Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I read this in the March issue of Southern Living magazine and thought it was a great article. You might not understand it if you are not from the south!!! For you people who have lived in the south...enjoy. blessings

RAISING SOUTHERNERS

A map of the world sprawled across the wall of my daughters kindergarten classroom. Each child's name was printed on the map, accompanied by arrows pointing to various countries. My mother-in-law seemed surprised to see Mattie's name with an arrow pointing to South America

I hastily deposited my pecan pie at the refreshment table next to a place of bratwurst and ran over to look at the map for myself. There was my daughter's name and an arrrow pointing to a place I have never even visited. Then it hit me. A few days earlier, Mattie had said, "Mom, where are we from?"

"The South," I responded without hesitation. I should have clarified "the southeastern United States" so that her kindergarten teacher in Albuquerque would have understood.

I was initially embarrassed to have prepared a souther treat-pecan pie- for ancestor's day. The other parents had provided exotic international foods:enchiladas, scones, even dolmades. But when I think of my ancestors, I think of the south.

Having been born and bred in Georgia, I had a deep compulsion to raise my children as Southerners, even though they have never lived east of the Mississippi (with the exception of a short stint in Florida). Luckily my husband and I are from the same small town. As we travel the world together, thanks to the Air Force, we strive to teach our children about their heritage.

"Mom, can I have a soda?" Mattie yells from the fridge.

"It's a Coke, not a soda," I holler back, feeling at least one of my grandparents rolling in their graves at her use of the word"soda."

My husband chimes in, "Remember, Asa Chandler was born in Villa Rica, the same town where your granddaddy works. It's a Coke. Denying Mattie's request, I remind her that we are fixin' to eat supper.

"It's not supper, Mom, it's dinner," she replies, totally flustered by my ignorance.

"Where we're from, it's supper," I snap.

Each summer I take the kids to my old stomping grounds for a long visit and plenty of home-cooked suppers, courtesy of doting grandmothers, We attend the church where my husband and I were raised and eventually married. We experience camp meeting, sweat in the humidity, play barefoot in the creek, and chase lightning bugs. I try desperately to help my girls understand what it means to be from the South.

Is it enough? Are six weeks outof the summer and two desperate parents enough to make our children Southern? Or does a person have to live and breath the humid Georgia air for years and years before it becomes more than a place on a map? In this case, only time will tell.

The military provides friends who are like family and for that I am thankful. My children have lived in Japan, climbed a volacano in Hawaii, and hiked in the mountains of northern New Mexico, and for that I am thankful too. but I am much more appreciative of the generations of southerners, my ancestors, who laid a firm foundation in a place that will always be home to me.

Pecan pie was perfect for ancestors' day after all!

Author Julie Rowell Steed is a displaced Southerner who enjoys drinking Coke while writing about her advantures as a military spouse and mother of two.

3 comments:

surfergrandma said...

Enjoyed the article Barb...
Are you tanned and relaxed? :}

Memaw Barbie said...

Not very tanned, it was a little cooler than we expected, but relaxed. It was a fun,quick weekend. Love ya

Maree said...

Just wanted to say hi and have a blessed Easter...

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Just a proud Memaw. Thankful for the time to spend with friends and family, cooking, playing outside, reading a book.