Monday, May 28, 2007

My Southern Memorial Day

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As a young child, we would drive over to my great-grandmother's house on Memorial Day morning...only we called it Decoration Day. She would be outside cutting huge bunches of her Sweet William flowers. We already had big beautiful white peonies in brown paper bags sitting in the car. We would pack them all into the floor of the back passenger seats in brown paper bags. I could smell them and peek into the bags at the pretty colors on our drive to the mountain church graveyard.

That's where our ancestors on my mother's side are buried. We had empty milk jugs with the tops cut off to place the flowers in to make beautiful bouquets for each grave site. There was my great grandfather's grave and several others. I was always curious about the tiny little grave that my great grandmother so lovingly placed flowers on...her child that died during infancy. We also brought along water in milk jugs to water all of the bouquets to make them last longer.

After that, we sometimes took a picnic lunch up to Cades Cove or Metcalf Bottoms Picnic areas. A memorial day picnic definitely signified the start of summer for me. I remember my great grandmother always made her delicious old fashioned banana pudding with vanilla wafers in it. She was a quiet lady and would always take me aside and quietly smile and claim that she made it especially for me because she knew that I liked it. I think that she did!

I think that because of the way we celebrated memorial day, I do not get scared in graveyards. I find them to be beautiful and peaceful places. The graveyard in the mountains that I visited as a child is especially beautiful. My father is buried there along with my mother's family members. I wish that I could take some flowers there today! The following is a link that talks about the origins of Memorial Day and why it used to be called Decoration Day. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dolly Parton is today's feature for...

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Dolly Parton spent her childhood in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I admire that she gives back to her home community in so many ways. She has a compassionate desire to help make sure that the children in her hometown get a good start with early learning through access to books. Her foundation "Imagination Library" provides books to preschool children until they start kindergarten. Every preschool child living in Sevier County Tennessee gets a free age appropriate book every single month until they start kindergarten! In addition to this, she gives several scholarships to students at the local high school each year. Her theme park is a huge employer for the area as well.

I like some of her older music the best. I think her original version of "I Will Always Love You" is very pretty. Do you remember watching her tv show that was on during the 70s? I remember my mom disapproving of her attire which showed lots of cleavage. She would be swinging in this swing and singing which looked like fun. I also remember that my best friend had a Barbie sized Dolly Parton doll that we couldn't fit into any of Barbie's tops.

I'll leave you with some interesting Dolly related links.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stay Tuned For....

On Sunday, I'm going to start featuring a different Southern Celebrity each week. I'll pick one famous person from each of the Southern states. The first one will be about someone whom I've actually met. This person is from my home state of Tennessee and is very charitable to her home community. Her life is a rags to riches story. Can you guess who it is?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

State Song Embarrassment

I did a bit of research tonight to find out that Tennessee has five official state songs (big sigh of relief). I grew up knowing only the one... Rocky Top. I like the music to the song, but the lyrics are embarrassing. could it be adopted as a state song? Doesn't it put the picture of stereotypical hillbillies into your mind when you hear the lyrics? I remember singing this song at school in music class, but never did we sing the other official state songs. I won't force you to read the lyrics because you may be one of those people who gets the song going over and over in your head. Now I can't get it out of my head! Here's the link if you want to read the words. Are their any other state songs half this goofy?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Southern Themed Books

There are a few Southern themed books that I love. Some of the books have been made into movies, and I've read the book and watched the movie for all of these. I prefer the book versions of Christy, Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood and Where the Heart Is. I prefer the movie versions of The Color Purple and Gone With the Wind. I love both versions equally of To Kill a Mockingbird. Do you like the following stories, and which do you prefer...the book or movie version?

Christy by Catherine Marshall

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

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Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Where the Heart Is by Billie Lets

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Portrayals of Southerners in Movies and TV Shows

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I've recently been watching episodes of "The Dukes of Hazzard" TV show from the 80s. It really gives me lots of laughs...especially Boss Hogg and Sheriff Roscoe . Anyway, I'd like to hear your opinion on how Southerners have been portrayed in the movies and on TV.

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Personally, I don't take the shows seriously. I even find "The Beverly Hillbillies" funny and not offensive even though it's a direct hit at where I'm from...the hills of Tennessee. I'm an Appalachian Southerner....a hillbilly. Once I had a girl from Japan ask me if I was a "hilly-billy" and then she asked the meaning of the term. Some Southerners hate the stereotypes and the false portrayals of being Southern. So, here are two questions to think about...

1. Are you a Southerner who is offended by how Southerners have been portrayed in the movies or TV?

2. Are you a non-Southerner who thinks Southerners might be like the Beverly Hillbillies?

Here's a list of some Southern themed movies and tv shows-
The Color Purple
Gone With the Wind
The Dukes of Hazzard
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Andy Griffith Show

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pull up a comfy chair

Hey y'all! Pull up a comfy chair and let me pour you a nice tall glass of my Southern brewed iced tea. This is the place where I'll talk about many Southern related topics. I've decided to create this new blog to reminisce about my Southern upbringing and to discuss differences between living in Tennessee and Maryland. Plus, my family down South is always teasin me about my new way of talkin. I've been losin some of my Southern drawl, so I'm going to intentionally spell words to sound more Southern-like when spoken. Being Southern feels like a big part of who I am, so I wanted to stay in touch with that side of myself. Keep in mind that I'm still South of the Mason Dixon Line. I keep remindin my family that I'm technically still in the South!