Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our Sunday Best

I just poured over my latest copy of Southern Living magazine. I love this magazine. In April's issue I found some really beautiful recipes that I can't wait to try out on my friends. I found a new vacation spot in Florida to go on my ever-growing "Vacation Destination Wish List". I found decorating ideas that I may never use since my house is more French country than Southern country. But it did give me a little motivation to take better care of what I have. And I discovered that I want to plant a Chinese Snowball in my front landscaping. Clean, cook and plant. That's Southern Living!

On the last page of the April 2010 issue was the most delightful article that I just had to share. I live in the south. I grew up here. I love it. It's steeped in tradition. Some still alive, but some are slowly dying. This makes me want to cling to them. It reminds my of my grandmother who lived in southeast Texas (almost Louisiana). She could bake you under the table. She wore pearls. And she taught my mom to put a pinch of salt in your coffee grounds before brewing. Mom then taught me. You should try it! She would be appalled at me for wearing pants to church. I can remember when my mom and dad came out to Abilene to visit while I was in college. I met them at church, and as soon as I walked in to greet them, my mom said "you're wearing a pant suit to church?". That was in 1994 - at the dawn of the wide leg pant suit. I loved that pant suit. I got it with my Dillards card. Abilene had the best Dillards! I got a lot with my Dillards card. But that's another post.

Let's take a moment of silence in honor of the wide leg pant suit.

*now I should state a disclaimer...I know Jesus doesn't care what we wear to church as long as we show up. And I'm proud that people feel comfortable at my church and can wear anything. I'd rather you hear the message than not show up because you didn't have a nice dress to wear.*

Please enjoy this short article. I hope you do anyway. Let's cling to our southern traditions. I wonder if my mom would wear a corsage on Mother's Day?


By Valerie Fraser Luesse

A friend of mine visited a college campus recently and was aghast to see coeds walking to class in shorts and tank tops best suited to the gym. “My grandmother used to put on lipstick to go to the mailbox”, she said wistfully. Our transformation from church-hostess Southern to lost-my-kid-gloves modern sort of slipped up on us. First came panty hose {no need to wrestle those nylons} and hot rollers {so long, bonnet hair dryer}, then pantsuits – in church! With the wave of an unmanicured hand, we had abandoned our half-slips, misplaced our Revlon “Love That Red,” tossed out our teasing combs, and taken up with sensible shoes.

Some icons of our feminine past won’t be missed at all. To that bonney hair dryer and clear-to-here girdle, we say good riddance. To the teasing comb, we offer a more reverent farewell. Together with Aqua Net hair spray, it gave generations of pageant hair the strength to bear a tiara, and that ought to mean something.

But as we boldly march forward, let us remember that “Mama’n’em” knew a thing or two about style. And I can name three blasts from our past that deserve a comeback.

1. The Easter Dress

We used to start shopping for our Easter dresses before the Valentine’s candy was even stale. An Easter dress was your prettiest, dressiest Sunday-go-to-meetin’ ensemble of the year. It screamed spring: floaty fabrics in pastel colors; short sleeves, puff sleeves, or no sleeves; store-bought or handmade. Pearls required. Hat and glove optional after 1960. If you were under 12, you wore pastel dotted Swiss, patent leather Mary Janes, and maybe a color-coordinated hat with a little elastic band that hooked under your chin. No matter what your age, the biggest challenge was trying not to shiver, since even the Deep South tends to have a mysterious cold snap on Easter (perhaps as a divine reminder that this is a worship experience, not a fashion show).

2. The Mother’s Day Corsage

When I was a kid, if a mother came to church without a corsage from her children, the whole family went on everybody’s prayer list. Now almost nobody buys one, and that’s a shame. Here’s how it works. You choose the flowers for your mother’s corsage based on whether her mother is living or dead. If her mother’s living, she wears roses or carnations in pink or red. If her mother has crossed over, she wears white or yellow roses or an orchid. Everybody gets baby’s breath. Its just the right thing to do.

3. The Hostess Apron

“When you saw my grandmother’s mint-green organza apron, you knew some cucumber sandwiches were coming out,” my friend Rebecca says. Back in the day, Southern women wore kitchen aprons, which they actually wiped their hands on while they cooked, and hostess aprons, which adorned and protected their good dresses while they served guests. Hostess aprons are all over the Web, so this would be a fairly simple charge to lead if we all work together.

Take the Pledge

Preserving our heritage takes commitment. We have to band together. So ladies, wherever you are, stand up, raise your right hand, and repeat after me: I (your name here), pledge to do my part to bring back the Easter dress. I pledge to order corsages right this minute, before the florist runs out of the good stuff. As for the hostess apron… I pledge to tie one on.


K.Law said...

Oh I just loved this post. I read that magazine and loved it as well. I own a hostess apron and wear it often and my girls couldn't wear flowers this year b/c of little colds, but we gave a big bunch of them to my mom! I love tradition, what has happened to it all?

Megan said...

Oh Amy, I love this post. My mom ordered Grandma Hazel a corsage every Mother's Day. I always thought that was so sweet. I agree, tradition is a good thing. Just don't make me wear a corsage.

Megan said...

Hey, I need a new post from you to comment on.
First, how is your washing machine? Did it survive the pull up?
Second, what was the name of that movie about the girl who wrote the story that you told me about for Eden?