“Bless your heart.”
Awww…don’t you just get all warm and fuzzy reading that?
Well, don’t let it fool you.
Here in the South, it’s the “nice” way of telling someone they’re basically…well, stupid.
There are a couple little sayings I’ve picked up since moving to Tennessee.
One of my favorites is “fixins.'”
I’m starting to slip that word in a little more frequently at dinner…excuse me, I mean supper. The other night, when the kids asked what we were eating, I told them “Chili with all the fixins.” Grady, of course, promptly asked me what part of the chili was broken and if he’d still have to eat it.
I’m also tossing the term into comments like, “I’m fixin to go to the store.” Yes, I do use the word mostly for my own amusement, but it’s quickly becoming a habit of speech.
“Ma’am” is another saying I’m trying to get used to. I guess I just feel old whenever someone calls me that. I mean, I get that it’s a term of respect and all, but still, I feel like I should break out the big, floral print dresses or something whenever I hear it. Our neighbor boys use it all the time. Whenever I ask a question they’d like repeated, they look at me and say, “Ma’am?” Ha – that’s quite a change from the “Whaaaat?!!!” that typically bounces of these walls throughout the day.
Let’s see…what else comes to mind?
Well, when I first came down here, I remember having a conversation with our contractor. As we were getting ready to lock up the house, I asked him if he’d like me to put his pop in the refrigerator or if he wanted to take it with him. Now, I know all my northern friends will help me out and say that they know what a “pop” is.
He, however, did not.
“What did you say?” he asked as he looked at me quizzingly.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I told him. “I was asking if you wanted your pop. Let me guess, you call it ‘soda,’ right?”
“No,” he chuckled.
“Oh,” I mused. “Well then what do you call it down here?”
“Ma’am, we just call it ‘Mountain Dew.'”
Makes perfect sense to call a product by it’s name… 😉
But, back to “bless you heart”…
I remember the first time someone said that to me.
The best part is, our pastor had just given a sermon on the back-handed slap this line delivers.
I was shopping in an antique store and somehow misplaced my keys. I checked my purse…no luck. I went through the entire shop, which was a headache since it looked like it could be a contender for an episode on “Hoarders.” But again, nothing. I went outside, got on my stomach and searched under my car.
The cashier came out to help me:
“Oh, hon, just bless your little heart.”
I swear, she wouldn’t stop saying it.
Now, I’m the first to admit, I totally deserved the line. But, over and over? Really??
At one point I just wanted to sigh and say, “Listen, I know I’m new here, I talk fast and don’t have a drawl or anything, but I KNOW WHAT YOU”RE REALLY SAYING!!!” And honestly, if you could read my mind right now, you’d hear that I’m currently doing enough ‘blessing’ for both of us.”
But, shut my mouth, heavens to Betsy and goodness gracious, why…I do declare that just wouldn’t have been hospitable, now would it?
And heaven forbid I forgo any notion of southern hospitality. 😉