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Southern Fried: Memories From My Younger Self

Updated on November 7, 2010

A Lifetime Of Observations

I want to share some tidbits. Hopefully, you will see the humour, and agree, some people are here just to  make our life interesting.  Not all "southerners", are tobacco spitting, toothless, shoot you on sight, skin your hide, hillbillies.............but those qualities lie deep within a true southern spirit.   So does " southern justice", lest you attack me!

The Bible Belt

Be sure, very sure that it does exist.

However, not all of us were "born" believers. I was not.

Once, I was known for my sharp and biting wit. This wit included the phrase, " God bless my rebel ass".

Whether you find it endearing or offensive, it is the truth.

I was known among my family and my friends for saying this phrase, when astounded, when in disbelief, when at a loss for something more fitting to knew this was coming......

As a young mother, and a new Christian, sitting attentively in the third or fourth pew.....

My two year old daughter, with a good vocabulary of her own, dashed out of the nursery, came charging into the Sanctuary, declaring, " I want my Mama"..............the old ladies found it adorable,such a sweet child,  what a good mom I must be..........

Well, the Pastor, just happened to be reviewing the Beatitudes, and when he said, " Blessed are the merciful" young daughter cried out.........

"And God Bless My Rebel Ass"..................

I the floor, into oblivion, she had learned what she had been taught........and I learned as well. I never again voiced that phrase. Nor, did I dare ask God for mercy. You really do reap what you sow.

So You Want To Go Frog Giggin, Do You

Frog giggin.......the capturing of frogs, is quite a sport in some parts of the south. Frog legs are considered a delicacy....

My brothers and some friends, were on such an adventure one night when a headlight on the truck went out. Being the imaginative sort that they were, one offered a desperate solution. A .22 caliber bullet would fit perfectly, in the fuse box, remaking the wiring connection.

All was well for a while, then while crossing a ditch, a sporting event common to the south, the bullet went off, shooting the driver's testicle off. The boys received ' a real good talkin to' from Grandpa. I was very relieved that I had not been allowed to follow my brothers! The repair of the injury was never discussed in my presence. Nor, can I tell you firsthand what 'a real good talkin to' entails.......I do think, I am fortunate not to have ever gotten one.

That incident was a high price to pay for frog legs! I do not care where you are from, or how good your Grandma can make them taste.


Pinto Beans

Every single day of her adult life, my Grandmother put these things upon her table: fried potatoes, cornbread and pinto beans. EVERY SINGLE DAY..........for years without end.....

I love fried potatoes, I like cornbread, but I do not care if I never eat another pinto bean. Isn't it odd the way things influence us?

Once, as a kid, we went to some " to do", it could have been a family reunion, or some other celebration.

I went through the serving line ( as a kid ) and one lady put pintos on my plate. I went out of sight, discarded the beans, and went back through the line. The same lady, was still serving, she again, put the beans on my plate. Again, I went out of her sight and trashed the beans. Going a third time to the serving line, the same lady greeted me, " Bless your heart child, you sure like beans"...............I dropped my plate and ran quickly to the safety of my brothers.

They were big enough to serve themselves and snitch me something to eat as well.


Hot Rod Magazines

My Grandmother never met anyone that she could not feed. Everyone was welcome at her table and to her home. To the neighborhood, and its outreaching areas, she was known as " Granny".

Through her outreach, the family had a friend, Ricky.......

Ricky grew up ( sorta) and got married. Apparently, his wife was more prepared for marriage and home life than Ricky was. He was known for improper husbandly behavior. His wife said so, and so did her brothers.

On one occasion, Ricky was asked to leave his marital home, and he came to my Grandmother........who welcomed him.

Ricky brought in box after box and  still more boxes. Finally, Granny asked, Son, where are your clothes, all you have here are magazines........?

Ricky said, " well Granny, if she is mad enough to burn my clothes, there's no telling  what she would do to my hot rod magazines". 

Some things have more value than others.

The Reform School

Today it would be called 'juvenile hall", then, and there, it was the " Boy's Industrial Training School", and it was about four miles across the field, and seven by the roadway. It was barely visible on a clear day, yet we knew it was there. The 'school' knew where the farm was, and probably the residents had a general idea of where the private property began. I am not sure about this, but I speculate, it would have been considered a safety zone.

