Southern Way

Southern Way

Friday, May 22, 2015

Man! I feel Like a Woman

I'm not a big Shania Twain fan but one of her best lines is:

The best thing about being a woman
Is the prerogative to have a little fun.

Today is the first full day of our girls trip to Destin, Florida - the red neck Riviera. And this is one trip all four of us needed badly. I'll spare you the details but it involved four husbands, a wedding, a boat, and a career, among other stress related issues.

Which brings to mind the words from a favorite Sawyer Brown song:

Well don't go tellin' don't go rattin'
Hey baby baby we're out goin' cattin'
Juke joint jammin' tit for tat
And mama don't wait up, wait up
We're out goin' cattin'

But I don't think any one at home has to worry too much about us getting into trouble. It is going to take us a day or two on the beach with a cooler and some colorful drinks with little umbrellas to relax. Then we'll go from there.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Red Neck Riviera

Ah, the Red Neck Riviera, nirvana for a southerner with little taste but desperate to get to the beach for a few days.  I consider my self better than Myrtle Beach, hey I girl has to maintain some standards. The Red Neck Riviera, also known as the Emerald Coast, stretches from Pensacola to Panama City. With stops along the way like Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Gulf Breeze, Navarre Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, WaterColor, Panama City Beach, Destin, and Seaside to name a few it sounds like a string of beaches from the 1950's.

Actually it sounds like what Myrtle Beach was when I was a little girl. Well without the sugar white fine sand and crystal clear emerald green water, but those minor details aside, Myrtle Beach in the 60's and 70's was a string of small family beaches. To the north was Little River, Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, Crescent Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Windy Hill. And to the south was Surfside and Garden City.

My grandparents had a home they had built in Windy Hill. Several of the big farmers from the Pee Dee region had built summer homes for their families. Granddaddy's was one of the only ones to survive hurricane Hazel in 1954. I spent many a summer week at that house in Windy Hill. But I digress.

Now Myrtle Beach is just one long line of condos, chain restaurants, t-shirt stores, and rubber snake emporiums stretching from Little River on the North Carolina line south to Murrell's Inlet.

But back to the subject at hand, Tom T. Hall had a great song about the Red Neck Riviera in which he talked about drinking beer, and "Chillin' with the motel door wide open, Hopin' somethin' good will come along" He also said, "They got beaches of the whitest sand, Nobody cares if gramma's got a tattoo, Or Bubba's got a hot wing in his hand."

Right now that sounds like my kind of place. I'll take the white sands, the clear green water, and whatever adult beverage is available. The rest should just be pure entertainment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

More Gone with the Wind Quotes

A couple more memorable quotes from GWTW.

I need to keep these in mind when I start to worry about what people think and just keep it all in perspective.

"With enough courage, you can do without a reputation."


“Until you've lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.”

And probably the most misquote line from the book or the movie. It was not 'Frankly my dear I do not give a damn' but rather:

“I wish I could care what you do or where you go but I can't... My dear, I don't give a damn.”

And one quote that only true southerners will see the humor in:

“[Yankees] are pretty much like southerners except with worse manners, of course, and terrible accents.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Most Astute Margaret Mitchell

I often refer back to the second religious manual of southern women after the Bible- well maybe third after Emily Post's Etiquette - Margaret Mitchell's epic novel Gone with the Wind. No, my heart does not hearken back to our most recent unpleasantness but I find Ms. Mitchell's text and dialogue often full of wit and brilliant prose.

I'm not sure from what part of the book the following came from, but it is spot on for southern women.

             “It was this feminine conspiracy which made Southern society so pleasant.Women knew that a land where men were contented, uncontradicted and safe in possession of unpunctured vanity was likely to be a very pleasant place for women to live. So, from the cradle to the grave, women strove to make men pleased with themselves, and the satisfied men repaid lavishly with gallantry and adoration. In fact, men willingly gave ladies everything  in the world except credit for having intelligence.”

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Well Lemurs and Cavies and Parottlets and Australian Singing Dogs, but anyone who knows my household realizes this is tame (no pun intended) compared to what has come through our backyard and den over the years. So when my DH announced that our plans for Sunday afternoon included a nice 45 minute drive south to a small town (population 27) for an exotic animal auction I was wary - needless to say. 

To give you some perspective here, I have had the luxury of celebrating my wedding anniversary each August in Daytona Beach, FL home of Harley Davidson, NASCAR, and the National Reptile Exposition. If that doesn't say "I love you", I can't image what else one could expect.

