By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
Few groups, few nationalities and even fewer personalities have been as studied, imitated and celebrated as the Southern woman. Novelist have eloquently written sapient sagas of the damsel in distress, poets find magic in describing the darlings of the South and artists perfectly capture the awe that is the colorful enigma. Jokes are made, satire abounds but no one dares argue the worth of such a subject. As ironic as iconic, as maddening as magical and as humorous as hospitable, Southern women provide endless inspiration.
Membership of this protected class allows me leniency. We tend not to devour our own, unless it is for the benefit of the greater good or to avenge a stolen recipe. Of all the gifts of which we are adorned, our weaknesses match our strengths in effect and turmoil. We can find fortune in most any situation, power in seemingly hopeless circumstance, good in bad and bad in good often effortlessly in the very same day. It is what we can’t find that often spurs epic meltdowns and monumental mishaps.
1. Our keys. Without a doubt a Southern woman has changed the course of history on many occasions. It can be argued we have changed the direction of war, having impact that has been discussed and held hostage to secrecy for decades. Thanks to Eisenhower’s interstate highway system we can’t change much of anything without our keys. It is the bane of our busy existence. Those darn things sprout legs and tip toe right out from under our nose with enthusiasm. Oh the profanity unleashed, innocent bystanders blamed and purses dumped to the credit of lost keys.
2. Our favorite coffee mug. Self-preservation dictates complete avoidance of a Southern woman’s favorite coffee mug. Whether it is chipped, stained, covered in yesterday’s lip gloss or currently home to our favorite pen, it is highly recommended it go undisturbed. Lives can be negatively impacted at the absence of this precious piece of pottery. The cup has stories even the owner isn’t prepared to share. If we can’t find it, hell hath no fury like a woman with no coffee. Assuming another cup will suffice may lead to bodily harm.
3. Our favorite seat at church. Like the Ten Commandments and patent leather shoes, we also have our place in church. Our specific place. Please don’t push us to have to pray for forgiveness over the looks given or words whispered should you find yourself comfortable in our self-designated pew. We have very specific reasons for choosing our space; exit strategy and view are paramount. We find Jesus at an early age, but quickly forget where we put him in times of desperate tribulation. Please, don’t make us lose him too.
4. Our pillow. Anyone lucky enough to share a bed with the force of nature that is a Southern woman has most likely found themselves in the pillow fight of a lifetime. Our big hair and hot head requires a certain level of soft paired gently with a touch of firm. Retiring from a long day of blessing hearts and cursing keys only to realize someone changed our pillow can result in dangerous domestic disputes.
5. Last but certainly not least, being a Southern woman is an intricate maze of exhausting effort. Regardless of intent, we often lose one of our most recognizable possessions, our temper. It can rage like a river, burn all in its path and bring grown men to their knees in one fell swoop. Although a casserole of polite apology and sincere penance is sure to follow, no one wants to witness the storm.
Just keep our keys, our coffee mug, our church seat and our pillow in high regard and you too will enjoy the sweeter side of the Southern woman. Your heart will be blessed, your dinner fit for a King and your life spared. It really isn’t that difficult to keep us happy.