Spanish moss attracts more than just Southerners

There I was, standing in the checkout line at WalMart in Bend, OR.

I looked like a Creole doomsday prepper with a grocery cart full of canned goods; mostly black-eyed peas and French cut green beans. I live in the sticks. When you live way out of town, you have to stock up on certain necessities – my household is never without black-eyed peas.

We do silly things sometimes when we miss home. | StayingSouthern.net

Spanish moss is a perennial epiphytic herb. It is not Spanish, nor a moss, but a flowering plant.

Two checkout lanes over to my left, I saw a woman about my age. In her cart, I spotted a MiracleGro package that said, clear as day, “SPANISH MOSS.”

My heart stopped.

My thoughts began to swirl:

She must be from the South.

Only someone who is desperately homesick for the South would try to grow Spanish moss in this high desert climate. Maybe I should try it in my garden this year.

She looks really happy and smiley. And she’s curled her hair and wearing a lot of eyeliner. Yep. Definitely a Southerner.

She probably just moved here from South Carolina and misses home.

We do silly things sometimes when we miss home. | StayingSouthern.net

(janeluriephotography.wordpress.com)

Hmmm. She might not be very bright if she plans on hanging Spanish moss from Ponderosa pines. I won’t hold that against her. We do silly things sometimes when we miss home.

And boy, do we.

I heaved my cart full of canned goods out of line and pushed it over to the woman.

“Excuse me, miss?” I said.

She interpreted my salutation as a request to get out of my way. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said as she began to wheel her cart backwards.

“I am just wondering… Are you trying to grow Spanish moss here?” I asked.

She worked for a daycare and this week’s craft project was constructing fairy houses. Apparently, fairies have roofs made of Spanish moss. They must be Southern, too.

“Oh,” I said.

I retreated back to my checkout lane.

It’s true – we do silly things sometimes when we miss home, like approach strangers in WalMart. But in my defense, in the South, asking a complete stranger about their gardening plans is perfectly acceptable. Southerners go on living like they are in the South, even if they’re not.

We do silly things sometimes when we miss home. | StayingSouthern.netMy attempt to find a kindred Southerner may have been thwarted, but it won’t stop me from being just as friendly in the future. It also won’t deter me from possibly building some small, Spanish moss-covered houses to attract Southern fairies.

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Dear Miss L’Anne: My in-laws call me by the wrong name… help!

Dear Ms. L’Anne,

My new in-laws keep calling me the wrong name by accident. I don’t think they mean to, and the name they call me is really close to my actual name, but it’s definitely not my name. I try not to be offended, but it’s getting old. What should I do?

Susie in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

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Dear Susie,

It must be very awkward to have your in-laws call you by the wrong name, and you are doing the exact right thing in trying not to be offended.  You are beginning to build a lifelong relationship and choosing not to embarrass your new in-laws is the kind and gracious thing a young Southern lady would do.

Having been on the receiving end of many mispronunciations of my name, I’ve learned that people have a difficult time correcting a name they have often used incorrectly. If you can determine why your new family might be calling you the wrong name, it may give you more patience and enable you to find an indirect way to help them learn your name.

One way to do this is to engage your husband in a plan to use your name often when talking or writing to his parents, instead of using “we” or “she,” say “Susie.”  Over time, your problem may be solved with no embarrassment on either side.   In the long run, you will not have to groan inwardly when you remember that you embarrassed your in-laws early in your marriage and they will not have to remember that you had to correct them about your name.

Remember that kindness and grace encourage good relationships.

Miss L’Anne

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Do you have a question for a tried and true Southern lady? Ask Miss L’Anne via the contact page. She knows everything there is to know about everything. Seriously.