Tongue in cheek
Indulge me please.
My eldest is doing genealogy for both sides of his family.
Papaw (My father’s father) always said to not go digging around in the past; you never know what you might find. Horse thieves from Missiouri, perhaps… If only that were the case. Thieving horse stealers would be so preferable to what he has found out about my great-great-grandfather. The dirty Yankee! It pains me greatly to admit it. Damn Yankee! Multiple wives. A preacher to boot! Oh, oh, oh!! I am beside myself with this information. Now we know why he was never mentioned- no family story about him to pass down.
Horse thief/Yankee. Not equal in my estimation. Yankee is far worse.
What would my Daddy have thought? I wonder.
Thank God for my Southern Grandmothers. A praying group of women they have always been.
God bless the Southern Belles that the Yankee men fell for…. at least for a time, because they didn’t stay around long till they skedaddled back to their Yankee mothers.
And here I was calling my ex’s people traitors and opportunistic raccoons for siding with the North up in Tishomingo County during the Northern Aggression. Guarding Grant himself. I think. Maybe Sherman..? That’s still worse because they were Southern born and bred.
Oh, my identity, proudly Southern, has been smeared with Yankee blue on both my mother’s and now my father’s side. Oh, oh, oh.
So, all of this begs a question: what the heck am I? Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Live in Podunk Mississippi. Does your geographical position make you Southern? I do hope so.
I don’t like cold weather. Snow is a big No for me. My blood is too thin to live above the Mason Dixon Line.
I cringe when I hear children answer adults with a plain yes or nah. That should be “Yes, ma’am” or “No, ma’am”, thank you very much.
While in Washington, D.C. a few summers back, I toured some of the Smithsonian. Going through a metal detector, the young girls ahead of me ignored the security guard’s greeting to have a nice time touring the museum. He wanded my purse and also told me the same that he had told the girls. But I responded the way my very Southern Grandmother would have wanted, “Thank you, sir,” I answered. He stopped me. “Ma’am, ma’am. Where are you from?” he asked. “Mississippi,” I replied. “Ah, Mississippi,” the security guard said wistfully with a smile. He gently shook his finger at me and said again, “Well, you have nice time visiting D.C., ma’am.” He heard my Southern accent. He recognized my Southern manners.
In an antique shop in a suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, my accent opened the shop owner’s want for conversation and to find a thin thread of commonality between us. “Oh, you’re from the South, ” she said when she heard me say that I was just browsing. “Quite South,” I answered. “Quite South?” the shop owner repeated. “Yes, I am from Mississippi, by way of Baton Rouge.” “Oh, Baton Rouge! Are you Catholic, by any chance?” “Uh, no”, I replied. “I ask,” she said, “because I went to Catholic school and all the nuns were from Baton Rouge.” That thin thread connecting.
And I enjoy my cornbread and peas every New Year’s Day. I had a Northerner tell me one time that catfish was a bottom feeding trash fish. Might be, but next to hushpuppies and coleslaw I call that a mighty fine meal. Grits! Try ordering that in northern environs. If one could find it on a menu, you’d have to gain access to the kitchen to teach them how to prepare them. The joys of a ripe tomato between two pieces of lightly toasted bread with a slathering of mayonnaise. Did that last word have you confused? If it did you are probably a Yankee. ‘Cause y’all shortened that word to just mayo and now everybody calls it that. Being from Louisiana, and growing up in the Southern part of the state, the Cajun influence was deep. Mayonnaise was pronounced ‘my-nez’. It’s not your “nez”, it’s my “nez”. I know, I know. Wasn’t until I moved to Mississippi that I learned to pronounce it correctly. Mayo-naise. Ah, well.
No white shoes or clothing after Labor Day and never before Easter. And you don’t leave the house with wet hair or not brushed either. You go out the door as an example of your upbringing. You represent your family at all times.
All of the above makes me Southern, right? Can we not just rebury that Yankee? It was a difficult time. The War Between the States. He was young. She was younger. It was a border state. Emotions were high and off kilter. Poor little Susan. She didn’t know John would turn that Yankee coat and head back home right after the war was over.
I’m going to say I’m Southern. Claim it for my own.
(I love you my Yankee friends. You’re down here. You must know a good thing when you see it.)
Thank you for reading.
Genealogy Blessings from the very Southern Exile’s Kitchen.
(this was first posted on my fb acct last year and has been edited)