Yes, I do consider myself a 'GRITS' kind of girl, after all, I was born in San Antonio and lived most of my school age and middle age in the South. There was one part of my life that I lived in the North. Please don't get me wrong, as there are some lovely places in the North and I still have long term friends from where I lived and raised two wonderful children. There is a huge dot deal difference in the cultures. Some good and some...well (Snow and cold are not my friends)
Truly, I embrace and cherish my Southern upbringing. We lived in the city, however, my great grandparents had a farm. A real farm with cows, chickens, goats, sheep, horses, barns, crops, and everything else that goes with owning a farm. I reckon that the horses are what made it fun to go to the country for me. My great uncle was a true horse whisperer and he loved to put me on a horse and take off for a ride out in the country. That is about as country as I can get, except for my speech. Being told as a child to hush my mouth or that there was no need to pitch a hissy fit or one of my favorites was that I was gettin too big for my britches, honey chile.
In my teenage years, I knew I was in big trouble when my momma told me to sit down so that she could tell me how the cow eats the cabbage.
The Southern expressions are all in my head and many times they pop out when I least expect them to. There is no way to hush my mouth, I swannie! Many expressions were used by grown-ups all around me and as a child, you just learn what they mean and when to use them in context. For grown-ups who did not swear, like my dear very Southern grandmother, she would use, "Well, I swannie," all the time. Usually when she heard or saw something unbelievable. It was because she would not say, "Well, I swear!" Swear was changed to swannie. Actually, I learned that true meaning not so long ago.
Already, I know that we drop the g on the end of words such as good morning (mornin') and Darling (Darlin'). And of course, you do know everyone is Darlin' in the South. This really did seem to bother some of my Northern family who would meet my grandmother and hear her call them this, as well as when it was time for goodbyes she really, really did always say and meant it from her heart, "Y'all come back now, ya hear?" Bless her heart! It was who she was. No pretense.
Speaking of Bless Her Heart, you are aware that depending on how it is said, this phrase means many different things. For a woman who showed up wearing something that she just did not have a clue about how terrible it looked or a pot luck dish that was inedible, the other women would gather in closely and say while shaking their heads, "Why bless her heart." This meant that they really need to take some pity on her for she does not know any better. Then again, if you dropped something on the floor and someone helped you by picking it up and handing it to you, then bless your heart is as sincere as a thank you! There actually is a book out that explains when and how to use this phrase. Lawdy, lawdy!
Some that my grandfather would say were just too visual for me, such as after dinner when he overate, he would say that he was full as a tick on a fat dog. Or when someone was way going over the edge with excitement and anxiety then he added she is running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (By the way, when I went to the farm, I actually saw this in real life - well, not the chicken's life, that is for sure, and not a sight that I ever wish to see again).
I think that I will save other Southern expressions for future blogs because I am fixin to sign off on this one. Mainly because it is lunch time and I am in need of a truly Southern lunch which is a 'mater' sandwich. Good bread, light mayo, a home-grown tomato with some pepper on it - and it is like stepping back in time. As a true southern author, Lewis Grizzard has been quoted as saying, "It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a home grown tomato."
Brought to you by a Girl Raised in the South GRITS!