A weekend in Bama can salve the soul—watching a youngest child graduate, meeting new people, tasting local delicacies and taking in a uniqueness found only South of the Mason Dixon. Like what?
Language that Lulls:
That slow, languid drawl pulls in even the dourest of souls. Slow and easy, sweet and sassy all laced with the cutest of monikers. My dad claimed kin in the Southland giving me a lifetime as Puddin’ Pie, Sweet Pea and Dumplin’. My beloved became Baby, Studcat and Honeybear. My children are “chickens,” my friends are “dolls” and clients can embarrassingly become “hon.” If I actually lived in the South, it probably wouldn’t be a problem. But tell a new client, “Bye hon,” anywhere but the Southern sector and expect an eyebrow raise.
What about Roll Tide? Akin to Aloha, it can mean hello, goodbye, what a win/loss or just a general, how’re you doin’? It means were on the same page in our love for the Crimson Tide. Very few places feature a Roll Tide of their own. Somehow, Fork ’Em Sparky doesn’t elicit the same response.
Food to Incite Naps:
For a girl whose appreciation of food is beyond imagining now that Gus has left the building, a weekend in Bama is just what the doctor ordered.
“Put on fifteen pounds,” he says.
I could cut that time in half in Alabama. Dreamland Bar-B-Que found this girl ripping meat off bones and filling her gullet with beans and slaw. Desmond Howard got nothing on me as he dove into a bowl of banana pudding live on Game Day. Wash it down with sweet tea and those fifteen pounds could widen my ass in no time.
A Low Country Boil adds some spice. Alas, it is low country and not crawfish, meaning there is sausage, shrimp, potatoes, corn but no twisting off heads and slurping out tiny bodies strewn cross a paper covered table.
Manners to Make a Girl Swoon:
The first time someone says, “Yes Ma’am,” you wonder if your grandma is behind you. And then you hear your own child say it to the hosts and you swell with pride. Littlest Chicken explains it’s expected regardless of where you may call home. Same with “y’all.” Just easier to scrunch those words together to gather your pals. Whatever. It’s charming and inclusive.
And when it is grandma’s time to leave the party, every man and boy under fifty jumps up to help with her walker whether they know grandma or not. Baby Chicken’s friend’s grandma beams as a gaggle of twenty-something gentlemen ask if they can help.
“Why thank you boys,” she teases. “But I think I’ve got my grandson, the graduate, to help me. It has been a pleasure.” Her grandson tucks her hand into the crook of his arm and patiently escorts his grandmother to the car. “Y’all make sure to have some of that cake,” she calls over her shoulder.
“Yes ma’am,” answer the younger set.
My insides smile at all my Baby Chicken has learned from the South and all she will carry with her. Not to mention spending one’s formative years in the state where Lynyrd Skynyrd strummed the anthem. She may just be set for life.