Thursday, November 29, 2007

The South Seeps In

I spent Tuesday night painting pottery and soaking up lots of one-liners. In a room full of good ole' Southern gals, you expect it. So I kept quiet and made lots of mental notes. Like this one: "He may sleep in my house, but if he ain't careful he's gonna wake up in Hell!"


Good one. You may see that in one of my stories.

One little gal blurted out something about Santa, "My mama says believin' is receivin'!" I do believe that's found in the Bible somewhere, as well.

Oh sure, you can be smug about your vow to keep a few of your Northern traits. Some folks have taken up residence in the Southland and proudly proclaim their Yankee status. They eat healthy salads and refuse hush puppies, never partaking of barbeque. They laugh and carry on about the twangy accents around them that filter through their ears. Ah, but this is South. This is a way of life. It's not an act. It's not even a gimmick. It's who we are. And to the smallest degree, it will ooze into your pours after you've been here awhile ... like it or not.

This Dixie speech directs us and grounds us. Even those who hail from states above the Mason Dixon Line, eventually it'll seep into your vocabulary. A few words at first. Then suddenly, red is no longer one syllable but two. Sara Evans and Brooks and Dunn tunes begin to trickle off your tongue and you're apt to order grits with eggs and sip a sweet tea for the fun of it. A few Southern girlfriends is all it takes to trigger your tongue's ability to twang.

So the next time you bite your lip to keep a "bless her heart" from flying out, just let it. It's like taking your bra off before bed. A relief to give into a moment of freedom.

Blessings to you and yours.

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