Glad to be in the South

As a native of Savannah, Ga., my husband, Pete and I lived in Los Angeles, Calif., for the past 28 years and are now 3-year residents of Aiken.

We were sitting at IHOP and noticed an elderly couple in the booth next to us. They held hands then placed them on the table and with heads bowed began to say a blessing before their meal. Observing this made me realize that there are radial differences in the way people behave in public, especially when it comes to prayer. In Los Angeles, you would seldom see this scenario.

Shortly after moving to Aiken, my husband was involved in a near fatal auto accident. Our next-door neighbors were almost total strangers, but immediately came forward with help. They visited Pete in the hospital several times and prayed for him as though he was a long-time friend. They brought me food and provided transportation to the hospital while my car was being repaired. The day of Pete’s release they helped us with our trip home and brought a hospital bed and medical equipment loaned to us by parishioners of their church. Our neighbors are the Rev. and Mrs. Darrell Engle of Cornerstone Baptist Church. For three years they have demonstrated abundant love and support and we are truly devoted to them and are members of their church.

In Los Angeles, we had a next-door neighbor for 12 years who never spoke a word to us. He didn’t return a “hello” or even a simple nod and we rode the elevator with him in silence several times a week.

The people of Aiken continue to reach out with love and compassion and I can’t express it emphatically enough: It’s really good to be back in the South.

Harriet Stwora