Walking through Costco last week, desperately searching for the printer ink, I came across an aisle filled with gardenia bushes for sale. The dark green shiny leaves and emerging white buds made me think of my GeeGee. In the backyard of the home where I spent many of my childhood days, she had the largest, most beautiful gardenia bush. GeeGee was such a good southern gal who could grow anything; and tucked in among her orange and avocado trees and crotons was that bush.
Image provided courtesy of MorgueFile: http://mrg.bz/WBTMR9
As I stood there in the wide Costco aisle, missing my GeeGee in the most aching way, I almost started bawling right there in aisle 14. Oh yes, this new found talent to go from stoic to Tammy Faye Baker in ten seconds or less is a nice little present from the menopause fairy. What stopped my impending blubbering, and made me instead let out a bit of a laugh, was GeeGee’s voice chiming in, as if over the loud speaker:
“Oh Lord, such a fuss; and in the middle of Costco! Bless your heart; it’s just a plant.”
God love that woman; she will always be my quintessential model of the classic southern gal. She also happens to be the Patron Saint of Parking; but that is another story…
What are your thoughts regarding the ideal southern gal? The actress Sissy Spacek, in a recent interview with Southern Living magazine, noted that being southern is a “state of mind.” I think that’s definitely true. What comes to mind for me, as examples of how to be a good southern gal, include:
Tomatoes. You gotta be able to grow ‘maters. I’m still working on this one.
No swearing. Much to my own mother’s dismay, this is one that I fail at – miserably. There is one exception here: if you ever hear a southern gal utter the words “Ah… HELL no…” you better run.
A certain sensibility. Southern gals possess a certain “matter-of-factness” about life. If the yard needs mowing, well then good gracious just go mow it! Even Scarlett O’Hara sucked it up and worked the fields when it was necessary.
An ability to maintain long lasting gal pal relationships. GeeGee’s lifelong friendships with her girlfriends and her sisters is something I learned to emulate at a young age. Two of my dearest friends have been by my side since I was 14 years old.
A true heart. GeeGee certainly had strong convictions about most things. I didn’t always agree with everything she said or did, but I admired her will. I never doubted that she always believed she was doing the right thing for the right reason.
A little bit of mischief. Being a good southern gal doesn’t mean behaving like a saint. I imagine that GeeGee got into her fair share of trouble throughout her life.
What would you add as your southern gal examples?
Well, I gotta go; need to head back to Costco. Can you believe I bought the gardenia bush, but forgot the printer ink?