Southern Traditions

I am absolutely mesmerized by various Southern traditions. The South is uniquely made up of various culture, creating a new one in its own right. I love this so much. However, it’s easy to be drawn into other cultures and fail to see what’s so special about your own.

For me, this is best highlighted by my own family’s Christmas Eve meal. Instead of having the same food each year and having that be our tradition, we explore new cultures and even time periods. In 2016 we had an Italian feast, and in 2017 we were transported back to the 1950s. This is our personal tradition.

I’ve always been one to romanticize what others do. After watching Pocahontas, I desparately wanted to be Native American. It’s this way with everything, though. I think it’s what makes etiquette so special to me. Traditions are the foundation of who we are, making traditions a cornerstone of culture. I get such a thrill learning about new people and new cultures.

I had the opportunity when I was in undergrad to study abroad in China. Again, I was struck with wanderlust. I genuniely felt sad at the thought of leaving this world without ever having seen it.

While we may not be able to travel extensively now, I enjoy bringing other parts of the world to my family.

However, it’s also important for me to not forget about the culture I live in. I mean something on a more micro level, though, than Southern. The South has several regionally distinct areas that all have their own sub-culture and traditions.

Today I want to highlight a favorite tradition of mine here locally in Hopkins County, Texas – Hopkins County Stew. It’s amazing. If you’ve never tried it, I enjoy mine best with crackers crushed in it to soak up some of the broth, loaded with cheese and a side of pickles (which may or may not also end up in the stew). It’s simple and comforting. If you’ve never made it before, this cold weather is the perfect time to start! Enjoy! Learn more about our annual stew contest! Fun fact: I worked this event the day before Grant was born!

P.S. If you try it, let me know what you think!


Regional Dialect With My Daughter

Ok, how about a funny post for Halloween?!

We all know that dialect, like etiquette, is very regional. I was raised in East Texas by an East Texan who was raised by East Texans and so on. Seriously, our roots here are deep. However, my cute hubby made his way here from California when he was 11. In recent times he’s said “y’all” instead of “you guys.” Our daughter, though, says “y’all guys,” and it couldn’t crack me up more if she tried. Sweet girl is a prime example of mixing regional dialects.

This is what I find so fascinating about etiquette, as well. The mixing of it and the product of “new” etiquette. I’ve never known of a situation when even Emily Post herself simply decided on something new being etiquette. Rather, she would look at the current culture and evaluate whether or not something still applied in that area. People move in. People leave. Lots of external factors are at play when defining the culture of an area. To me, that’s what makes etiquette beautiful, as well.

Fun fact: It’s y’all, not ya’ll. Y’all is a contraction for you all, so the apostrophe goes where the letters are removed.

Wednesday’s Child Is Full Of Woe

Does anyone remember the nursery rhyme that starts “Monday’s child is full of face?” Well, until just a couple of years ago (and I’m 31), my mom had always told me that I was born on a Tuesday. In this poem, Tuesday’s child was full of grace, which I loved. I long to have the grace of someone like Jackie Kennedy (my granny’s grace role model) or Duchess Catherine. I was always so proud of being a Tuesday’s child, especially since my brother decided to be born on Sunday, which, according to the poem, is the best day of all. Being a United Methodist, we are all about grace. So, it was a double whammy.

I’m here to tell you that 21 hours apparently does some funny things to your brain. My mom went into labor on Tuesday. I, however, did not make an appearance until Wednesday. Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Sigh. (At least I’m keeping with my day).

Here’s the version of the poem I remember from my nursey rhyme books:

Monday’s child is fair of face. Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Thursday’s child has far to go. Friday’s child is loving and giving. Saturday’s child works hard for a living. But the child who is born on the Sabbath day is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.

Like many things, though, the definition of woe has gotten a little changed over the years. Woe, in addition to sadness, referred to having empathy for others. My husband would say that part does fit me. Here’s what else I found interesting!

{There was considerable variation and debate about the exact attributes of each day and even over the days. Halliwell had ‘Christmas Day’ instead of the Sabbath.[1][not in citation given] Despite modern versions in which “Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” an early incarnation of this rhyme appeared in a multi-part fictional story in a chapter appearing in Harper’s Weekly on September 17, 1887, in which “Friday’s child is full of woe”, perhaps reflecting traditional superstitions associated with bad luck on Friday – as many Christians associated Friday with the Crucifixion. In addition to Wednesday’s and Friday’s children’s role reversal, the fates of Thursday’s and Saturday’s children were also exchanged and Sunday’s child is “happy and wise” instead of “blithe and good”.[4]   }

I’d also be pretty happy being “loving and giving” with the role reversal shown here. However, I will say, that, as a United Methodist, one of the holiest services, in strictly my opinion, is that of Ash Wednesday. This poem, which I randomly thought of, reminds me of that Wednesday and the preparation of our hearts. I think I’m okay being a Wednesday’s child after all.

Thank you for reading! I think nursery rhymes, which are so simple on the surface, are filled with tradition, and I’m excited to get to go over a few in the next couple of weeks! Which ones are your favorites?

