Last week, I posted about my favorite things about Boiling Springs. It is a really great place to live. But as with all new cultures and communities, there are some quirky things about living here too. Being quirky isn’t bad, it’s just interesting. Let’s face it, I live in a house of cultural diversity, and we celebrate what is different about each of us as much as what we have in common. So please understand, these quirks make me love Boiling Springs all the more. But there are some things that give me a giggle. Every. Time.
1. Livermush. It’s on every menu. Though I have lived in the South for the last 11 years, I apparently missed out on this delicacy of disgust. I had to ask our realtor what is was, and then I looked it up. Wikipedia defines it as “a Southern United States food product composed of pig liver, head parts, and cornmeal. It is commonly spiced with pepper and sage.” Oh the humanity, what!? As if liver wasn’t bad enough, “head parts?” I can’t think of anything in a pigs head that would make me think: Yummy! It is served on buns, deep fried, and even in sushi at local restaurants. Each serving contains approximately 30 grams of fat. Was this dish created on a dare? I consider myself a pretty adventurous eater. I love things like kimchi, barg, okonomiyaki, and falafel. I draw the line at livermush.
2. Our kids teachers are Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Wesson. That’s right, Smith and Wesson. Addie and Palmer have been extraordinarily good at their new school. Do they really have a choice?
3. Everyone is related to just about everyone else. I have literally had this conversation with multiple people: “Since you are related to everyone in the area, which one of your relatives is an _______________? (auto mechanic, photographer, social worker, etc.). The answer usually goes something like, “I’m not related to everyone! Although my cousin _______________ is a _________________.” Never fails.
4. Now, since everyone is related to just about everyone else, there is little need for the internet when looking up local products and services. The most efficient way to get information is to ask someone. If that fails, should one look it up on the internet? No! One should pick up one of these nifty little things called a PHONE BOOK. I’m not kidding. I thought phone books were only used as booster seats for small children and to put in the bottom of your outdoor garbage can to keep it from tipping over on windy days. Here, they use these phone books to look up addresses and information because most local businesses don’t have a web site. And since the phone book covers several different towns, but does not always list which one, it can be slightly confusing to try and use the phone book too. This is why relatives are the primary means of finding out about products and services.
5. This entire confusion about how to source information in Boiling Springs has led to delayed discovery of this fact: We are living in a Baptist commune. Out of the 2 dozen or so churches in population-3800 town of Boiling Springs, all are Baptist, except for one United Methodist church. And if you have known us for any length of time, you know how we feel about the United Methodists after our experience working for them. (Our married senior pastor with a wife and four kids was having a homosexual affair with two men on staff at the church, and embezzling money from the church’s stewardship campaign to pay off one of his lover’s mother, who had hired a private investigator to find out about the affair. We were given 72 hours to get out of our house when we brought what we knew to light to the church board. When the senior pastor confessed, he was given several months sabbatical and then promoted to a larger United Methodist church in another area of the country.) Our chances of attending a United Methodist church are just slightly higher than converting to Mormonism. And while we love the Baptists, there are several theological implications that are difficult for our family, such as limited atonement. Our children already have the sense that they were cheated out of a lot by being born in the Congo. After all, the tooth fairy has had to do back pay, and Santa has had some serious explaining to do. While those are just childhood tales to explain away, being cheated out of being “chosen” until they came to America is not something I want them deal with. Women in ministry is another. I want my children to grow up seeing women in ministry as Christ intended, not being limited to only teaching children or other women. I tend to think that the Holy Spirit has used me to speak to males in many instances over the course of my life. I want that to be celebrated, not shamed. The Holy Spirit doesn’t make mistakes in who He chooses to communicate through or to.
6. The last peculiarity about Boiling Springs comes in regard to cuisine. There are 4 fast food restaurants, and 5 other casual dining restaurants in town. The variety is adequate, but we have missed the upscale street food of the Nashville food trucks. I had conferred with my food truck foodies before I left Nashville, and they had assured me that there were great food trucks in Asheville and Charlotte. When I saw that the Boiling Springs annual street festival was going to feature famous food trucks, I was elated! However, when we arrived at the festival, I found that their famous food trucks were concessionaires — with hot dogs and hamburgers and fried stuff with cheese, not farm fresh upscale fusion cuisine. It was like a knife through my foodie heart. Fixing my foodie craving for exotic foods will take some work. But in the words of Robert Browning, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”
Boiling Springs is definitely growing on us — like another member of the family, quirks and all. We’ve found more sweetness and hospitality in this town than we ever expected, and we’re looking forward to staying a long time!