I am sooo tired. It’s been a LONG week, but a good week, and shall be a better week still. Boychild got a job. That’s good. Girl child designed her best friend’s wedding invitations…they’re gorgeous…that’s good, too. Niece is in labor at the hospital. New babies are always good. Got more than 2 1/2″ of rain last night and that’s very good. It’s been a bit cooler today than it’s been in the last 3 weeks, but alas, we’ve managed to top that 90* mark once again. I’m trying to see the good in that…and I’m trying not to feel ungrateful by wishing on all the stars for more rain today…but I guess the sun’s so bright my wishes aren’t making it through. White hot summers…rain by spits and spruts…that’s what you have to live with when you chose to live in the south.
I got to thinking last night about other things that are typical of life in the deep south…things that make us who we are. The introspection was brought on by a mini-conversation with a good friend of mine over the fact that I added “ie” to her name. Junie(New Jersey) said she liked it and it made her feel like we were good friends. First, I reminded her that we are good friends, LOL, then I wondered why those two little letters would have given her the warm fuzzies…altho, I’m so happy they do. She’s a precious cheerleading angel to all who are lucky enough to know her.
But I’ve never been told that before. A good Southern girl learns early that very seldom do you make it all the way through life with the name you were born with left unadulterated as it was when your mama gave it to you. A William will go to his grave as a Billy. Same with Robert and James and Charles and Randall, etc. If you can’t abide the ie/y, once you’re grown, you can always try Bob, Rob, Jim and Chas…but someone will always know you with the happy little moniker and invariably address you in the most inconvenient times. (If it’s your grandmother..expect diaper stories to follow if you balk…) With Randall, you’re doomed. You’ll be Randy until God comes after you.
So, I wondered..what do Charly(Charlotte), and Kimmie (Kim), and Lainie(Elaine) and Margie(Margaret) think of the fact that I’ve never addressed them by their given names? And does Pam, Neva, Jen and Laura think I don’t love them because I’ve tagged nothing on to the end of their names? Maybe not; I can’t remember when the last time I addressed them by name. An alternative to the ie, and sometimes along with it, there is the other widely used set of options: Honey, Hon, Sweetie, Darling, Baby, Sugar, Sugarbug, Sugarbabe, Babydoll, and I’m sure there are many more. Oh and sometimes we just merely add girl to the end of your name. So, why do we do that? Because we must. Because we’re Southern, and because Sugar Pie sounds stupid.
There are rules to being a truly “brought up right” Southern woman.
1. You must send thank you cards for everything. My mother sent my son a thank you note after he gave her a couple of Bulldog cups, a calendar and some barbecue sauce. He was stunned and tickled. For her, it was the right thing to do.
2. You must say, “Y’all come.” whether you mean it or not. And then you have to go on a super madwoman housecleaning binge to make sure the house looks like no one lives in it before they can actually visit.
3. Make-up must be worn. Now this is an odd one…My mother always did her make-up before Daddy came home from work. She looked like a normal woman all day long, still beautiful, usually in one of his shirts, ratty shoes and pants. Then 1/2 hour before he got home, she disappeared into the bathroom and by the time she came out, it was Supermodel Mama. She wears make-up to the grocery store and always looks lovely. Now, the grocery store people have not dropped dead from the horror of my naked face, and until they do, I will not waste the cosmetics on them, but Walmart, Target…that’s a whole other kind of shopping. We dress for them…that’s why they use shopping carts, instead of the shopping buggies they use at the grocery store.
4. You must have a garden. And put up a winter’s worth of food for the freezer. Now, I and my sisters don’t do this. We have done it…tho clearly not on the level of our mother. We do, however, have that infernal need to nearly stroke out from pure happiness when someone gives us a topsy turvy. I have tomato plants and basil sitting on my counter just waiting to be stuffed in those litte plastic covered holes. And the thought of homegrown tomatoes makes my mouth water…though, few will likely make it past the ready-to-be-fried green stage.
4a. You must vow to allow at least 1/2 of the tomatoes reach full ripeness. No, it doesn’t mean you will be able to stay away from Folkes completely, but you can’t steal all the tomatoes so you can fry them green. Some of them actually WANT to go into salads.
5. If you love someone, you have to remind them. You can tell them all day long. Or you can tell them without constantly using those three little words by adding ie/y to the end of their names, or never calling them by thier names at all. To Charly, Pam, Neva, Nancy(she was born that way. LOL), Holly( she was, too), Sharzi, Jen, Laura, Lainie, Kimmy, Margie, and Junie, I love you guys, and you’ll all always be Sugarbabes to me
I’m off now to wait for Friday…and urge my son to do a raindance…