The mysterious and affable nature of the deep south

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"How to people in the south do it? How have they been able to nail this so easily? I don't know. Maybe it is in the water - or not."

Yes, certain elites from the northeast love to denigrate the good people who dwell in the south-land. Some of the names I have heard in the past have been hayseeds, banjo players (as in the movie Deliverance), the wrong number of chromosome crowd, or just plain hicks. News flash to the very blue, and very smarmy northeast - I have been stationed down south. I have traveled down south. I have been on business trips down here. I have had a close family member who has lived in Pensacola.
There are areas I have been in the south where I have met some of the nicest, and most genuine people in America. During my travels in the northeast, I have met or worked with just about every flavor of personage. Yes, some have been real jerks. I know that seems to be a cruel stereotype, but I believe it has some validity. Yes, I have met some nice folks from the northeast, but they are not as common as the nice folks down south.
I am not letting Minnesota off the hook either. There is some truth in the phrase "Minnesota Nice". Yet, there is also some fable in that term. Some visitors I have met, who expected to be surrounded by "Minnesota Nice" when the arrived here, only found "Minnesota Ice". They left after their visit feeling disillusioned and disappointed.
Here is what we notice every time we visit Florida. Nice, nice folks. Helpful. Welcoming. Affable. Friendly. We make it a practice to strike up a conversation with most folks we meet down here. Still waiting for that first encounter where the very common southern hospitality is absent. When folks down here find out you are a visitor, it is like they work part time at the Chamber of Commerce, or the Department of Tourism. Nothing phony, just genuine people being themselves.
Unabashedly unafraid to talk about their faith in God and the Bible. We have worshiped at a Baptist church down here. No PC babble like what has happened so some northern churches - just the unvarnished truth preached from the Bible. People are also unabashedly unafraid to be demonstrably patriotic. Again, nothing phony, just genuine people being themselves.
If we truly want to change our national discourse, we first need to change ourselves. It needs to happen one person at a time. And the first step is treating people the way we all want to be treated. You know - that old "Golden Rule" thing. We need to listen better, laugh more, and practice basic civility with everyone.
How to people in the south do it? How have they been able to nail this so easily? I don't know. Maybe it is in the water - or not. All I know is this - being nice, being friendly are traits down here which seem to have no boundaries. Think this is all a bunch of hooey? Plan a trip down here in the near future. And be ready to be treated like you are a long time friend - from just about everyone you meet.