Cornbread with a side of love

February 12, 2016


This story can be found in my book, "The Majorettes are Back in Town." 

It wasn't the flowers, candy or twirling me across the kitchen floor that earned my husband a gold star on his romance chart. Instead, his most romantic move was when he scared the bejibbers out of our son.

First of all, I want it to be known that I really do have two of the most wonderful, honorable Godly young men you could find anywhere. They are charming, helpful, sympathetic, witty, and yet ... at the end of the day, they are still teenage boys ... sigh.

Just like every other teenager in the world, they've gone through some rough patches and temporarily lost their minds. I've tried to explain that the decision making part of a man's brain isn't fully developed until age 24, and even then, it's questionable. We've tried to guide them through their journey of strange hair styles, choices in friends and reptiles for pets, but there never seems to be an end to their strange behavior or wacky way of expressing their emotions -- and that's exactly where the romance came in.While sitting at the dinner table and reaching for the cornbread, the eldest, who was then in the golden age of middle school, decided to unload and let me have it in no uncertain terms. I can't even remember what he said, or why he said it, but his hormonal words were vicious, hateful, and all around mean, especially when you consider they were aimed at the woman who brought him into this world and put the cornbread on the table to start with.

I caught my breath at his boldness, but before I could say a word, my dear husband snatched the young boy's chin between his thumb and finger, glared into his wide blue eyes and with the slowness of syrup in January and the bitterness of acid said, "Don't you ever speak to MY WIFE  that way again!

Both boys froze in their seats and one gave a little shudder. The beagle even slunk out from under the table and headed for the hallway.

By using the words, "my wife" instead of "your mother" my husband took the issue away from me and instead shifted the insult to him. He could have easily said, "Knock it off" or "Watch your mouth," but his choice of words revealed several things to both boys -- even the innocent one who was just as bug-eyed as his naughty brother.

Number one, my husband's statement told the boys that their parents are a team. Don't try to divide us, and if you go after one of us, you'll have to deal with us both. Marriage is a partnership and it's not going to be broken in half by some smart-mouthed teenager. In other words, in our house, Daddy doesn't laugh when you pick on Mama and Mama's likely to come after you if you mess with her man.

Number two, no matter how much we've taught them that women can stand on their own, we live in a beautiful region where gentlemen defend ladies, and that goes double when the lady happens to be your wife.  When our boys are married some day, we hope -- no, we know -- they will do the same for their wives. And if they have a daughter (please dear God, just one girl), even better.

And third, by using the phrase, "my wife," my sweet man laid out a plan of family loyalty. If Daddy defends "his wife," then someday, he'll defend "his son" too -- even if that son has a sassy mouth that's begging for a bar of Ivory Soap. Family sticks together and we don't take kindly to those who gnaw on us, whether they're on the outside looking in, or sitting at our dinner table sporting a mouthful of braces we paid for.

Come to think of it, maybe the reason I now have two excellent (and still occasionally mischievous but rarely rude) sons is because they have a Daddy who loves and defends their Mama, and that is the most romantic thing any woman could ever want.

Now, pass the cornbread, watch your mouth, and have a happy Valentine's Day.

  • Leslie Anne, that man of yours is a keeper! That is true romance because romance is actually spelled r-e-s-p-e-c-t!

    I enjoyed your newspaper article so much!

  • My mother always said a boy isn’t truly grown up until he’s 30. I do believe this was one of many things she has been right about.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Amen on that, sister! And just like bananas, some ripen early, some later, but your Mama’s right about 30 being the target date for most!

  • This made me want to stand up and cheer Leslie Anne! Chivalry at it’s best!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Woo Hoo! Thanks Jenna.

  • Wonderful writing. It gave me a little shudder too.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      It’s the good kind of fear.

  • You have no idea what a valuable lesson your husband taught your sons that day.

    Hope you are having fun in Birmingham — we are home if you want to come by.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Ellen. The dinner table is always fertile ground for some sort of conversation or the other!

  • Oh, Little Bitty Pretty One, this was just awesome! What a story and you really have a way with words. You have painted a picture with your words and I love it. I’ve been kinda slow since I got all busted up and I see you’ve changed your header and your blog name! I like it. Hope all is well and Happy Valentine’s Day!
    Be a sweetie,

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Hi Shelia, glad you are up and around — at least around your computer! Glad you liked the story, and I hope you have a wonderful, pain-free Valentine’s Day!

  • Yes!! A thousand times yes!!

    Happy Valentines Day!!!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Lori. Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day as well.

  • I found it on the other day and meant to comment, but I have been stinky busy:) Great article and again I am so excited for you.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Sandy. Hope you get your stinky-ness under control! Hahaha!

  • Great story Leslie Anne. I thing most of us have been sitting around the dinner table and can tell a similar tale. Your husband handled this beautifully! A great story to start your column……..

    • Leslie Anne says:

      There have been plenty of times we didn’t handle things like this well, but this time, my husband hit a home run!

  • You are a wonderful writer and story teller! Alabama should be proud! Keep them coming! Happy Valentine’s Day too!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Lori. I’m having fun touring the Birmingham News offices today. It’s awesome!

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