The pearl handle pocket knife

The pearl handle pocket knife. Once Christmas long ago Granny gave Baw a pearl handle pocket knife. A gentleman's knife, it was a fine little thing, a knife you could take to church. No, it's wasn't any ordinary everyday knife to scrape the dirt from under one's nails or sharpen a pencil. It was fancy, … Continue reading The pearl handle pocket knife

Defiantly straight

16 hours. That's how long I was in my mother's home for a Thanksgiving visit before I found myself with not one but two different kinds of product in my hair. My limp, straight, ornery hair has been a source of consternation to my mother my whole life, and one day, by God, she will … Continue reading Defiantly straight

Count Furcula – or – Happy Wishgiving

Furcula. That is the funny-sounding, official name of what we commonly refer to as a wishbone. It means "little fork" in Latin. Furcula. During this season of giving thanks, it is traditional for two people to rend this little bone from the turkey carcass and, in a sometimes spirited contest of hand strength and cunning, … Continue reading Count Furcula – or – Happy Wishgiving

To dunk or to crumble – that is the question

Recently I read an article by John T. Edge, the venerable Southern food writer and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, in which he referenced his master's thesis written about the Potlikker and Cornpone Debate of 1931. Yes, you heard that right — the Potlikker and Cornpone Debate of 1931. For nearly a month that year, … Continue reading To dunk or to crumble – that is the question

Mama always said, “Be sweet.”

"Be sweet now!" "Y'all be sweet!" "Love you! Be sweet!" This is the admonition every Southern girl hears from her mother as she leaves the house to go just about anywhere. "Be sweet." Why? Because despite their angelic looks and Miss Manners comportment, girls are not inherently sweet at all. And their Mamas know that. … Continue reading Mama always said, “Be sweet.”

The land of 2 seasons

(As I have mentioned before, I belong to a blogging group called See Jane Write. Each November SJW founder Javacia Harris Bowser challenges all the members to publish a new blog post each day of the month — to #bloglikecrazy. This year I'm giving it a go although I've missed a few days so far. … Continue reading The land of 2 seasons

Don’t leave me, Joe!

"Don't leave me, Joe!" These are the words that John Brooks Rowell spoke to his brother, my great-great-grandfather Andrew Joseph Rowell, as he drew his last breath on the Civil War battlefield at Resaca, Ga. At least that's how Granny told the story, and that's how I imagined it. One last plea. A promise to … Continue reading Don’t leave me, Joe!

All y’all should read this!

The most notable characteristic of the Southerner can be narrowed down to the use of one little word — y'all, the second person plural form of you. It's you and all run together. This sleight of tongue makes a little word that defines an entire culture because no matter where in the world you go, … Continue reading All y’all should read this!

And we say Ma’am…

"Yes, Ma'am!" I say it to this day as thoughtlessly as I breathe. As a child, whether I was speaking to my grandmothers, to my teachers, or to the housekeeper, I dared not leave the "ma'am" off the end of a "yes," "no," or "thank you." As an adult, I still say it. It's just … Continue reading And we say Ma’am…