Saturday, May 15, 2021

Drunks, Fools, and Southern Women

My mother was southern, very southern. She majored in Religious Education at Wake Forest. She was extremely talented as a painter and a seamstress. And she could quote passages from Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette and believed every word of it. 

She was one of the southern women of her generation who held down a full time job (as a Case Worker for the Department of Social Services for 30 years or so) as well as managing her own money, but believed that the husband was the man of the house and pretty much deferred to his decisions.

She was obsessed with sterling silver - the family silver, antique silver, as well as new silver. 

During most of my childhood she fought the addiction of alcohol, sometimes winning, often times not so much. Eventually she sobered up, but as a child it made life very interesting around the house. 

All bets were off when she was in the kitchen. She was a good cook, but it was not something she really cared about.  However, if need be, she could rise to the occasion.

Given her state, at any given time, while I was growing up, or the state of her kitchen for that matter, it is a testament to innate breeding of the southern woman in her, that she insisted we eat with sterling silver flatware. There were times there was no meal, but the table was always set with the silver. Often we gathered only to realize dinner was not going to be ready before bedtime so we opted for sandwiches. It would not be unusual to find a severely burnt piece of beef in the oven a day or two later. I found it easier to throw out the pan along with whatever was left over from the extensive roasting. 

One of the most amazing things about her, was her ability to perfectly fry chicken, moist and crispy, no matter what her state - stone cold sober or three sheets to the wind. It didn't matter, it was a true talent, an innate skill. 

We credited our not contracting any food born illness or bungee bungee disease from Samonella, E colli, or a Norovirus due to the sterling silver flatware. I truly believe God looks after drunks, fools, southern women, and various combinations of the former, because no one died and our home never burned down.

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