Culture

Traditions All Southern Belles Uphold

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Courtney Hall
Written by Courtney Hall

1) Monogrammed Casserole Dishes

We really like to make casseroles. Casseroles for every occasion! Funeral casserole, wedding casserole, graduation casserole, new baby casserole! No better, or more stylish way to pack them to your party than in a monogrammed casserole dish. Do I have one? Not yet. Am I getting one? You bet your ass I am.

2) We really like to celebrate everything with a ‘shower’.

No life event goes unnoticed to a Southern lady without first having a shower. Graduations, births, new homes. We’ll give you a really awesome party, with great food and lots of gifts. It’s a win-win, and nobody can throw a shower like a Southern lady.

3) The “after church” Sunday dinner.

Honey, this is where you pull out the big guns. If you’re lucky enough to still have Grandma around, you know that she’s left services after Sunday school to go home and whip up her best fried chicken and gravy, or chicken and dumplins. The entire family piles into a designated house, youngun’s running in the yard, the crazy Uncle is insulting everyone, and everyone is happy. Those are my favorite dinners. Mounds of pea salad, 7 layer salad, potato salads, all the “fat” salads you can think of! It’s heaven.

4) Brunch is kind of our thing.

Every year the women in my family have a Mother’s Day brunch, where we drink Asti from crystal stemware and my Aunt cuts down half her hydrangeas and arranges them in centerpieces with all her best linens on the tables. Any excuse to drink Mimosas at 11 o’clock and join the “old guard” in the ranks of Motherhood is okay with me.

5) If you do not have hydrangeas, azaleas, or a snowball bush on your property somewhere, are you really Southern?

I learned first hand what back alley whispers about women who can’t manage their flower beds can do a person’s self esteem. Seriously. Women are really mean, and judgemental. I let my flower beds go to shit the first year I moved into my house because honestly, I was too tired to fool with them. You would have thought I had sacrificed my first born child. Put some effort into your landscaping, even if just to keep up appearances.

6) You Must Grow Tomatoes aka “Maters”

Honestly, I have no clue what it is about this one, but I have one explanation that Ousiser Bourdreaux gave from Steel Magnolias. This quote explains it all. Spoiler alert: I’m asked every year if I’ve started growing my tomatoes and I always feign helplessness and say that they’ve died. Honestly, I have no desire to grow them because I have no green thumb. (Sorry, Grandma)

Anelle: “Then why do you grow them?
Ouiser: “Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules!

7) You must have a whiskey decanter somewhere in your home. If anything else just to pay homage to your heritage. Come on.

I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards, and a jug of whiskey.” – Andrew Jackson

8) You keep a lucky tee shirt somewhere in your drawer.

You know exactly what I’m taking about. I’m a die-hard WILDCAT fan, but all over the SEC, ladies hold this same sentiment about their lucky sports gear. Either way, you’ve got some sort of hoo-doo, voo-doo lucky tee shirt that’s not been washed for 15 years because of some weird superstition, or that you literally only wear when your team (football or basketball) plays. I have two. One for regular season, and one for tournament time. Obviously, since most of you know I’m a Wildcat, I’ll likely burn the “tourney” one for sake of casting out evil spirits, or at least douse it in sage smoke and say that it’s been decontaminated. Either way, I know you ladies know what I’m talking about. Kentucky doesn’t get called the basketball state for nothing, and SEC during football season is basically everything.

9) You have a collection of fine china, antique pottery, or some sort of glassware that was started for you at a very young age.

This is another one that I’m clueless about, but that I love. I’m not sure if my Mom and Aunts started collecting this stuff for me as a means of a dowery or what, but seriously, the amount of depression, carnival glass and antique pottery in my possession today will make you want to kill me off to have my estate sale. Seriously. It’s a bit ridiculous to the point to where I need three china cabinets just for storage. Blue Willow? Two full place settings, along with hostess sets and serving spoons. Depression glass? *Scoffs* What color? Milk Glass…..by the vase. Carnival Glass…by the punch bowl. Hull, Roseville, McCoy, Wedgewood, I’ve got it all. Seriously, my family is so crazy, and I’m right there with them.

10) You hang the shit out of some ferns and hanging baskets.

I’ll tell ya, I may be broke as a jay bird but I’ll find some way to spend a hundred dollars on ferns and hanging baskets. I recently put in window boxes, like I live on the battery in Charleston or something. Who knows, but I live in a respectable neighborhood now, so I have to keep up with the Jones’, and nothing quite says you’re a wife and mother like four ferns hanging from brackets on the pillars of your porch. I guess I’ve finally made it.

12) You decorate your home accordingly to every Holiday.

Excuse me, but if you do not have your Christmas lights up for Christmas you’re just lazy. In the fall, get your fodder shocks, mums and pumpkins ready. Easter, you better hang those ugly little plastic Easter eggs from some sort of bush or tree. Fourth of July you better have your patriotic swags hanging from the window and American flags flying from everything you can fly it from. For all minor holidays,like Cinco De Mayo, St. Patty’s Day, or Valentines Day, a garden flag or mailbox covering will suffice.

13) You spend a lot of money on wreaths.

If you ever want to throw money up a wild boar’s ass, just buy a door wreath because that’s what you’re doing, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Wreaths, wreaths for every occasion. I have a UK one, one for every holiday, one for both of my kids, one for when I was married, one for my anniversary, three for every season. My poor garage can’t hold many more. Sometimes I will attempt to make them myself but it never goes well.

14) You still remember your high school fight song cheer, and gleefully regale in everything glory days.

I have no idea why this is a thing, but it so is. My Mom and Aunts can still do the Navajo War Dance. I still remember the Perry Central Fight Song. I have pictures framed of when I lost Homecoming Queen to my best friend my senior year. Stories come out in nearly all social gatherings. It’s this weird thing that I honestly think is just some sort of thing with small, southern towns. High school is something that connects people to happy times, and it’s always nice to talk about it, and remember it. I guess??

15) You have a recipe book chocked full of Grandma’s favorite recipes and traditions and you kill yourself trying to be her incarnate. But it never works out, because she’s basically perfect.

In my experiences, Grandma holds it all together. She expects the most, and she’s the reasons why all these traditions exist. She’s the story teller, the authority on all that’s holy in regards to these things. It’s only natural that you would want to do everything by her book. That’s how I am. Hell, I’m still trying to get step 1 right and make sweet tea like she does, complete with a sprig of mint picked directly from my herb garden. Sigh. Maybe one day.

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