A word on men. Southern men. I have really known nothing in my life BUT southern men so it’s possible this observation might extend beyond the Mason Dixon line, or as my dad used to say, the edge of civilized living. I do realize, when recounting these stories that are everyday life to me that my friends who didn’t grow up here sometimes react with more enthusiasm than necessary. Take for instance my friend the Trophy Wife. Although she is a transplant, she has taken to southern bellism with gusto. She can banter back with a “bless your heart” or a “y’all come down for dinner” with the best of them. Her friend, we’ll call him the “Sales Manager” was recently over for dinner. Now the Trophy Wife’s dog has a terrible time staying in their fence. He has had every electric collar known to mankind and now has one touted by the salesman as “strong enough to put down an elephant”. The Sales Manager had had a few cocktails the other night and started that good ol’ boy “aw, how strong could it be” stuff. Though he was begged, pleaded with even, not to try it and was at least dissuaded from putting it around his neck, the Sales Manager strapped the electric collar to his thigh. Upon walking into range, his right leg shot up at an angle perpendicular to his body and his face began to take on the look of a wax candle. His lip sneered in a grotesque Elvis impersonation. Thrown to the ground, the SM couldn’t stop the bucking and wiggling long enough to get to his feet and get out of range of the fence. He tried worming, snaking and eventually rolling his way out of range, causing such injury to his wrist that he needed an emergency room. All this was done surrounded by friends laughing too hard to render aid. Hey y’all, watch this!
My son and our neighbor, Cheese, aren’t immune to the southern man’s need for danger either. Several years ago they fashioned wings from bamboo and a tarp. Now, these are educated kids. They were in advanced science classes. Cheese’s dad is from a northern state and all these facts combined should have meant someone could have foreseen the problem. They really should have known better. After I weakly suggested that it was NOT a good idea to jump from the roof, I poured a glass of wine and went out to sit in a chair and watch. I mean, I’m not one to miss a good show. What saddens me is not only the loss of good bamboo tomato stakes but the fact that, after seeing Cheese plummet to the ground at a high rate of speed, they climbed up and tried it a few more times. Also, I had to learn the emergency room is surprisingly strict on rules about bringing in wine, even white wine.
One of the best “hey y’all” stories I’ve ever heard is from my brother-in-law, Kippy. He was at the county fair with some friends. One of them was wearing a Marine red satin boxing cape. I still have not gotten to the bottom of this and, hearing him tell it, it’s not important. As I adore dressing up in old prom dresses, I’m not the one to cast stones. This friend was not a Marine nor a boxer, though. They come upon a bear in a cage. Now, I’ll have to stop right here and say that this makes me so angry and sad and causes me to wag my head back and forth in such a way that I look like Weezy from the Jeffersons. A bear, in a cage, at a fair is wrong on any level. Still, the story is funny and I am hoping the bear has mauled it’s keeper and run away to join wild bears picnicking in a woodland paradise. Anyway, the friend starts bragging that he can whoop the bear. I believe his actual words might have been “I’m gonna whoop that bear’s ass”. He becomes so unruly that the keeper says, well, come on, son. What happened in the next 22 seconds or so is that the bear grabbed him in a giant bear hug and breathed such rancid breath on him that the friend fainted dead away in his cape. This so entertained his inebriated friends and makes a good story, that they will tell it at any opportunity.
I love southern men. I love the way they say ma’am, I love the way they open doors, stop to change people’s flat tires and appreciate a woman in a flowery dress. A good southern man will never turn down a chance for bourbon, cold beer or anything that gets them dirty, and causes loud bafoonery. Now that’s just good fun.