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Parasols and dinner on the grounds...it's the Southern way

There are certain things that only happen in the South...things that just make life here better than anywhere else.

For example, in the South, you will find Southern Belles. A Belle dresses like a lady, not a lady of the night; keeps a smile on her face that could melt the heart of an IRS agent; is always ready to share the news, but knows how to keep family secrets; keeps everything ship-shape, including penmanship, fellowship and stewardship; and lets a gentleman be a gentleman by allowing him to open the door for her.

Southern Belles are defined as females from the Southern U.S., that possesses beauty, charm, style, strength, intelligence and wit. Some call them pampered and spoiled, but a more trained eye will see that a Belle simply uses her God-given talents in order to charm those around her into seeing things her way.

Want to be a Belle? Here's how:

1) Offer a Mint Julep or sweet iced tea to everyone who visits your house.
2) Eat grits every day, but do not put sugar or milk on them. Butter, salt and pepper are allowed.
3) Refer to your house as "the plantation" no matter how small your house may be.
4) Refer to all men as your gentlemen callers or beaux.
5) When you have more than one date in a night, claim to be "expired" and excuse yourself for a nap until he leaves.
6) Whenever you are asked to exert yourself, wave one or both of your hands toward your body and claim to have the "vapors."
7) Refer to every party you attend as "the cotillion."
8) Try to sprinkle your words with endearments like darlin', sugar or precious.
9) Sit under magnolia trees with a parasol, and fan yourself often. Passers-by will take notice of your belle-ness.
10) Never be seen without your makeup and girdle.

Another great Southern tradition is dinner on the grounds (in some areas, it's referred to as a covered dish dinner). In the South, people get up on Sunday mornings and go to church. And as soon as the final "amen" is uttered – usually at the latest, 12:15, as any respectable Southern preacher knows – lunch is served.

This type of lunch is a wondrous thing. You can find fried chicken, biscuits, all kinds of fresh veggies, chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese (homemade, of course), congealed salad, potato salad...the list goes on. You can also count on there being loads of sweet iced tea and tons of homemade pies and cakes. If you're lucky, some sweet grandma will have made one of those homemade cakes with about 20 very thin layers and homemade icing. Yum!

All of the food is set up on long tables, covered in white paper. Sometimes the tables are set up in the fellowship hall, and other times, if it's not too hot, you'll find them set up outside. Everybody lines up, letting the older folks and Mamas getting plates for the young'uns, go first.

People heap their plates with the wondrous culinary delights, and find a front step, a picnic table, a table inside a Sunday School room or a shady spot on the grass, and settle down to eat.

After everyone's eaten their fill, and you feel just about like you're going to pop, they start bringing out the churns of homemade ice cream. During the summer time, the ice cream is particularly choice. That's when there's lots of fresh fruit – strawberries, peaches, watermelon – and it all gets added to those churns.

No matter how much you've eaten, you hoist yourself up, and waddle over to the table where all the ice cream is lined up. You can't say no and you don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, so even though you might have a favorite, you get a cup or bowl and get a spoonful of each flavor. It's the Southern way.

After the ice cream, all the ladies start collecting their platters, bowls and serving dishes, and everyone heads home to nap.

Southern Belles and dinner on the grounds...it doesn't get any better than this, precious.
Posted: Jul 27 2010, 05:13 PM by Red On The Head | with no comments
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