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Thursday, August 18, 2011

G.R.I.T.S.




The women in my family are "GRITS"... that is.. Girls Raised In The South.   My sisters and I, raised by our Southern Momma and our Yankee Daddy.  Yes, you read that right.  My little joke I often tell is that Daddy was born a Yankee, but he got here as fast as he could.  He and Momma were kids when they married, and are married to this very day.

Growing up, I thought the whole world was just like us.  I thought every family went to church on Sunday and ate fried chicken and sweet tea for Sunday dinner.  I was an adult before I found out that not everyone eats baked ham, collard greens with ham hocks, rice and black eye peas, and corn bread for New Years Day dinner.  And quite frankly, I was shocked.  

We were taught to say "please" and "thank you", and to say "yes Sir", and "no Ma'am".   We were expected to eat what was on our plates, and to have nice manners at the table.  And if you can't say something nice, then you say nothing at all.  No "acting ugly" unless you wanted to get in trouble.   We sat up straight, minded our manners, and respected our elders.  

Our grandparents were like a second set of parents.  Granny told us that we should every day look in the mirror before we walked out that door.  If we see something we didn't like, then it was up to us to change it.  She checked our nails, and you'd best not have any dirt.  Clean, neat, and tidy... always.  

We didn't learn to sew or knit or crochet, but we did learn to cook and clean.  We are all excellent pea shellers and berry pickers. Momma was the best cook ever.  And in the South, food equals love.  Momma canned homemade preserves, and bread n' butter pickles.  She baked cakes, hot fluffy biscuits, and a million other delicious things that my sisters and I just loved.  The menfolk hunted.  Daddy shot deer, and we had a freezer full of fresh venison.  He also fished, and we even raised a couple of hogs.  And many chickens.   This was normal for us.  It never dawned on us that there were people who'd never even seen some of the things we took for granted.

Sometimes I look at how young ladies are today.  They just don't say, "yes Ma'am" like we did.  Twelve year old little girls are wearing outfits you'd see on a 22 yr old.  What on earth is their momma thinking?  And smart mouthed!   Yes, I know.. "times have changed".  Indeed they have.  And as far as I can tell, not for the better.  It seems that the southern belle is a dying breed.  What a pity. :(

Growing up, Daddy worked a job and Momma was home to cook and clean and raise us kids.  We ate sausage and grits and eggs for breakfast.. not microwave food.  




"Going out to eat" was a special treat.  Not an every day thing.  We didn't drink Cokes all the time.  We drank sweet iced tea.  Strong enough to put hair on your chest and sweet enough to rot your teeth.  Amazing stuff.  Thus giving me a lifelong sugar habit. 





Forget the silliness you see on television.  We didn't sip mint juleps under a magnolia tree, but we kids sure did like climbing the neighbors tree.  We didn't use parasols and say "Fiddle dee dee!" but we watched "Gone With The Wind" every time it came on.   We weren't debutantes, and we didn't belong to a country club.  But we were and are Southern Belles in our own right.    Being polite, using good manners... being clean, neat, and presentable and being family-oriented... we were taught generosity to others, and having and believing in old fashioned values... this was us.  How we were... and how we are.  

We were taught that swearing shows a lack of intelligence.  Not that we don't swear.. we do.  (Working on breaking that VERY bad habit)  Bad language is not something to be proud of.   I want to stop doing it.. I know better.  I was raised better than that.

My sisters and I come from a long line of feisty women.  We were raised to be strong.  To stand on our own two feet.  To be down-to-earth, but to always hold our heads high.   Hold onto our pride.  And that God and family are the most important things in life.


Below:  A photo of a famous Belle that I loved and admired.  Dixie Carter, RIP.



2 comments:

  1. Susan, I am coming to visit! You will cook me some of that wonderful sounding Southern food and we will feast. We will swap stories of the importance of manners and respect and bringing up daughters. And we will have some good old fashioned family fun. Great post! I wish I was on my way.

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  2. Sue I wish you were on your way too! I'd love to have you visit! :) We'd have a wonderful time!! :)

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