Good evening, ya'll. Come on in for a cup of coffee and a chat. I am sitting out in the sun room watching the sun go down and night creep in. This is a special time of the day for me for God is putting everything to sleep, including me. The birds have hushed and all is quiet and settling in for the night.
Ya'll know I like to talk about Southern ladies and what makes us special. I used to think you had to have born in the South but as I grow older I realize there are some great "Southern ladies" who have moved down here and adopted our ways. Now they still have trouble sounding like us, our Southern drawl, but their language has become a tad more mellow and slow. Not quite there, but working on it.
One of my observations about what makes us special is respect. It's not the RESPECT the song talks about but the respect we have for ourselves and others. For instance, a true Southern lady would never go to town with her hair rolled up even with a scarf covering it up. When you go to town you don't dress for church but you do dress to meet your public. After all you never know who you might meet up with in the grocery store or post office. You sure don't want them thinking you surely don't know how to dress to appear in public. That will make your mama look bad and that is unacceptable in the South. Our mamas raised us right and we must not shame them for if we do we can hear them in our heads putting that guilt trip on us. Southern mamas are right skilled at this and we know how to use it for your advantage. Some seem to think it is your conscious but take my word for it, it is your mama.
Looking your best in public is showing respect for yourself and others. I can remember mama and other ladies I knew, always put on clean dresses, flats or sandals, depending on the season, and hair would be brushed and makeup skillfully applied. She would never have worn shorts, a sleeveless blouse or house slippers. Why I see women in house slippers slopping around in the grocery store and I just know they don't like themselves and their mamas didn't raise them right or they just ignored her. As for shorts, Lord have mercy, they get shorter and shorter and not just the girls wearing them that way but their mamas and grandmamas also. Not a pretty sight!
Of course, since I grew up in that house with mama I follow the same unwritten laws. I will wear jeans or capri pants but shorts are a no no. My hair may not look it's best but it surely won't have curlers in it and will look the best it can with lots of hairspray. Makeup may be minimal but I wouldn't dare go to town without my blush, mascara and lipstick. That is as minimal as I will go out in public. You just need to paint the old barn up a little to look your best.
Respect for others is also ingrained in a Southern lady from the time we are born until the day we die. Saying yes ma'am, no ma'am, thank you and please are taught to us as soon as we can say mama and daddy. It is basic language you need to show your respect for anyone older than you, doing you a service, or your supervisor in your job. It doesn't matter how old they are if they are doing you a service, you say yes ma'am or yes sir, please and thank you. We are just showing them respect for being of service to us.
I have had principals, preachers and doctors a whole lot younger than me but I addressed them as Mr. or Mrs., Dr. or Reverend and said yes sir or ma'am, thank you and please. They were serving me or in authority over me and I respected that and didn't mind letting them know it. After all, mama said I should and that was all that was needed to be said. It's not painful and I like respect given to me but if I don't show respect to others, I don't deserve to be shown respect. It's kinda like you get what you give most every time.
We were also taught to respect our elders. My daddy only gave me 3 spankings and all three were for disrespecting mama and 2 older ladies. I knew better but the disrespectful words just popped right out of my mouth and daddy's belt just popped right out of his pants and on to my behind. The best I can remember, I didn't do that again.
Respecting and caring for older people is not always a pleasant experience but it can be most of the time. Throughout my years I have been blessed to know many wise and wonderful older people and they have enriched my life greatly. The first older person I remember was Neenie Stuart and she taught me unselfishness, service to others and to love Juicy Fruit chewing gum. i also knew better than to chew it in church or in other groups. She was a lady through and through but had a sense of humor and a kind word in all situations. We loved her immensely and thank you Lord for putting her in our lives. Most of the time our older relatives may live with us and as time goes by it gets harder but we love them anyway and try to take care of them - it's respect.
I'm afraid respect for self and others is not being taught to many of our younger generation these days. I see toddlers talking back to parents, teens shouting at their parents and children not showing respect to teachers or anyone else. They also don't respect themselves for clothes are almost non-existent in some cases on our young women. It is a shame and a disgrace, as mama would say. The language of both sexes is profane in many cases which also shows a lack of respect for themselves and others.
Thank goodness there are still a lot of Southern mamas teaching their children how to be ladies and gentlemen and they know how to be respectful. If makes my heart feel good and I can smile and say, "See mama, there are still some good Southern mamas down here."
The Georgia Peach