Nicest of Them All….Weddings Decoded

Alright, so earlier this week I asked the question of which type of wedding would be considered the most formal – morning church, evening church, at-home or venue. The answer? It’s actually an at-home wedding. Let’s jump into the “why” that y’all know I’m so eager to always explain?

Now, remember, this is for the USA, and this is actually the traditional etiquette answer, per Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post. Weddings, by definition, are formal events. This does not equate to formal attire, though. While weddings have been held in churches for centuries, in the USA, it was more common until about the 1950s for weddings to be held at home, provided the bride’s family was wealthy enough to do so. It was considered a very formal affair. Full meals would be provided by servants for hundreds of people. After about the 1820s, families who could afford it went all out for weddings. A minister would still perform the ceremonial part of the wedding, and the reception would commonly follow.

In the 1950s, the USA experienced a religious resurgence with a big push to hold wedding ceremonies in a church building, such as a sanctuary. Still, even then it was popular for the bride’s family to host a full meal and reception at their home or at a family home. As peoples’ homes have decreased in size, the idea of having a receptions at a venue has increased in popularity. In Amy Vanderbilt’s 1954 etiquette book, she declares home weddings “nicest of them all,” showing a preference for tradition over trend. Think plantation home size.

Going by this etiquette precedence, the “nicest” type of wedding and reception a couple would most likely have today would be to have a church wedding and an at-home reception, provided the home is large enough to accommodate a large number of people. It would include a full meal with people serving the meal. An alternative that would be considered just slightly less formal would be a church wedding with a reception at a venue.

Now, if you choose to have a venue wedding, does any of this mean it’s not ok or “nice?” Not even in the least. It is, however, stating that there are certain expectations for choosing a more formal wedding type. That may rub some people the wrong way, but in all areas of life, there are expectations. I have a certain level of expectations when I come to work. Never feel obligated to host any event, including a wedding, that you can’t afford.

Now, going off of the comments, someone mentioned the Royal Wedding between the Duke and Duchess. That, in my opinion, was a perfect combination of old and new. It was a morning church wedding, followed by a luncheon reception. Finally there was an evening “home” reception. The duchess also changed dresses between the events. It was elaborate, but it had an element of youth to it that I loved. She also kept in mind appropriate dress for both venues. As we’ve talked about, the later in the day it gets, the more formal your attire would be. You’d never wear an evening gown to a church, regardless of time, so she kept it before 7 (well before, as it was morning). Prior to the evening event, many of the guests had also changed clothes into more formal threads.

Etiquette helps us to better understand others’ expectations. I hope you enjoyed this post! As always, thank you for reading.


It’s a Family Tradition

Sorry. The title is actually just because my husband is a fan of country music. 😉 But today we are, in fact, talking about family traditions and how important they are. In my opinion, traditions are also basic standards your family expects and show your priorities. If you have monthly family get-togethers, you prioritize family time. If you have holiday traditions, you value holidays. And so on.

Growing up, my paternal grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Wilder, lived in Irving, fairly close to the DFW airport. Although they moved to their new house when I was around 11 (I’m about to be 31), I still consider this house their home. At night in particular, when everything was quiet, you could hear the airplanes soar over the city. It’s no coincidence that, as an employee for American Airlines, my grandpa loves airplanes. However, he liked them most in mini version – model planes, in fact. He had a shop that he would spend many hours in building airplanes, flying remote controlled planes, etc. It was a topic he was always excited (and still is) to speak on. He has, in fact, been quoted and showcased in several model airplane magazines.

While planes weren’t my forte, they most definitely were for my brother. Today, at the ripe ol’ age of 26, he’s a pilot. I truly believe the interest created by my grandfather cultivated his love for flying high.

On the flip side, my grandma, though very classy and classic, would always let me push the limits a little. I remember one time in particular, she made me peanut butter toast (I remember it being the first time I had tried it) and let me stay up late (it was past 9pm when we started the movie) to watch 101 Dalmatians. It was absolutely wonderful, and it’s a memory I always think back to when I let my own daughter stay up past bedtime for one-on-one time. Although I was one of 17 (?? Not really sure how many at that time) grandchildren, I felt so special that she had made the night all about me.

This bond I made with my paternal grandparents has lasted through the years. At my grandparents’ 50th anniversary, my grandma passed down various items she had at her wedding to the granddaughters. I inherited a handkerchief she carried. It was carried by me at my wedding. When Garrett and I got engaged, she passed down her original wedding ring set, as my grandpa had gotten her a new one for their 50th. For years she had gotten small rashes on her ring finger that she thought was from soap. In addition to her beautiful ring, I also inherited her allergy to white gold. Go figure. 🙂 Regardless, I will absolutely cherish this ring for as long as I live and will one day pass it down to Katherine.Family is a value that has been passed down from both sides. As such, family time is something I truly treasure. I hope you are able to make time for your loved ones and make memories you’ll have forever.