How to care for your Belle when she isn’t well

January 14, 2013


I should have known there was an ailment in the air when the Piggly Wiggly was running short on chickens. That’s a sure sign doctor’s offices have been busy. Cold and flu season means there’s homemade chicken soup simmering on stovetops all around town. Although there’s now scientific proof that the chemical compounds in chicken soup really can help ease the discomfort of a cold, our Mamas knew the secret of soup long ago.

Of course, the minute I uttered the words, “I haven’t been sick in over three years,” came the all too familiar itchy eyes and sneezing. As I lay sprawled across the davenport, vacant of vigor and fragile of fortitude, I decided someone I know might need a list of the proper way to care for a Southern Belle while nursing her back to health.

It’s not the same thing as caring for other members of the family. We Belles have to be handled carefully. So, in addition to the obvious requirement of using the family’s silver soup spoons (that were once buried in the backyard to keep them hidden from the pesky Yankees), here are a few other pointers.

1. You must immediately set the Sunday school prayer chain in motion. Nothing gets done ‘till the ladies start to pray.

2. Great Aunt Mae-Rae’s crystal decanter with matching drinking glass must be filled with chilled water. It tastes so much better than a plastic bottle.

3. A little brass bell goes next to the bed to alert the help of any sudden needs, such as a pillow fluff or salty crackers.

4. The Belle’s pajamas must match the bedclothes, which must match the pillow, which all must complement her eye color, no matter how puffy and watery her eyes may be.

5. Pearls? Why, of course! They sooth a sore throat.

6. No paper tissues allowed. Only soft vintage hankies will do. The kind with a flower pattern always serves to cheer.

7. The main caregiver must also remember to cancel all appointments, involving business deals, book clubs and beauty shops.

8. Reruns of Downton Abbey and Designing Women must be queued up on Hulu.

Dog on the bed9. The Belle’s favorite dog gets to sleep at the foot of the bed.

10.Once she can lift her poor little head off the pillow, the pampered patient will need her monogramed stationery to immediately begin writing thank you notes to all those darling enough to send food, flowers or cards while she was ailing.

Now, let me evaluate my own recovery. Did I get any of this required care while I was sick? Let’s just say my caregiver is lacking in both the “care” and “giving” departments. But just wait until the next time he starts to sneeze. I’ll hand him a rough tissue and see how he likes it.

Somebody real quick–like, please bless my heart.


If your favorite Belle comes down with the flu, here’s a sure fire way to nurse her back to health and get  a lovely thank-you note.

 Chicken Soup for the Southern Belle

8 cups chicken stock
2-3 medium sized boneless chicken breasts
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 pkg (6oz) uncooked egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste
1-3 dashes Tabasco Green Jalapeno Pepper Sauce

Boil chicken in stock until cooked.  Remove and set aside. Add celery, carrots, onion and green peppers to the stock.  Bring to a boil.  Add egg noodles. Reduce to simmer, add salt, pepper, Tabasco.  Cut chicken into bite size pieces and return to pot.  Continue to simmer until noodles are cooked through.

To your health, y’all.

  • Sounds like good advice! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

  • Not only did I get a great recipe for a chicken soup, but loved the fun story. The minute I started reading Downtown Abbey popped into my head. Fun, fun, fun! Thanks for sharing with Share Your Cup. Now following you.

  • What an adorable post! I am printing out this list for my hubby just in case I come down with the flu so he has detailed instructions for how to handle me!

    Big Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  • Well, I came over to read your chicken soup story and stayed long enough to read your ‘Hold Lightly” series. Such a beautiful story and you write beautifully. Thank you for sharing. I am a nurse and perhaps it was the nurse picture that reeled me in. I have been in mental health for the past 9 years. Prior to that I worked 17 years in surgery. We all have such interesting stories don’t we?

  • I think I need to come to your house when I am sick.
    That would be just like being at my grandmother’s.

  • I LOVE this!! Your attitude and humor is great!! From one southern belle to another: Bless your heart! Following you now!

    Jenna @

  • You are a hoot! I wouldn’t mind having someone delivery meds from the pharmacy – I don’t think that happens around here any longer!

    Thanks so much for joining in this week!


  • Oh my goodness, are there really women out there who DON’T wear their pearls when sick?! This post was a day brightener–and I hope ya’ll stay well!

  • This made me laugh out loud! Are there actually women out there who DON’T wear pearls when they are sick?! I hope everyone stays well!

  • Will have to keep all of this in mind! Very cute! Hope you stay healthy!

  • Ok, I need to save this to show my husband how to give me the proper care if I get sick 🙂

    The chicken soup sounds wonderful!

  • This is the first time I have ever heard of another lady named Mae Rae. My great-aunt’s name was Mae Ree. Fond memories.

  • Anonymous says:

    That looks just like my dog!

  • Anonymous says:

    I feel great (at this moment) but I am cooking the chicken soup just in case. I am also looking around for a little bell . Loved the description of the proper care of our sick loved ones, Southern style.
    A. Pat

  • Cute! I need one of those decanters next to my bed. Also, I would have my favorite cat at the foot of my bed instead of the dog. That’s where he always sleeps.

  • This almost makes having the flu sound comfy! I do recall using a brass bell by the bedside.

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