We're not from the South. We're newcomers to a land of trucks and beauty queens. New to cuisines encompassing frog legs, okra and fried food, all sorts. Heretofore we were strangers to the wafting scent of magnolia on spring days and peach festivals held under the sticky summer sun.
Two weeks ago the kids and I were roadies, following my husband's college soccer team to Mississippi for the weekend. We piled in the car one day after school and drove south. South through the delta region of Arkansas. South through Louisiana. Then west over the mighty Mississippi River and stopped in Vicksburg.
Heretofore I was a stranger to cotton, though we favor it in clothing. But an actual cotton plant was one thing I'd never, ever seen before. In September the cotton fields were ready for harvest, mile after mile, the white cloud gathering strength as we drove south. We saw farmers harvesting a field, "Loooook!" We saw cotton bundled and awaiting transport. Cotton warehouses were more common than rest stops. I pulled the car off to the side and Ally gathered handfuls of cotton from the ditch, for us all to touch and feel a little wonder.
It is a wonderful thing: cotton.