Thursday Tales and Traditions

Tonight I’ll have the opportunity to speak at my alma mater, Texas A&M University-Commerce. This is where I met my husband. This is where my parents met. And this is where my grandfather attended to start this legacy. I hope that one day my kids will have the opportunity to walk the grounds as students, too. While the name has changed multiple times (originally East Texas Normal College, which was a teachers’ college), the traditions have remained the same.

TAMUC isn’t a very large school. There are around 15,000, which is a size I absolutely love. I felt like we knew nearly everyone. I had the opportunity to be involved as much as I wanted. The bar is set high for all students there, and it’s constantly being destroyed. The Lions are the 2017 Divion II National Champions. That’s wonderful in and of itself. However, the school has numerous sporting teams ranked in the top 10. They excel academically, too. To say I’m honored to be chosen to speak on business etiquette at this school is a vast understatement.

I always lead any speaking engagement with the statement that I teach Southern etiquette. What is so different about Southern etiquette? Well, white after Labor Day or before Easter is a primary difference. Another difference is that in business etiquette, women remain the “more important person,” all other things equal. Southern etiquette also places a much higher emphasis on tradition.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you know a new royal baby has been born. Even as an American I love this. It reminded me of one of my favorite Southern etiquette books, though. A Southern Belle Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.

This book was full of both facts and fun. It’s really one of my staples. There is a follow up, though it’s a bit harder to find and is usually more expensive. It is New Times In The Old South: Or Why Scarlett’s in Therapy & Tara’s Going Condo.
Readers, this is where I need your help. I have recently run across A Southern Belle Primer: Or Why Paris Hilton Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma. I’m curious as to whether it’s simply a name update or if the book has actually changed.

Just for fun, the book I’ve recently purchased is: The Southerner’s Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life.
If you haven’t read it, Garden & Gun was introduced to me by one of my Southern Belle friends, Chaney. I have been addicted ever since! I hope y’all enjoy these books! If you’ve already read any of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂 As always, thank you for reading!

 

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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!