I drank sweet tea out of Mason jars before everyone else thought it was cool. I have a Southern accent that I was born with. When I was a teenager, learned to drive on a dirt road. And I love driving down curvy ones so fast that my car fishtails. I lived on a dirt road a quarter of my life but now it’s hard to find one anymore. Some of my best conversations took place in a swing. My first hobby as a kid was digging in our woods looking for antique bottles. Scored a few Cocola bottles.
My most prized possession is a portrait of my grandfather around the turn of the last century from an era when a little boy would be in a dress. And yes, that is what I will grab when a tornado rolls through. Coming in a very close second is my Grandmother Nellie Mazelle’s hat collection from the early 20’s and 30’s. It always amazed me that such a hardworking country woman who only wore threadbare calico printed cotton dresses and who could be found either hanging laundry or in her vegetable (we didn’t know there was any other kind) garden, had these fine hats tucked away in an old rickety wardrobe in the back of her closet. I can remember as a little girl being fascinated by them and would spend hours in The Lavender room in her house trying on those hats. When I was 26 she died. After her funeral I went to her house and I saw the hats deep in a pile of trash headed for the dump. I was horrified. For the life of me, I could not understand how any of her daughters could just discard these treasures as if they were old newspapers. I soon acquired an antique hat stand for them, a place where they could remind me that no matter how how mundane the days may seem, there will always be a reason to get all dolled up in our most gracious manners and our best “outfit” and go “Skootapootin” as my mama always called it.
I miss my mama and my grandma. They were what is wonderful about the South. Gracious and classy.