It’s not a Southern party unless you’ve got …

Here in the South, we are in the middle of that lovely season when every day week DSCN3432there’s a tea or reception or shower or some other similar gathering where you show up and bless everybody’s hearts profusely and come away with 1) a new egg salad recipe, 2) details from Person A on where she bought those adorable shoes and 3) details from Person B on what Person A did after she bought those adorable shoes and who she did it with. And there are at least two food items that MUST be present to make it an official DSCN3435Southern party. Both of those items are in this photo. Southerners were raised on
these two items; non-Southerners have never heard of them and don’t really understand them. Can you spot them in this photo? Bonus points if you can name the Muscle Shoals, Alabama, party classic that is not present in this photo but no Muscle Shoals tea/shower/reception is complete without. The flower arrangement is essential Southerness, too. Sadly, my mother did not bestow upon me the love-of-gardening gene and all I know is that this arrangement has some green leaves and pretty flowers and looks really nice? On the other hand, I can tell you every single detail about every single food item on that table. Priorities! But also possibly the reason my jeans seem to have a little trouble zipping up lately. Sigh.

Essentials for a Long Summer Weekend — in Mississippi

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Essentials for a Long Summer Weekend -- in Mississippi

You know you are deep in Southern territory when women driving open-air Jeeps keep an aerosol can of hairspray handy. Reminds me of the time many years ago when now-husband John Pitts called me from his office in Washington, D.C. “My ink pen exploded all over my shirt,” he said. “Any advice for getting it out?” I replied with the universal antidote: “Sure. Ask one of the women there if you can borrow their hairspray and then saturate and blot.” There was a pause and then laughter. “You forget,” he said, chuckling, “that this is not the South. I bet none of the women I work with even know what hairspray is.” Putting aside the argument that Washington IS, in fact, the South, it is true that hairspray — lots and lots of hairspray — is a Southern essential. Especially in Jeeps.

Snow and Paul Harvey

SnowBreaking news! It’s snowing in Alabama!!! We don’t get winter very Snowoften around here, but the weather folks were right this time. It’s a soft and lazy couple inches right now but supposed to get worse as temps stay below freezing and the snow continues all morning. I took these photos on our back deck looking into the backyard where earlier this week we were sitting out on the deck enjoying a glass of wine and some wonderfully Snowwarm temperatures. Now we’ve got a “major winter storm.” I know, I know — for all y’all used to blizzards and snow drifts and  shoveling your car out of the driveway these are Snowpictures of spring-like weather, but believe me this is big-time Southern winter. And we love it! Makes me want to hunker down, bring in more firewood or, really, turn the logs on and make another pot of coffee. It does not make me want to find some snow boots and mittens and a scarf and a jacket and go out tramping around. I love snow. It’s beautiful and wonderful — and best viewed through a window. Which is why my part in ski vacations is to stay warm and dry at the bottom of the slopes and nod and applaud enthusiastically as family members shoosh on by: “Good job! Nice run! Way to go!” I’m really good at that.

If you’re stuck inside today, be sure to read about Paul Harvey, who died on Saturday. Back in the early 1980s when I was a newbie newspaper reporter, I was thrilled — absolutely thrilled — when Paul Harvey read on air a story of mine AP had picked up on this new phenomenon of Elvis Presley impersonators. I focused on a young boy — I think he was 6 or 7 — who was making a local name for himself by donning a white sparkling jumpsuit and belting out “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog.” Thank you for that, Mr. Harvey. You never knew what you meant to a young journalist in east Tennessee. Read more about this influential man at http://www.abcrn.com/harvey/.