• 50°

I was talking with a friend the other day, and she asked me what it was like to be a famous author, now that I have had a book published, and another one on the way.
It gave me a nice chuckle, I must say. Famous? I told her that I have been famous for years now, it’s just that other people don’t realize it.
Having people recognize me and even acknowledge that I’m a writer is pretty heady stuff, but then, after someone meets me, and gives me the “star” treatment, they’ll add something such as, “I thought you were dead,” or “lived here long?”
One poor woman thought she recognized me but just couldn’t recall how she did. Finally, she asked me point blank if I was anybody.
“I always thought so,” I told her.
When we’re coming along as children, we are usually referred to as so-and-so’s sister or brother, or given the once over as the offspring of an old school chum, or “one of those” people from the other side of town.
When still in high school, it was a big deal to be known in Atlanta as someone of importance because your last name was “Smith” or “Jones,” or you lived in the Smeadley house. Never mind that Smeadleys hadn’t lived there in three generations, the house was still noted for being theirs. It’s a peculiarity of us Southerners.
Once, in the presence of some fellow teachers, I was told that Mrs. So-And-So ought to be a fine teacher; after all, her husband’s niece’s sister’s, next-door neighbor had married into the family. Reason enough, I should think.
A very nice gentleman once approached me in Salisbury and wanted to know if I was a “borned” McCanless. Depends, I said, are you owed money? After some fun, I finally admitted to him that I wasn’t “borned” that way.
Nothing unites us quite so much as being out of the state, and, running into a fellow Tar Heel. Why, you’d think we were long-lost cousins, the way we carry on. It’s almost like we belong to some secret society. Once we run across another North Carolinian, we are instantly one under the skin and forever soulmates.
This has happened to me on numerous occasions. I’ll be somewhere, especially if I’m up visiting nawthin’ kin, and I’ll run across a person of Southern persuasion. It’s almost as if we’re blood kin.
We don’t have to be from the same state, just generally the same area, but find another nice someone from the Old North State, or even within a day’s drive, and we become instantly inseparable.I guess it’s a nice way of being friendly, and you can’t deny that there is a kinship there amongst the Southern folk.
I sometimes think we carry it to extremes however, because I’ve heard many a person claim kinship with another when, in actuality, there is simply a tenuous in-law relationship.
In some small towns, everybody is family, whether they want to be or not.
I had a good friendship with a dear lady in Statesville, who tried to explain what a double first cousin was to me, because she lived with a woman she claimed was her double first cousin.
The cousin rented out an apartment below this woman, and while they did, in fact, resemble one another, I just never could grasp the concept of double first cousins. To me, that would be second or third cousins.
What do I know, anyway?
In the overall grand scheme of things, we are related. All of us date back to father Abraham, but how often do we treat one another as long-lost friends, much less kinfolk and family? Guess it wouldn’t hurt to work on that a while.The next time someone stops you to ask,”Are you anybody?” you can truthfully answer, “You betcha!”

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