Anyhoo - I was assured no cages, boxes, or purchases were involved during yesterday's trip. This was strictly for the curiosity of it. After all, who in the Hell would have thought that every 3 months an exotic animal auction would be held in our neck of the woods. And, even more amazing than that was - how in the dickens had that been going on and my DH not know about it until now. Thank God for small favors. But I digress.

We drove up to a nondescript lot around a white concrete and wood building.  The first hint was the small sign that said "Exotic Animal Auction" on the side of the road. The rest of the signage was a combination of black stencil work and that commissioned by the Chick Fil A cows. The pickup trucks with coon dog boxes, vehicles with NASCAR stickers, and old SUVs gave me some idea of the folks attending. 

As we made our way in, I had no fear of the exotic animals, it was the local species I found both more scary and more entertaining. The "auction house" was a small room which wooden bleachers lining two walls, one wall with chairs, and a fourth with the auctioneer. In the middle were tables covered with assorted boxes, cages, carriers, and tubs of critters. From our view from the top row of the bleachers I fully expected someone to clear the floor at anytime and start taking wages for a cock fight.

The room filled and the assortment of morbidly obese and stick thin folks probably evened the mean weight out, with maybe the obese having a slight edge. There seemed to be no middle ground. We always questioned where the crowd of folks who only came out on Sunday nights and who looked even a bit different than the rest of  the "normal" Walmart shoppers came from. Well here they were - alive and in color. 

The  auction started with produce that was sold by the bag - onions, apples, squash, and sweet potatoes. Then they moved onto eggs. They described each carton of eggs - packed by the dozen. They were Guinea, Pheasant, Red and Gold Pheasant, and other kinds I was unfamiliar with. My DH and I were amazed at the prices these eggs were going for. Who would pay $12 for a dozen Pheasant eggs, how good could they be? Then it dawned on us - these were eggs for breeders. Yep, we were out of our element.

Then they moved to the animals. There were cages of parakeets, doves, and parrotlets. There were 5 small containers of mice, 2 Prairie Dogs, a Chinchilla, and 3 bags of huge Koi. Looking around the room I was beginning to wonder if I had it all wrong - maybe the eggs were for breeding and the rest of it was for consumption.  

By the end of day, one man, thinner than Jack Sprat missing a front tooth, managed to buy 2 water turtles, 1 dove, 3 goats, and a Lemur. Of course this was in addition to a bag of onions and 2 dozen Guinea eggs.

An obese middle aged lady sitting on the first row, whose tank top showed her fully tattooed back and her rolled up jeans made sure we did not miss the flowers tattooed on her leg, bought 2 dozen eggs and 3 bags of tomatoes but was not going to pay a dime over $850 for one of the Lemurs.

After the cages and assorted boxes on top of the tables had been sold, they started pulling out crates from beneath the tables. This is when I feared it would get interesting. I did not know whether to expect Siamese cats and lop eared bunnies or baby Panthers, Emus, Llamas and an Ocelot. 

Before it was all over, in addition to the birds and fish and mammals I mentioned earlier they had sold 6 tortoises, 1 cavie, yellow eared sliders, a pot bellied pig, a tub of yellow rat snakes, a baby albino king snake, and 8 goats. No one was willing to pay enough for one of the Great Dane puppies or the Australian Singing  dogs - all who went back home with their sellers.

We left after the "exotic" part. Next they were moving outside for the household and farm equipment sale. 

Was it interesting? Of course. I saw a fat tattooed lady, a singing dog, and a skinny man with 3 goats, 2 turtles and a dove. The last time I observed that combination, I was 7 and they still had the side show at the county fair. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

To Dream The Impossible Dream

Perhaps I ask too much,

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow . . 

Or is it too much to expect that our bathroom would be finished by now. Hell houses have been built in this amount of time. This renovation has now lasted longer than Kim Kardashian's marriage (as if I care about that fact).  We are so close.

To reach the unreachable star . . 

This is my quest: to follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far

Then last night the door was rehung. This is monumental progress. But it is a milestone in my mind. That leaves towel racks and hooks. Just minor details. But as I have often said before it is the damn devil in those details.

And, yes, like Man of La Mancha I feel as if I am fighting windmills. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Feed a Cold and Starve a Fever

Or is it "Starve a cold and feed a fever", I never can remember. I feel lousy and need to know if I can justify eating extra bon bons. This is one of those pieces of advice Mama used to tell me. Did she really know what she was talking about?

