I’m not sure if it’s because I was gone far away for so long.
Or maybe it’s because I’ve got a front row seat watching a town rebuild itself with tremendous tenacity and pride.
It could be just part of growing older.
Either way, lately I’m really appreciating my roots in the South. Amid the stereotypes (yes I have all my own teeth and no, I do not have any pets kids or boats named “Bear” or “Bryant”) and the assumptions (no, I don’t talk like Swamp People, but I do say “y’all” each and every day, sometimes twice), I’m proud to be a Southern girl. I go barefoot, listen to country music, love being on the lake, sweat, eat deer, catch lightning bugs, eat peaches and honeysuckle straight from a tree, say grace before dinner, and think boat riding is about the coolest thing in the civilized world.
I love sitting down and reading my Southern Living. One day, I might actually make the front cover desert. . . the CHRISTMAS one.
I like the time honored tradition to sit a spell and relax over dinner. I’m ashamed to say that for the past few years, this table has been used as an office desk. Meals were in front of the TV with Frankie bird-dogging us. (That’s hillbilly speak for watching us without looking away hoping to get a sample of dinner).
But not anymore. Dinner needs to be enjoyed, savored, and conversation should be more than “Is it good?”….”Yep!”….”Want some more?”…..”Naw, I’ll get some later”. Since I love to create good food, and I take pride in the preparation, I should also take pride in the rest of the meal. It didn’t matter what the rest of the world was doing. At supper time, we sat down at Mamaw’s table to eat. It might have been simple corn, peas and cornbread, but we sat down and talked to each other. Well, me and Mamaw talked, Papaw was always picking on me trying to make me laugh. He could do it too, even when I would get so mad, I would end up laughing.
And this brings me to another thing I love about growing up among a gardening family. Many uses for a mason jar. Mason jars are used now to describe canning jars. The most available brands are Ball and Kerr. The orginal Mason jar was created by John Mason. Ball corp. was the first company to distribute them. They come in wide mouth and regular mouth and that just makes some things easier to get in the jars.
This one is holding flowers and mint from the garden. I used the color of the zinnias to plan the table. I’m again ashamed to admit how many coordinating table linens and dishes I have that have sat neglected for years.
My grandmother gave me a case of these drinking mugs. I love to chill them and pour tea over the ice. The creaking sound takes me back to when I was little and helping my grandmother can tomatoes. She would pour us a glass of tea and I loved to hear the creaking sound.
My father-in-law gave me one of these a couple of years ago. I kept it under the sink to use for special occasions….who keeps “special occasion” glasses under a sink?? And what is a better special occasion than rain on the garden, food in the fridge, and bills all paid? In this economy, any day NOT in the slammer for tax evasion or robbing a bank is probably a reason to celebrate.
While out west, I found some adorable half pint jars from the Kerr brand. I’ve been looking for these and can’t find them. The Ball half pint jars are regular mouth, so they are tall for jams and jellies. This is a wide mouth Kerr and not as easy to find.
And I’m going to can tomatoes. I need mason jars for that and it’s a good thing we have a case of pint Ball jars from the pickle adventure a couple of years ago. Those will be perfect for preserving all the tomatoes in the garden. I’m going all out this summer. To quote Wheezer from Steel Magnolias “I’m an old woman. We’re supposed to wear funny hats and grow vegetables in the dirt!” She hated tomatoes but grew them anyway. I totally relate.
Now, since it’s hotter than snuff outside, I’m going to crank up the air, pour a glass of sweet tea, kick off the shoes, and toast another barefoot blue jean night.