Moving to the ‘Deep South’

Published 3:01 pm Thursday, September 17, 2009

Moving to a small town can bring big changes for some people—some good, some bad.

But for Pastor Michael Precht and his wife Jennifer, moving to Brantley from North Carolina has been like a breath of fresh air.

Precht is a United Methodist pastor and serves the congregations of Brantley UMC and Brunson Chapel. Both he and Jennifer are graduates of Trinity Presbyterian School and Furman University. Pastor Precht also graduated from Duke Divinity School; he then served as an associate pastor in Cary, NC.

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“Crenshaw County is a special place,” he said. “But we’ve noticed some very distinct differences between living here and living in North Carolina.”

Even though North Carolina is part of the “Deep South,” Precht laughed and said their former town of Cary is fondly referred to as a “Containment Area for Relocating Yankees.”

He listed some major differences that he has noticed since moving to Brantley and the “Deep South.”

“First of all, the words ‘vegetable’ and ‘meat’ are meaningless distinctions,” he said. “There are only two categories of a southern meal, and those are ‘the fried part’ and the dessert.”

Also, the weather in the South can be much more frightening, especially when it comes to lightning storms.

“The lightning storms here are just colossal,” he said. “They’ll make you sing ‘How Great Thou Art’ when you see one from a ridge.”

Another characteristic that Precht and his wife have noticed is the familiarity among neighbors.

“Anyone who knocks on the front door is probably a serial killer and should be ignored,” he said, laughing. “The civilized people know to go around to the back.”

And boiled peanuts. Everyone in Crenshaw County knows that it is famous for not only the World’s Largest Peanut Boil, but also for the mom-and-pop stores that sell the tasty goobers.

“You couldn’t even find a boiled peanut back in Cary,” he said. “You have no idea how lucky you are here.”

But Precht worries about how long this “ideal” location will continue to exist as it is now.

“What we consider as Christendom, where everyone basically operates under the core values of Christianity, has disappeared in so many places all over the United States. But it can still be found here in Crenshaw County.”

“We can’t rely on the government or other institutions to back us up anymore when it comes to living the Christian faith,” he said. “We need to be a Christian voice for our children and for those who don’t even have a voice yet.”

Other things have taken the place of church, Precht noted, such as sports, television, the Internet, and shopping.

“We need to inspire courage in our children for them to stand up for the Christian faith, or we’ll lose the special places that we have left, just like here in Crenshaw County,” he said.

Precht, his wife Jennifer, and their four-month-old daughter Elsa were the guests of the Luverne Kiwanis Club on Sept. 15. Kiwanian Melissa Bush was the program chairman.