A Southern Confession

Submitted by Christi



Recently, I read the book SWAG (Southern Women Aging Gracefully). I read this knowing that at some point I am going to have to accept that I am actually aging. I’m not real happy about that. One of the ways to know if you are a SWAG is that you have stolen magnolia leaves or you know someone who has. I really, really, really hate to admit it, but this year I actually did this. It is kind of funny because I know the people wouldn’t have minded me cutting a couple of branches. You can’t even tell that they are gone. I’ll probably end up telling them that I cut some eventually. It is just in my nature. Maybe, I’ll invite them over for a drink and cheese and olive roulades (recipe follows) and let it slip. Anyway, the leaves made a lovely candle ring for my coffee table.

Ten Ways to Know if You Are a SWAG

1. You feel the urge to bake a pound cake after reading the obituaries.
2. You have had professional photographs made of your children barefoot and dressed in their Sunday clothes.
3. You believe that cocktail dresses do not double as church clothes.
4. You’d rather have a fight with your husband than with your best friend.
5. You have stolen magnolia leaves, or you know someone who has.
6. You have monogrammed the middle of your shower curtain.
7. You could live without Yankees who equate your accent with a low IQ.
8. You know better than to eat the potato salad at a family reunion.
9. You are socially conditioned to believe that tanned fat looks better than white fat.
10. Your children hide their Easter baskets and Valentine’s Day candy from you just in case you have a dieting lapse.

Cheese and Olive Roulades

1 lb of grated sharp cheddar cheese, softened
1 (10 oz.) jar of small stuffed olives
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Creole seasoning to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, cayenne, garlic and Creole seasoning. Blend well then add cheese, melted butter and Worcestershire sauce. Stir ingredients until a dough consistency is created. Pinch off enough of the dough to flatten into a 2 inch round patty in the palm of your hand. Place 1 olive in the center of the dough and wrap around the olive. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

These will also freeze well. Either thaw and bake 10 minutes or bake frozen for around 20 minutes.

Southern Resolution?

Submitted by Christi


I think I missed out on the organization gene. My mother has it. Both my sisters have it. Somehow it skipped me.

A trip to the mailbox is a major ordeal for me because I know I will come back inside with things that I don’t know what to do with. I’ve started going through the mail by the trash can and making myself throw away things that I really won’t read later. I’m terrible about putting things aside to “read later” and then I never get around to doing it.

I have a small piece of leftover pork tenderloin that I saved thinking it would be good for lunch. I haven’t taken time to actually eat lunch since I saved it. I should probably just chop it up and feed it to the dog and get it over with.

I see a pattern here of good intentions with no follow through. Okay, they say the first step to recovery is admitting the problem, so there it is. I can do this. I can get organized. Is there a 7 step program for disorganized people?

Being Dead is No Excuse

Submitted by Christi


I collect two things, cookbooks and etiquette books new and old. One of my favorite books is a combination. It is called “Being Dead is no Excuse – The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral” by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays. This is no small thing. Really, funerals are one of the things we do really well in the South. As the aforementioned book says:

“Friends and family begin arriving with covered dishes, finger foods, and sweets as soon as word is out that some body has died”.

This is why all good Southerners keep a can of cream of mushroom soup in the pantry. You never know when you will need to make a covered dish casserole for a grieving family.

After my dear Daddy’s premature demise, my Mama remarried another wonderful man who happens to be a Baptist minister. They have great funeral stories. When the hearse wouldn’t start for the ride to the cemetery at one funeral, they took it in stride. They loaded the loved one in the back of one of the pall bearer’s new red pickup truck and with pall bearers on either side they led the rest of the bereaved to the cemetery.

When we were leaving the church after my Daddy’s funeral we noticed three elderly women in the foyer crying their eyes out. We didn’t think that was strange because Daddy was a wonderful, well-loved man. However, later when we were talking about it, we realized that none of us knew who the ladies were. Daddy was buried in our home town but we had all moved away long ago so we were not familiar with the current professional funeral goers but we appreciated them showing up to show Daddy their respect just the same, bless their hearts.

I have had some great times at the home of the deceased, laughing and remembering the loved one and catching up with people I hadn’t seen in ages. Although these are sad occasions, they are rarely without some moments of levity. I recommend the “Being Dead is No Excuse” book to anyone, Southern or not. Of course, if you are not Southern, some of it may make no sense to you. If you are Southern, you will probably be nodding your head and laughing out loud.