shame when a dirty Northern bushwhacker attempted to force Miss Scarlett to a “fate worse than death”. I have recollections of my mother taking my sister and me to the Cyclorama in downtown Atlanta. As I gazed upon the dead and the dying soldiers painted in blue and grey, I became aware that no matter how badly I wanted to be from the South – I would always be merely a resident here. There were differences that divided me from her dating back more than a century.

In addition, it took me an eternity to shed the word “pop” for the preferred Southern vernacular of “Coke” and, try as I might, I have never acquired a taste for catfish. It wasn’t that anyone ever made me feel like an outsider, there is no phrase more bona fide than Southern Hospitality. It was merely my own stubborn sensibility that kept me separated, until…

I met a sweet, handsome Carolina boy in high school who took great delight in making me laugh. He introduced me to pralines and SEC football. We attended the University of Georgia together, and married shortly after graduation. Several years later, I gave birth to our first Georgia Peach – and a few years after that, our second Peach arrived. Suddenly my home was filled with Southerners, and I felt – for the first time in my life – a complete sense of belonging. I now understand that although I wasn’t born in the South, I was raised here. As my husband and I regale our little girls with our own stories of growing up in the South, we are giving them a true sense of Southern heritage. I finally achieved my childhood dream of becoming Southern – if only by association.

With my Georgia Driver’s License in hand, I now consider myself a proud card-carrying member of the Deep South. Yee-haw!  Pass the grits!

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Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 12:21 pm  Comments (1)  
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Bathing Suit Season Blues

Ah, yes! It’s that time again. The music of the ice cream truck fairly well heralds its arrival – singing to all within its happy sound – “Summer is here!” Many welcome its onset with open arms – the days grow longer, the smell of charcoal hangs heavy in the air, children’s laughter echoes throughout the neighborhood. My own little girls are so delighted by this precious collection of weeks of freedom from the hallowed halls of their elementary school that they can barely contain themselves. As they rub the sleep from their eyes and look forward to the day’s events, each morning begins with the dreaded question – “Can we go to the pool today?”

 It’s a question I, myself asked regularly as a child. I was practically a mermaid – I was a proud member of the River Rats Swim Team, and my mom was a devoted ALTA tennis player – leaving me to my own devices at the neighborhood pool on an almost daily basis. I was blessed with such a high metabolism in my youth – that I could eat fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, candy bars and Coca-Cola every day and not gain an ounce. This fact remained true throughout my adolescence. I would spend most of the summer months in nothing more than a bikini – there was little to no shape to my body, but I still looked trim, toned and tan in my itty-bitty bathing suit.

 The exact opposite is true today. My metabolism began slowing my senior year in college, and I started packing on the pounds by continuing to eat whatever I wished, and exercising less and less. In my mid-twenties, my impending wedding motivated a sudden weight loss – which I was able to maintain for several years, until the birth of my first child. My husband was not displeased – with the added pounds came a blessedly increased bra size. As I attempted to lose the remaining “lbs” from my first child, I joyfully realized I was pregnant with my second. Suddenly, with two kids at home, my husband and I made the decision for me to become a “stay at home” mom. These were wonderful days – we played and laughed… and ate. Kids eat A LOT – three full meals, and snacks in between. I’d forgotten how delicious a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tasted (even better with marshmallow fluff and a bag of chips). I was so happy, I hardly noticed an extra pound here or there.

 Two events transpired, leading to the ultimate demise of my relationship with a two-piece bathing suit: 1) I started working from home once my children entered school, and 2) microwavable Mexican cheese dip became readily available from my local grocer. All of a sudden, an extra pound here or there was occurring at a much faster pace – and the only exercise I was getting was carrying a basket of laundry up the stairs and a “not so” brisk walk around the neighborhood with my dog. Instead of biting the bullet and getting my rear back in shape – with the onset of each new swimsuit season – I looked to fashion to solve the problem for me. I’ve tried the French cut one piece – high on the hips, and low on the cleavage – as if my breasts will distract from the roll of flesh that lies just beneath them. I’ve sought the aid of the “tankini” – a mental trick for overweight 30-somethings who wish to fool themselves into believing they can still wear a “kini” of any kind. I’ve even resorted to “boy short” styles and – to one thing I never thought I’d be caught dead in – a skirted bathing suit in an attempt to minimize my ever-increasing thighs. After spending hundreds of dollars on failed attempts to hide my shame, I’ve learned that I’m not alone. All I have to do is look around – I see loads of women in my very same position, but I’ve never been one to follow the crowd.

Instead, the battle of the bulge rages on, and I just need to stop waving the white flag (and dipping my tortilla chips in that delicious white cheese)! Now, at the heaviest I have ever been, the inevitable bathing suit season has rolled back around. My little girls want to go to the pool, and I am going to take them. My responsibility to them goes much farther than my chaperoning them to the pool, I have to set an example by getting back in shape without making it an obsession. Since I know that there’s no possible way to lose 20 pounds in the next four hours, I’m not going to worry that anyone might notice that I’ve packed on some extra weight over the winter months. I’m going to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle for my family, because I don’t want to miss a thing – not because I want to be remembered for how great I looked in my bathing suit. I refuse to give in to the Bathing Suit Season Blues (and you should, too!)

Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hello world!

This is the official blog for freelance writer – Kasie Bolling – and is designed to celebrate the sweet, the sorrowful and the scary times in life.  Thus the dubious title of “Moon Pies, White Lies and The View From The Edge of the High Dive”.  We all have our happy stories to tell, we all have our regrets and we all live with an innate fear of “the unknown”.  Within these pages, the reader will find an honest and often humorous approach to life through my eyes.

I am a freelance copywriter and aspiring novelist living in the deep South.  A blissfully married mother of two very girly girls, I am also the doting human to one dog and two cats.  My great love affair with the written word began farther back than my memory can venture.  I can recall my grandmother spinning yarns while I sat on her knee – and I ache that we never wrote them all down before she died.  A latchkey kid with a penchant for daydreaming, I could often be found under the boughs of a tree – tattered paperback in hand – or deep within the recesses of my closet holding a flashlight in one hand and book in the other. I hope to one day be responsible for a sleepless night or two, as a reader of my “yet to be completed” first novel just can’t put it down.  There’s a certain joy, though, in the inbetween.  The time spent imagining your story and watching it unfold – and the time that you bring your story to the masses (and live in fear of rejection).  Meanwhile, I’m proud to be “living the dream” and counting my blessings everyday.  I find great delight in spinning yarns to my little girls and engendering a love of reading and writing in them.  My husband and I encourage imagination and creativity in their lives, as well as our own.

This blog is more for me than it is for my readers, although I hope you enjoy what you find here.  I used to keep a journal, which I often found extremely cathartic, but it was for my eyes only and was tedious at times (because I knew it was for my eyes only).  Old fashioned by nature, the entire concept of “blogging” is foreign to me.  However, after several suggestions by friends and colleagues, I am stepping outside of the box to share my views, thoughts and stories with you.  Thank you for reading!

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment