Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Sage Advice of a Southern Mother

 My mother was always quick to give advice. Well, I say 'advice', it was more 'guidance' to ensure that I grew up as a proper southern lady and did not do anything to sully the family's reputation. 

When it came to young men, there were several rules one did not break. Such as, a young lady never called a young man, that was seen as way too forward. If Thursday morning broke and I had not been asked out by young man for a date that following weekend, I would be staying home Friday and Saturday night. The theory here being if a gentleman had not requested my company for Friday night by Wednesday evening either I was not his first choice or he was asking at the last minute. 

But should a young man ask me out prior to the Wednesday evening deadline, he would find I was never 'quite ready' when he arrived to pick me up. Instead he was required to 'visit' with my parents before I came downstairs, lest I be seen as too eager. 

As all young ladies of my generation, a nice lacy slip was required under any dress or skirt, as well as coordinating hose. (As a young child I was required to wear gloves to church.) 'High' heals and makeup were not even considered appropriate before I was 14 years old or so. (I would not want the reputation of a painted lady.) 

When it came to more domestic issues, every table should be set with sterling silver. We may starve but by God, when they found our wasted bodies, the table would have been properly set. 

She offered more sage advice. I will spare you for now. 

That said, of all the bits of counsel she offered there are three practical ones I have found most valuable throughout my life. Never buy cheap shoes, cheap linens, or cheap aluminium foil.  Oh, and remember the dessert spoon (or fork if cake were being served) is placed at the head of the plate with the handle to right.  And there is a difference between a Cocktail fork and an Oyster fork.

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