Southern Traditions

While Dad and I were in Charleston recently—the only thing I told him I wanted for my birthday—we meandered into an art gallery off of Broad Street. We spotted a painting of South of the Border. This got Dad into a discussion with the two women behind the counter, during which he explained about his family’s annual December trips to visit his grandparents in Miami.

During those early years, Interstate 95, which now goes from Houlton, Maine to Miami, Florida, intentionally kept a completed section of the highway closed for several years. All travelers heading toward the Sunshine State were forced to exit the highway and drive on route 301 until returning to the interstate.

Dad explained that a particular section in Dillon, South Carolina was not opened specifically so travelers would be forced to drive by South of the Border. He implied that there was some unofficial exchange of money. Sounds sketchy to me! We did not purchase the painting.

Then the conversation drifted to a discussion of Moon Pies, which are apparently Southern delicacies which I have not yet experienced. FYI, they are made in Chatanooga, Tennessee. Naturally, I had to do a little research.

Moon Pies are 4-inch in diameter and appear to be made of graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, and have been in existence since 1917. Here’s where it gets interesting. We learned, from the nice women in Charleston, that they are traditionally accompanied by RC Cola. Who knew?

So last night, Dad and I were in Walgreens picking up some photographs, when what did we spot but a package of Moon Pies! Being in the South, we assumed the gentleman behind the counter would be familiar with the Moon Pie tradition—but he was not. So after Dad refreshed his memory (I only remembered that it was a soda which began with the letter “R”) by researching it on his phone, he announced “RC Cola!”

“Now he will remember us,” I told Dad.

Just maybe he will.