Southern hospitality

Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 23, 2015

I used to think southern hospitality was a myth, only existing in films like “Steel Magnolias” or “Gone with the Wind.” When I moved to Pearl River County, I quickly discovered southern hospitality does exist in the Deep South.

Southern hospitality could be defined as a person displaying graciousness, kindness and warmth to others depending on who you ask.

Most everyone I’ve met so far in the area embodies those characteristics. Since I began covering Pearl River County, I’ve met so many people, young and old, who’ve truly surprised me with their generosity, something I’m not accustomed to coming from a large city in south Florida. Often, people get lost in the hustle and bustle of big city life and don’t take the time to appreciate their community and the people in it.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Which is what makes Picayune and Poplarville so special. Somehow, they’ve been able to pass down important values from one generation to the next, ensuring southern hospitality lives on.

I meet strangers on a daily basis for my job and even so I’m never treated as such by the locals. I’m always greeted like a long-lost family member, with a smile, a hug and sometimes even a meal. I just can’t say enough about the hospitable people I’ve come across so far, many of whom have lived here their whole lives and can’t imagine living anywhere else. All their family and friends are here, which truly makes this place their home.

In Pearl River County, everyone is accepted, even outsiders. It’s a real community with real people, something movies could never accurately portray.

Along with southern hospitality, locals truly value the simplicity of life. They value their family, friends, church and neighbors, something that many people who don’t grow up in a small town might not cherish as much.

No matter how much the county grows over the following years, residents must continue preserving southern hospitality.