Slept in this morning for the first time in weeks, after an evening flight home from an intense two days in New Orleans. Slow to get working as I sit on my couch in a fleece and sweatpants. Apparently I took the sweltering heat with me on Sunday morning and left it behind in the Gulf Coast.
As my mind and soul slowly recover from the whiplash of traveling back and forth between my peaceful New England life and my heated, urgent political organizing work down South, I’m welcomed home by some nostalgic chatter in the Boston blogs. VA transplant Gift of Green offers a Top 10 list of MA things that stump the locals south of the Mason-Dixon line.Â Some of my favorites: the fluffernutter sandwich (invented in Lynn, it seems, and actually I’ve never been a fan of fluff, but it was always in my aunt’s cabinets), the triple decker apartment building, home to generations of Redstar kin…and a bunch of other working-class and ethnic families in Boston, and radiators (though in my two-family house, we had floor vents that opened and shut, that I’d stand on to warm up at the end of a freezing winter school day).
Her list reminds me of my own regional “wha???” when I was down in New Orleans two weeks ago. Dining with a table of Southern women, white and black, young and old, at a nouveau Southern restaurant (the local version of trumped up comfort food places here that charge $12 for mac ‘n cheese), I responded to a dish incl. turnip greens that the only time I ate turnip was at Thanksgiving, and it was mashed, like potatoes. Well, me and my bland Irish palate were practically run out of town. I told them about Whoopie Pies, another New England treat (thanks, Amish peeps??), they were intrigued, though ultimately heads were shaken in pity at the dishes I clearly considered cuisine.
While I head out for a needed long walk this afternoon, the M.A.S. is off to a MA Historical Commission meeting for some networking. He has his car with him, as the High Holidays commandeer all the parking spaces around his apartment building that sits next door to a synagogue. As Rosh Hashanah begins tonight, I proudly display my own multi-cultural “roots,” hanging up the pic of a Deis friend’s daughter that decorates the Jewish new year card I receive every year.