Driving home after a long day in a string of long days in my 16 years of real estate, I giggled. Delirium had overcome composure, and years of putting my best boot forward while trying to keep it out of my mouth had finally worn me down.
Preparing for clients as if I were about to walk on stage, constantly attempting to present our town and our way of life as if it were an audition. Making sure homes were picture perfect so new owners could make the same messes we try to cover. It isn’t the house I am selling. It has never been the house.
I sell emotions, memories, and ideals of the picturesque South wrapped inside walls that were once a tree. No one relocates to sit on a couch waiting for the end of summer rains, rarely do home seekers ask which room is best for recovering from allergies of pollen season.
No Shakespearean property description has ever included the welcoming front porch perfect for sweating and swatting the terrorist we can’t see while wondering if Publix will have the fried chicken they promised. Our elegant magazine covers are void of photos of boat landings during Water Festival. We aren’t above the rough waters that flow throughout many towns, coastal or not.
Guilt fails to elude me when waxing poetic about the underbelly of the obvious. It is the South; our seasons are sweat and sweat less. It is a small price to pay for living in a painting. The romance of the seagrass bending to the will of the river, the live portrait of the marsh waking only to return to slumber draws in so many just as it keeps us still. Brokers in our area sell Beaufort; homes are just a by-product.
Selling the South takes a bit of panache, the ability to take sweltering and make it sweet. God’s favor shows in our sunsets, just as his wrath shows in our summers. Instead of dwelling on the more heated topics, we often sashay in our surroundings as we give tours through the art gallery that is life in the Lowcountry. We point out where the dolphins play but fail to mention the need for the infamous foot shuffle around certain sandbars. We feature the quaint while skirting the growing pains. We bask in our calm commute while speeding past the evacuation routes.
Akin to dating when all try to gloss over the flaws, blurring out the textures only to realize our imperfections are the true South. Living among the tides requires thick skin, one amenable to sand gnats and sunburns. While inviting others to our fairy tale, it’s OK to introduce the antagonist. Showcasing the blessings of a slower pace isn’t discounted by admitting that, at times, having one speed can be daunting.
Every sunrise has a sunset, and somehow they are equal in awe. Opening the door to the real South will only make for happier neighbors. Hurricanes may happen, and growing pains will, for sure, but at the end of the day, we still live in a place where artists flock, novelists dream, and few ever retire to move North.
Cherimie Crane Weatherford is the owner/founder of SugarBelle, a long-time real estate broker and a lover of the obscurities of southern culture. To contact her with praise and adoration, email CCWIslandNews@gmail.com. To complain, call your local representative.