Introduction: I grew up in the south. I am a southern girl through and through. If there is one thing that makes me instantly feel like a child again, it’s the sound of a deep southern draw coming from the mouth of a man or woman, preferably over the age of 50.
I have listened to conversations throughout my life while sitting in restaurants, beauty salons, the waiting room of a doctor, dentist or chiropractor’s office, my living room, a church pew, on my grandmother’s porch, seasonal socials, anywhere there is a crowd one is sure to “overhear” information that even the person of whom is being spoken, may not even know…yet.
When writing the following, I could not help but feel a bit like I was betraying my roots. However, after overhearing a conversation in a waiting room the other day that took me back a decade or so, when I was being added to several “prayer lists,” I could not help myself. Names have been changed to avoid any upsets (so if you happen to have the same name as those listed here, you probably think this is about you. It isn’t.)
I love listening to women in conversation, especially southern women. Whether it is their first or third time discussing, it is no less dramatic. Rest assured if they are speaking to someone different about the same situation, a few of the details will have changed and at some point in the conversation, a hand will cover the heart or be strategically placed on the cheeks (as to avoid having to reapply any makeup that may be compromised in the process) while emphasizing their concern and utter disbelief.
Oh and you should know that if the discussion is prefaced by the words, “We need to pray for…” or anything that alludes to a prayer request, it is not considered gossip.
From time to time I will include in my writings, many of the different sayings we use down here in Dixie. For those of you who have never experienced an actual conversation, it looks something like this…
Let’s imagine the setting as the produce section of the supermarket.
Southern Belle #1: “Well, Hey There! What are you doin’ here this time a day?”
Southern Belle #2: “Hey! I’m just pickin’ up some last minute things on my way home from choir practice.“
Southern Belle #1: “Oh. Well, did you hear? Betty’s daughter, Mary Beth, didn’t get in to Ole Miss.”
Southern Belle #2: “WHAT?! You’re kidding! How will she ever find a husband? Not to mention, Betty’s sorority legacy where she, her mother and her mother’s mother all pledged and were members, will come to an end?! Such a shame. Bless ‘er heart! Is she devastated?!“
Southern Belle #1: “Well, what do you expect?! Of course she’s devastated! She says she’s fine, but I know better. She’s humiliated. To make matters worse, I think Mary Beth is sleepin’ with her boyfriend.”
Southern Belle #2: “Who is he? What does his daddy do?“
Southern Belle #1: “Nobody evens knows?! Can you believe that?!”
Southern Belle #2: “Bless. Her. Heart. It’s worse than I thought. I will add her to the Sunday school prayer list THIS week.“
Southern Belle #1: “Oh honey, don’t bother. I just updated my status with all the details, on “The Facebook” under “Urgent Prayer Request.”
Southern Belle #2: “Perfect! Did you attach me somehow so that all of my friends will read it and be praying?“
Southern Belle #1: “Now you know I don’t know how to do that! You can just look at what I wrote and copy it word for word. Back to the crisis at hand, do you want to take a casserole over to Betty’s house tomorrow afternoon? She is probably too upset to cook and you know Hugh will expect dinner on the table at 6:30 sharp!“
Southern Belle #2: “I was just thinking the same thing! I’ll bake some of mama’s famous pound cake. We won’t count calories at a time like this. The bourbon glaze alone should help all our moods.“
(Insert courtesy laughs.)
Southern Belle #1: “See you at 6:00 then. Don’t be late! Byyyyyyy now.“