One foggy morning, the radio station reported an escape from the training center. Shortly after the report, there was a knock on the door. A few moments later, the request to my Grandmother to prepare 3 more breakfast plates, which were served, unobserved on the front porch.

At mid morning, another knock came upon the door, drawing my Grandfather outdoors. When Grandpa closed the door, you were not to follow. He practiced, " children are to be seen and not heard", but for some reason, he did allow me some leeway......perhaps he knew I was outnumbered by brothers, or maybe there was another reason. I was privy to things, that my brothers were not, though I was also expected to behave.

However, I opened the front door and stood at the screen, listening, hearing enough to wonder if I should be afraid. What I can recall :

officer........3 escaped convicts, beware, weapons, dangerous, contact us if you see them!

Papa.......Well, I already saw them

officer.......when, where,

Papa.....they were here this morning

officer.....are you ok, is your family harmed, what did they want, where were they headed

Papa......all I know is they wanted something to eat

officer.......what did you do

Papa.........I asked the Mrs. to fix 3 plates

officer.......why did you do that?

Papa...... ( with a slight chuckle) I told you, they were hungry

Out of the Mouth of Southern Babes

This is the story of my dad, who semi- retired , to be around his grandchildren, speaking to one of my daughters.

Poppa........It was a long night and I could not sleep, so I asked the Lord , to let me sleep

Daughter.......eyes upon Grandpa, says nothing

Poppa........It was too early to get up and go to work, there was nothing on TV so I said, Lord, Lord, help me sleep

Daughter.......never taking her eyes of her Grandpa

Poppa.......I said, Lord, Lord, tell me what to do. It is too early to go to work, nothing on TV and I can't sleep

Daughter........just watching Grandpa's eyes

Poppa........finally, the Lord said, Bill, just lay there and think about your lovely grand daughter, think about how pretty she is, how smart she is, just think about how lucky you are to have her

Daughter.........Poppa, why didn't you just ask the Lord for a shorter night!

North, South And Some Differences

The North has sun-dried toe-mah-toes.  The South has 'mater samiches.

The North has coffeehouses.  The South has Waffle Houses.

The North has double last names. The South has double first names.

The North has the Mafia.  The South has NASCAR.

The North has Indy car races. The South has Swamp Buggy races.

The North has lobsters.  The South has crawdads.

The North has distilleries , breweries and liquor stores. The South has stills, moonshine and them ridgerunners.

Work Ethic

A Grandmother at a feisty 91 years old and living alone in a small town in Alabama had a total hip replacement and was house bound. Her family, was concerned for her welfare and called Meals on Wheels.

The next day a volunteer phoned the woman and cheerfully explained that Meals on Wheels is a service which relies on volunteers to help the elderly and the ill.  Would she be interested in it?

There was a reflective pause. "Well, sure," the 'housebound' woman said. "If you can't find anyone else to get food to the old people, I guess I can."

Things Not Easily Understood In Other Regions

How we know the difference between hissy and conniption fits and how to recognize each.

Where exactly, 'over yonder' is located.

How long it will take you to arrive, after you have said, " I'll be there directly".

How to measure distance in time. It's about 45 minutes to the state line.

The difference between "pert near" and " a right far piece".

The difference between moonshine and white lightening.

Southern cooks sense when a neighbor  is in trouble. They will arrive with platters of fried chicken and crocks of potato salad in tow.

Southern cooks also know if you are in serious trouble. They bring the fried chicken, potato salad AND banana pudding!

Southern Grandmothers have the best method for preventing milk from going sour. They keep it in the cow.

A Brave Lady

 I had taken my daughters out to eat.  They were all under ten, and not used to ugly or foul language. 

Seated near us were four men, who were excited about something that had happened during their workday.  Their talk was pretty rough , and constant.  I did not want my daughters to hear it, in fact, I did not want to hear it either.  It persisted.

I was trying to brace myself to approach them, without incurring their anger...

Before, I could muster the courage, an elderly and feeble woman, left her table, strolled over and very briskly said,  " you boys, gonna eat with those mouths"?

I have no idea who she was, if she felt any intimidation, but that little lady, is one of my inspirations.  She had spunk!


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