Living in the Southern United States all of my life, gives me a unique perspective on life that only those who live here or have lived here share with each other. I was thinking about the differences we have that are dear to us and make us gracious, warm, and beautiful.
Living in South Georgia most of my life but born in South Carolina, raised in Alabama, lived in North Carolina and Mississippi, gives me a pretty broad view of life in the South and in reflecting on these, I thought I would share some of them. If I write memories down, at my age, I will remember them later, I hope. If not, I can read them and remember and reflect.
The picture above was taken last week, the last week of November, in our rose garden and these were just one color. Lindsay brought me a whole bouquet of several colors he had cut. We also have Fire Poker lilies, sasanqua, and Confederate roses blooming in our yard. The nandina bushes are loaded with clusters of red berries and the holly tree is ablaze with red berries also. Camellias will be blooming in a few weeks and ready for the Christmas table.
Then there are the gracious manners that many have. I had gentlemen open the door for me to enter before him at 2 stores today and it was done with a smile. Yes ma'am, yes please, thank you, no please, and no ma'am, are used by most around here. Of course if a child forgets to say these, mama or daddy usually say, " Yes, what?" I can here our mama saying this to us even today.
If anyone is older than you, address them as "Mister" or "Mrs" and when they enter the room you stand and offer them a chair. Best not be sitting down if you are younger or mama would remind you to give your seat to the older person.
It is also a place where everyone knows what "ya'll", "Bless your heart", "over yonder", pot likker and cornbread, pecan pie, fried okra, collards, greens, peas and butter beans are. You know that ham and turkey are served at Christmas and Thanksgiving along with sweet potato souffle, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, cornbread dressing, pecan and pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce (home made), pickles, relishes, and hot rolls. Families add their favorites to these and it is a feast fit for a king or queen.
If you serve fried fish, you know there will be hush puppies, cheese grits, pickles, onions and slaw. Fresh tea is a must and it needs to be sweet and iced. If a waitress asks you "sweet or unsweetened", they are not from the South for tea is always sweet, ice cold and served with lemon - at least as far as I am concerned.
When I go to town, church or anywhere away from home, there were a few rules that mama insisted that I follow and I still do. If I don't , I can hear Mama in heaven saying, "Frances, are you going out dressed like that?" I must be clean, clean clothes, hair combed, earrings, mascara, and lipstick. The clothes best not be too tight, too short or neckline too low. Mama would remind us that we were to dress and look "respectable" and that we represented the family. You never know who you are going to see, she would say, and you need to look presentable. Those words will remain a part of me forever I am sure.
Sure makes it difficult when I see some of the "attire" that some people wear - too tight, too low, too high, and these days, too thin. Nothing is left to the imagination for it is all out there for all to see. Just because they make a top in size 50, doesn't mean you look good in it. I wonder if some people ever look in a mirror before they leave the house!
Life is wonderful down here in the South where the I can still see cotton (Southern snow) in the fields, buy fresh peas, butter beans, squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, greens and other fresh produce from the fields around us. Fresh tomatoes are even available right down the road from our house. We have not had a freeze yet and only a light frost. I have lemons on my tree and a tree loaded with oranges. They are almost ready!! I love the growing season here - almost year round.
As you can read, the South is my home and I love it here. I hear the soft sounds of our slow talking, that wraps around you like a sweet honeysuckle vine and is pleasant to the ears. I smell the pound cakes, fruit cakes, pecan pies, and other sweet delicacies baking the ovens. I watch the geese flying south in a beautiful V shape and hear the doves late in the afternoon as they nest for the night.
Come on down for a visit anytime.
The Georgia Peach