Being raised in the parts of Mississippi that rarely grace pages of southern novels and are seen only in the dimmest light on a movie screen, I developed an absolute comfort in amateurish portrayals. After all, it is far easier to claim erosion than to explain the intricate displacement of layers.
Our notoriety as southern women is equal parts earned mixed with an artistic covering of century-worn edges. We are all hardened in our own right, just salted differently depending on proximity to the river or the marsh.
It is highly doubtful that history will lend chapters to the post-pandemic deepening of a southern woman’s roots; if so, it will be sugar-coated, draped in seersucker, and politely set on a shelf next to a dusty jar of pickled okra. The authentic account will live on in whispers of those whose lives were intimately affected. An unscheduled reminder of who we are, from where we came, and how we survived. It may take decades, but our stories always delight the palate far greater when seasoned with time. Seasoning is everything.
The great discontent of 2020 magnified the reactionary habits of southern women. Containment of natural resources always comes at a cost. Even canning vegetables is a high-risk activity. Anything less than adequate pressure-processing is a monstrous gamble.
The pandemic tossed us into a boiling water bath if by no other injurious attempt than to simply hold us captive. It was a rude interruption of life and civility. If we admit to any ineptness, it is that we cannot handle impolite disruption.
It’s well known an attempt to force a southern woman’s hand is to recall the tide or reverse the river; the outcome is similar at best. Our submissive traits have long been gone with the wind. Momentarily we may oblige but only until we get bored. If historians found favor in brutal honesty, facts would show southern women have undoubtedly been the catalyst of war.
Amid the recent battle, signature coping mechanisms rose to the occasion, allowing some to delve deeply into religious comforts while others delved into spirits slightly less celestial. We are not above admitting our sins are as personal as our penance and our approach reflective of both. What the Bible can’t calm, bourbon softens.
We blessed hearts over toilet paper, cleaned the paint right off our baseboards, and perfected every cookie recipe passed down from the Civil War. Fairly certain our prayers, or maybe our stares, held the 2020 east coast hurricane season at bay.
Our insanity was the very glue that held our society together. Without the insanity of southern women, there would be no southern men. We maintain credit for their fondness and skill of solitary sports. It is not by chance that men rediscovered the great outdoors. They are often revered as the premier hunter-gatherers when they fear Mother Nature far less than a Mother Interrupted.
Every generation has a tale of battles fought; we are no different. We are rising from the ashes of scorched normality, learning once again to survive by southern definition politely and definitively. There are tales to be told, stories to share, and secrets buried far beneath the pluff mud.
The pandemic sorted us like an unavoidable pile of laundry. We will design our path forward in perfect form, knowing well that our roots have deepened, tempers sharpened and those notable characteristics of an infamous category of women beautifully solidified.
Cherimie Crane Weatherford is the owner/founder of SugarBelle, a long-time real estate broker and a lover of the obscurities of southern culture. To contact her with praise and adoration, email CCWIslandNews@gmail.com. To complain, call your local representative.