Not a “Thang”


John Gozzi, Contributing Writer

Moving long distance can be a debacle. For us it was slightly better, but still, a whirlwind including: a month-long vacation in Georgia in March, buying a home in one day in Leland in April, selling a home in two days in Connecticut, liquidating half of our “stuff,” hiring a moving company and lastly saying goodbye to places and people. In mid-June and 700 miles later we arrived in North Carolina. Like most transplants we were here for improved weather and lesser tax burdens. The home checked all the boxes–one level, new(ish) and in an established community. That is when the oddities started.

We are senior citizens now with two grown children. The younger of the two, now 25, toils in Japan (Marines) and finds us amusing. Not funny ha-ha but more so of the ilk that we are not “hip.” Many times, when we’re talking to him, he says “that’s not a thing” or “that’s a thing.”

These are the early results on what is and isn’t a thing in North Carolina as opposed to, in general, the northeast.  As far as things being a thing or not, some were to be expected and some were not. Take the weather for example- oppressive heat for three solid months A THING. We were quite curious why our neighborhood was a ghost town.  Surely, it’s a mix of ages, some people were at work but where was everyone else? Came to find out, with the exception of being at the store or at the beach they were hiding indoors!

Another example would be churches. With the exception of  Congregational there are houses of worship everywhere, at least in Brunswick County. Needless to say, my wife found a spot right in Leland.  Faith is overwhelming , like when I went to Tractor Supply and upon my purchase a young women said “Sir- remember Jesus loves you!” Good to know.

Although it seems that “Yankees” outnumber native North Carolinians at times, the southern drawl can be a REAL THING. A good example was at the DMV (amazingly efficient in Shallotte by the way) when an agent called to the next in line –”can I hep ya?”  She had to repeat it three times before the guy figured out, he was up. I tried not to laugh.

Food can be very regional. Connecticut prides itself in a few things–thin crust, burnt on the bottom pizza being the king. Supposedly it’s the all about the water. Top notch pie in North Carolina–NOT A THING. Speaking of drinking water, the public water in Connecticut was quite good. In Leland, within a week we bought a water cooler at Walmart.

Leland’s population has boomed over the last few decades and shows no signs of slowing down, but good restaurants, mostly NOT A THING. On the other hand, a short drive away is Wilmington with a spectrum of options at all price ranges.

Brunswick county beaches are the real deal–not too crowded, clean and expansive. What is NOT A THING is lifeguards–go in the water above your waist,  you’d better be a good swimmer or have a flotation device.

The quick take is that people are the same here as they were there. Some are gracious and nice and some are not. Some are smart and some not so much. Either way, especially with the turmoil throughout the world, we’re all in it together–now THAT’S A THING.