Some people think my views on living in the South have been too harsh at times. We all base our opinions on personal experiences. but it never occurred to me, though, that where we specifically have those experiences could drastically affect the outcome.
The real estate agent who sold me my house said I live in Indian Land, but the post office says my address is in Fort Mill. Fort Mill is considered York County, but I'm registered to vote in Lancaster County. It's all a bit confusing really, but I'm not sure it matters much aside from paying taxes to the right jurisdiction.
It was explained to me that "Fort Mill" other than the town, could refer to the greater Fort Mill Township area that straddles both counties. There isn't any difference, as far as I can see, when passing the county line. There is however, a noticeable change when you cross the state line into North Carolina, which is what I've been doing for the better part of two years.
I work, shop, seek entertainment and frequent restaurants in Charlotte. So when I complain about heavy traffic and dangerous road configurations, it's probably due to hours spent in gridlock at the exits off I-485. My fear (which I admit borders on paranoia) of local crime, stems from newscasts out of Charlotte-based TV stations reporting their own statistics.
I'm not slamming Charlotte. It's a city overwhelmed by rapid expansion. Growing pains are bound to be part of the process. What I am saying is, until recently, I didn't realize the charm to be had here at home in South Carolina.
I've started taking Hwy. 160 and Springfield Parkway as a new route to work. I'm now enjoying rows of peach trees and fields of horses instead of staring at a sea of brake lights every morning. I bought groceries from a supermarket in Tega Cay and filled my gas tank at a station in Lake Wylie. I found the lines to be shorter and the service was friendlier.
What prompted me to finally venture west instead of following Hwy. 521 north every day, were two stories I read in this newspaper. One profiled the York County Humane Society and their need for help. I took a drive to make a very modest donation one day and found a staff of dedicated people working hard in the center of a really nice town.
The other article, "York County counts on its credibility to stop crime at the state line" (March 26) quoted Kevin Brackett, the York County solicitor, as saying "It's a completely different world here in York..." in a warning to criminals considering coming here from Charlotte. I decided to see the difference for myself and I haven't been disappointed.
I recently accepted an invitation for coffee and made a new local friend. I even attended my first Homeowners Association meeting last Monday night and was inspired by well-intentioned people willing to give their time to create a better place to live.
Like Dorothy Gale, who discovered her heart's desire was in her own backyard, I'm learning to see what's right in front of me.