Now is the time for all good Southern ladies to come to the aid of their country. The stay-at-home slouch-fest is almost over, and we’ve got the needed skills to return America to proper civilized society.
We were taught that during trials, we should, “slap on some lipstick, stand up straight, and for crying out loud, quit that blubbering.” Our mothers knew that looking good wasn’t for self-promotion, but instead, made us feel confident enough to conquer the world, and was a sign of respect for others.
America will soon again be the land of the free — free from pajama pants, coffee stained Rascal Flatts T-shirts, and an overload of comfort food.
“Remember who you are” our parents would yell as we swished out the door. And just who are we? We’re both tough and tender hearted, and we’re educated, innovative, spiritual and love a good party. We’ve created feasts from garden scraps and skinny chickens, then whipped up a ballgown from the curtains. Sunday School teachers taught us to nurture the weak. We can operate heavy machinery or operate on your aortic valve, and we can do it all while looking pulled together and holding our heads high.
Our world is stunned, but don’t worry, sisters, we were created for a moment such as this. We know how to provide comfort in a hot casserole or a basket of homegrown vegetables. We can pray up a storm and if worse comes to worse, we’ll give you a send-off funeral luncheon that will rival a king’s feast. And through it all, we’ll respect you by not showing up in stinky sweatshirts. Even with pearls, there’s no excuse. You’re worth the extra effort — which is the basis for all good Southern manners.
My Georgia and Alabama friends (and one adopted from Wisconsin who has been here long enough to have a bonafide drawl) all confirmed that throughout this entire sheltering at home ordeal, we’ve never spent a single day sporting dirty clothes or hair. “You never know if the Fed Ex driver will turn out to be an old boyfriend” said NeddaRay. “I don’t care if anyone else sees me or not,” chimed in Laura Leigh, “I have to live with myself.” She has it right. “Respect for others” and “dignity for ourselves” were the first lessons from mama dearest. How to use a Toni Perm came much later.
I never grow tired of reading about two of my favorite Alabama heroes, Rosa Parks and Helen Keller. Their hardships and challenges make our recent ordeal seem like “free lemonade day” at the county fair. Not only did they hold their heads high and push through extreme trials, but they did so with elegance, grace, and charm. Work hard, stand firm, stay classy. We learned from the best.
Throughout the next few months, Southern ladies will volunteer for projects that enhance the economy. We’ll feed hungry children and freshen our dusty churches. We’ll reorganize schools and libraries and visit our older friends who are lonely. We’ll open the doors of our businesses and work harder than ever before. And through it all, we’ll look as lovely and strong as the women who came before, who taught us that true beauty comes from within — but a quick fluff of mascara never hurt.
This story first appeared on AL.com in the Mobile Press Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.