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The South Passes By
Ronda Rich
If you sit long enough in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, the South passes by. Sometimes, it’ll even walk right up to you, grab a seat and sit awhile. Or perhaps just stand for a bit of conversation like the stately, older gentleman who sauntered over to our table, his classic trench coat slung over his shoulder and a cup of coffee in his hand. His hair was thick and silver and his pleasant face lined with experience that we would be given the pleasure of glimpsing. “Where y’all from?” he asked, a friendly smile stretching across his face. This is not strange to me. I am Southern to the marrow of my bones. Tink, though, is from a world where there are perimeters. This means that a stranger does not look you in the eye when he passes you on the street, he does not offer a casual word while standing in the grocery line and he never, ever walks up to you in the lobby of a fine hotel and begins a conversation.