“A Yankee and a Liberal”

It’s taken me a while to get around to posting about my trip home, because I came home with the flu and am only now really getting back on my feet. I think I can thank the state of Georgia for the flu.

Here’s some writing I did about my drive through Georgia– not my favorite part of my trip:

A Yankee and a Liberal 

“And this one,” the man’s dark eyes radiated anger as he jerked his thumb toward me, “this one’s a Yankee and a Liberal.” 
I’ve never quite known the definition of “redneck,” but I knew this man for one, and I knew he wasn’t safe. I glanced about the rural filling station convenience store, as the man chanted something about the Mason-Dixon Line. A woman behind the counter, another woman at the front of the line, then two lean, grizzled men, one middle-aged, one older. I quickly ducked behind them on line, keeping my eyes lowered and my mouth shut. I felt a bit less exposed and vulnerable behind the two men, but I didn’t want to incite the man anymore than my presence already had. I knew he was trying to rouse the group against me, but my brief glance had assured me he wasn’t winning any friends in this place. 
How had he known I‘m from up north? I was in a friend’s car with Florida plates, and I had known better than to open my mouth and let my accent betray me. I think that mystery was part of what kept me anxious and on guard during my drive through Georgia a few days later. 
I was driving home from Florida, alone except for Rowan, who was sleeping peacefully on the floor in front of the passenger seat, securely buckled in his canine seatbelt. He wouldn’t be able to reach me to help if anyone hassled me. My plan was to stop and sketch or paint anytime a pretty view captured my attention, and there were plenty of pretty views in Georgia. Most of all, I loved the nearly ubiquitous pecan orchards with their majestic trees rising tall and dark in their winter starkness. They would look great sketched in sepia ink on an off-white paper. 
I longed to stop beside the road and sketch, but something in me kept telling me to keep going, that it wouldn’t be wise to be seen stopped beside the road in my car with New York plates. Several times I pulled off the main road to find a quieter place to sketch, but each time I decided to keep going and content myself with sketching in my mind. One such back road crossed over a creek, and I almost missed the sign with the name of the creek. I turned around to go back and read it—“Murder Creek.” I kept going. 
When I finally crossed into South Carolina and then North Carolina, the dark feeling lifted, and I freely and frequently stopped to sketch or stretch my legs. I’m not sure what it was about Georgia, but I don’t intend to plan any painting trips there anytime soon. I’m happy to be back home in the north now; I’d rather be a “Yankee and a Liberal” than a hotheaded redneck any day.

After a morning in Asheville, NC browsing galleries (Fun!), I meandered along the Blue Ridge Parkway and other roads toward Boone, where I’ve been wanting to go for years to visit Cheap Joe’s, my favorite art store. After leaving Boone, I continued north, pulling off to sketch when I saw pretty views. And finally this Yankee is back where she belongs, north of the Mason-Dixon line.

North Cove View from Blue Ridge Parkway
Table Rock View from Blue Ridge Parkway

Boone, NC, where Cheap Joe’s is located!
Draper, VA exit off I 81
Buchanan, VA exit off I 81