According to some research, not so much. Mama never came through with chicken noodle soup either. Now if my brother or I ever had some illness, ailment, or psychological issue she would produce a package of Nabs (cheese crackers). And, as best I remember this was a sure fire fix, well with the exception of the one time I managed to have a Roman candle explode in my hand (long story - short fuse). In that case it took the services of an ER doctor. But I digress.

"Bundle up or you'll catch cold" or as my Aunt Kat would say "Catch your death". I always wondered how I would "catch" something I did not want. And, please dear God explain why anyone would scare the bejesus out of a child by suggesting that death was being cariously thrown around. In any case, according to sources I found, "bundling up" will keep you more comfortable but not protect you from catching a cold.

"Don't go outside with wet hair," - my favorite of all time. My only way to figure this was the cold temperatures could freeze your hair, dropping your core temperature, thereby bringing about the dreaded "cold" - not so according to my sources. 

"You can't go 'round barefoot", once again, "you'll catch cold". Survey says - just a myth. Of course there is always the remote chance of contracting tetanus, ringworm, or worse any affliction which you can get from an animal bite, rusty nail, fungus or just dirt in a small scratch. But, in today's world we have medication and immunizations to take care of these issues.  As an aside to appease my Mama, Daddy had a "rule" that my brother and I could run shoe free outside as soon as the Dogwood trees budded. Neither of us ever worried about shoes in the house. 

So now that I debunked these myths I need to go back to bed with a bottle of cough syrup and a box of Kleenex. Maybe I should send for a package of Nabs, that seemed to solve all my ills when I was six. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I'm Not Dated, I Am Well Stocked

If a recipe calls for 1 tsp of oyster sauce and the smallest bottle of oyster sauce available is a 4 oz bottle, then one purchases a 4 oz bottle. When making a key lime pie one needs 6 oz of key lime juice, however a bottle of key lime juice is 16 oz. See where I am going here.

Fast forward; yesterday we had a small hiccup with our refrigerator that turned into something a little more serious. When I went to get my Diet Coke I found a thermometer sitting on top of the fridge with a thin wire going into the door. My DH informed me the fridge was not cold enough.

Long story short, the internal temperature that should be in the high 30's was in the 50's. So we needed to move everything out and relocate it into our second fridge in the garage. Luckily the freezer was still working properly. As I started taking everything out of the fridge I knew what was coming and I was not disappointed.

"Why do we have all this stuff? Fish sauce? Balsamic glaze? Currents? 3 types of mustard? This is a good time to clean all this out."

Once again I had to defend my significant investment in condiments. When you need that obscure ingredient you do not have time to run to the store. Chances are you are not going to be able to find it any way in our fair town where the staples are fat back, white bread, and chicken necks and any condiments more exotic than  ketchup, mayonnaise, and garlic salt would be some BBQ sauce endorsed by a NASCAR driver no doubt.

"And I bet half of this is out of date."

Since several weeks ago I had just gone through everything in the refrigerator, checked the dates, and discarded anything that was out of date, I was ahead of him on this one. Now I'm not saying there were not some mystery items in there and some dishes that resembled science projects gone astray.

Mindlessly I moved the milk and cartons of cream to the cooler to be relocated in the other fridge. My DH looked at me. "Do you want us all the die? You are just like your Mama."

This is where I take offense. Of course all the dairy products needed to be tossed.

What my DH was referring was Mama's reputation for her notorious kitchen in her early days when she was predisposed for a little nip here and there. In fact there is little doubt in my mind that my immune system was greatly enhanced by the antibiotics that were sometimes produced in our kitchen while I was growing up. My DH is quick to remind me of it, given his mother's kitchen looked like the poster for a Mr. Clean commercial. Her floor was so clean it squeaked when you walked on it but who is going to eat off the floor.

This is one more reason your best friend is the one when you die, you can count on to get to your house and clean out your refrigerator before the church ladies show up with food. Knowing you have that most important task taken care of will allow a lady to rest in peace. A husband could never discern between the perished pears and pickled ginger, the old cannoli and the can of oriental mustard, an expired jug of juice and an expensive jar of blackberry jam, or an old bottle of mustard and perfectly fine mason jar of hot sauce. 

There is a reason I can put together strange recipes on the fly - and it is not because I have bare refrigerator shelves. Show me a lady with a refrigerator free of condiments and I'll show you a lady who can only make reservations for supper.