On a morning, not so long ago, I found myself sitting with several other guests at the grand dining room table at the Yellow House Bed and Breakfast in Waynesville, North Carolina, another place I enjoy visiting. We shared an enjoyable meal with much conversation that was for the most part light in nature with much laughter and smiles.
In addition to myself, seated at the table was a retired couple from New York who now live in Asheville and are very happy to be in the Carolinas. There was also a couple who lives near Raleigh, and they were excited because the evening before, they had seen the Rocky Mountain elk near Cherokee. The last couple at our table lives in the Memphis, Tennessee, area, and they talked about the wonders of barbecue from their hometown. They also had great stories of Elvis and his kind nature with everyday people.
The innkeeper is Shawn, a U.S. Marine veteran. We’ve become friends through the years. He knows how to keep the inn in good shape, and he certainly knows how to make a great breakfast. I have come to enjoy our colorful conversations that seem to include just about everything.
The blue jays were among the other friends who were enjoying breakfast, but theirs was from freshly filled bird feeders outside the large bay window in the dining room. I loved watching them, and when everyone had left the table, I stepped outside to capture a few pictures. After I stood still a few moments, they were kind enough to allow me to capture a few good images.
I soon become aware of the wind chimes from the expansive white rocker-lined front porch. It was calming as I reflected on how rich life is when you take time to have lingering conversations.
I had the opportunity to spend more time with the couple from New York. They were interested in hearing more of my stories and our visit lasted for some time. At the end of our visit, one of them said, “You know, I actually feel better about Southern people.” She went on to say that in the eyes of some Northerners, people from the South are not always thought of in a positive way.
I said, “I am glad you feel better about us.” In truth, I have thought and said for many years that Northern folks come to the South to get better, and I still believe that’s true. It’s not because there is something wrong with people from the North, but rather we are all better when we take time to slow down and enjoy each other.
For the most part, taking time for lingering breakfast conversations with strangers is a good thing, no matter who they are.
I believe conversations are the best way to evolve and grow as individuals, and it’s just easier to do that in the South. While we are also busy people, we have strong traditions of great hospitality, good food, good music and the willingness to give people as many chances as they need as long as they are trying to do the right thing. This is a very practical approach to building good communities and good relationships.
As I pen these words, I realize that I enjoy getting to know all kinds of people. I enjoy visiting the Yellow House, blue jays and New Yorkers who are coming around to our way of being. It’s a good day when just by being yourself people feel a little better about life. Maybe that’s the treasure at the end of a Southern rainbow.
Carl White is the executive producer and host of the award winning syndicated TV show “Carl White’s Life In the Carolinas.” The weekly show is in its seventh year of syndication and can be seen in the Greenville, Spartanburg viewing market on WLOS ABC 5 a.m. Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays at WMYA My 40. Visit www.lifeinthecarolinas.com, email White at Carl@lifeinthecarolinas.com.