Friday, August 26, 2011

Hey, How Ya'll Doing?

You know the old saying, “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl?”  Well, I reckon, that would be me.  I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and we were poor.  No one told me we were poor.   I reckon I just figured it out on my on.   We were as poor as Joe’s old turkey.  We didn’t need an alarm clock to wake us up.  As soon as the sun came up, the rays from the sun woke us up as they beamed through the cracks in the house.   I mean, I don’t think this house even had sheet rock.  Yep, we knew it was time to get up.  Why, when we got running water in the house you would have thought that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.   We lived in a little old three bedroom shack right by the railroad track.   There was no indoor toilet.  Just the outside two seater and a Sears and Roebuck catalog.   Today, things are a little different for me.  I no longer have to use the outhouse.  In fact, I have quite a few bathrooms to choose from.   I am not bragging now, ya hear?  Cause guess who has to clean the dang things.    Back then, I had to go out the back door and walk across the yard to use the outhouse.  When the Sears and Roebuck catalog was missing, we knew where to find it. Gosh, it sure was different back then.  Just think there was no such thing as credit cards, well manicured lawns or putting pine straw down in  your yard.  Why, Memma used to take a broom and sweep the yard.  My husband and I got a notice in our mailbox the other day from the subdivision telling us that we needed to put fresh pine straw down.  Can you imagine that?  I asked my husband, “what’s wrong with the old?”I tell you what, though, you can say all you want about being poor, but let me tell you one thing.  We ate good.  My Mama always had a pot of pinto beans and a pone of cornbread.    There was always a jug of sweet tea, too.  Mama always cooked our breakfast before she went to school.  I feel really guilty about that.  I hope my kids had a bowl of cereal before school, I mean, I think they did.Today, kids have all of those fancy games to play.  We used to gang up at Memma and Granddaddy’s farm, go down to the barn and have a good ole corn cob battle.   Memma and Granddaddy had a house full of kids and just as many grandkids.  We were always at their house.  Going down to the barn and throwing corn cobs at each other was good, clean fun.  Yes, it was until someone rolled a corn cob in cow manure.   Of course, we played Annie Over, tag and we were always jumping rope.Yes, I went through a time when I tried my best to be a Southern lady.  You know, there’s a lot to learn about dealing with Southern women.  You just learn the tricks of the trade a lot quicker than anyone else.  Like knowing how to act, what to say just comes natural to Southern girls.  For example, you just play dumb when you know it pays off to play dumb.  It all started in the movie Gone with the Wind with “I don’t know nothing about birthing no babies”.  There are times when I have had a flat tire and I have stood there like a knot on a log, “I don’t know nothing bout fixing flat tires.”  Works everytime, especially before you hit a certain age.  And, let me tell you, I don’t know anything about fixing flat tires and I don’t want to know.  And, you notice, Southerners are always fixing to do something or going over yonder?  Yea, we may play dumb to some things, but we can drive tractors, trucks and, if we have to, cuss like a sailor.Charm, charm, charm.  Southern girls can charm the horns off of a billy goat.  We just smile, act dumb and sip our mint juleps.  Now, sometimes, it pays to act smart.  Especially, if you are around a girl that is dumber than a truck, you have to outwit her by showing your smarts.  Southern girls have a knack for sizing up a situation and playing the right cards.  We Southerners also have our pride and all of those little rules that have been handed down for generations stick with us forever.  For example, one thing I cannot get away from.  No matter how hard I try.  I will never wear white before Easter or after Labor Day.  I have stood in my closet with my hand on a pair of white pants and, nope.  I cannot make myself take them off that hanger if it is before Easter.   That is a definite no, no because Mama said so and her Mother said so, and my Great-Grandmother said so.There are a lot of rules to abide by when dealing with Southern girls.  Never talk about her family.  I don’t care if her family is poor white trash, you better not say anything about them.  Now, she can trash them all she wants, but no one else can.  That will get her dander up quicker than anything.  If she is talking about Uncle Joe being a sorry sack of crap,  and a good for nothing piece of pole cat, you best just listen.   If you say, Yea, that sorry old so and so.” Better watch out because she will go nuts.Don’t ever get too uppity with a us either.  And, you best layoff our men.    Case in point:  An uppity girl who definitely forgot her raising comes to visit in her designer clothes, Jimmy Choo shoes and Gucci sunglasses.  Miss Southern Girl’s beau is definitely drinking in the cleavage that Miss Uppity is displaying.  Miss Uppity knows it and continues to lean in a little close to the beau.  She laughs and giggles and smiles coyly.  After all, she has been up north for awhile and she thinks hers doesn’t stink.  Miss southern girl standing there in her unclaimed baggage jeans that turns out to be designer just didn’t cost as much as Miss Uppity’s.  Finally, having had enough, Miss southern girl’s eyes get all squinty – you know that beady look.  She takes in a deep breath and watch out, here comes the fangs.   She turns to Miss Uppity and says, “I love your dress, honey.” Miss Uppity smiles and looks down at her polished nails.  “Thank you,” she shrugs. Miss southern girl continues, “Sugar, I didn’t know your Mama was still sewing; did she make that dress for you?”This should put her in her place really quickly.  Miss Uppity might also hear the following quips:“You’ve lost a ton of weight, Bless your heart”“Your sister sure did look sickly the other day, bless her heart”“Yeow, hmm, uh huh,” means shut the hell up because she has tuned you completely out.“I didn’t know you took Home Ec in school”“Don’t you just love home-made dresses”“I really like those jeans, yea, Wal-Mart is really coming along”“Love that dress, honey, don’t you just love a bargain?”And, to someone that has been trying to lose weight for awhile “Yea, don’t you just love weight watchers; did you just start?” Too, tacky is a favorite word of the southern girl.  “God, can you believe she wore that God awful tacky dress to his funeral?”
There are lots of other Southern sayings that you might find amusing.  You might find that you use some of these words: “Are you serious?  Serious as a heart attack”“I’m fixing to go”“I’m going over yonder”“Whar”“Well, I’ll say…“Honey, you ain’t whistling Dixie”“Cold day in hell”“Serious as a Christmas turkey”“If I’m lying, I’m dying…”“There ain’t a cow in Texas“Honey, sugar wouldn’t melt in her mouth”“that will make you slap your Grandma”“She’s looking might pekad”“She looked purt (pert) today”“Come sit a spell”“She looks like death warmed over”Yap, yep, death’s knocking on her door”“Someone ran over my grave”“Putting on the dog”“Crazy as a Bessie bug”Yes, for sure, you need to know how to deal with Southerners.  They don’t cotton too well with anyone who has forgotten their come uppance.  I never will forget a cousin of my Mother’s who went off to Chicago to work.  He was up there about a month and came back for a visit.  Lord have mercy.  You would have thought he was speaking Chinese when he came back.  Everyone talked about his “northern brogue”.  He really put on the dog.  I know that his poor old Mama was embarrassed to death that he forgot his come uppance.  In other words, he forgot how he was raised.  He came back home talking like a Yankee.  That went over like a lead balloon.  People sniggered behind his back.  But, I can tell you one thing, no one said a word in front of his Mother.  Yep, it is hard to leave your roots and then go home.  Those that you left behind always feel a little slighted.  So, another big rule is to never ever forget your upbringing. 

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