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!


Surprise Notes and Gifts

This has been a week of surprises! In addition to presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, coming to Sulphur Springs, Texas (who I got to welcome to our town publicly), I received two thank you notes in the mail. One from a mom who is taking an etiquette class with her daughter and one from a judge in our local World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest (try saying that five times fast…). Trust me when I say it’s rare anyone thanks me for having them take approximately 75 bites of stew, some of which smells like diesel. I was so caught off guard in a good way by these sweet notes – which absolutely shows the impact a piece of paper can make.

thank yous

Now, the time has come for me to do the same! A few weeks ago I entered a local contest from a business here in town called Just Country. They have homemade rustic signs and decor. It’s very cute stuff. Anyhow, I amazingly won. So, I went by the store to pick out a piece. I must have been taking a while because the owner told me she could make whatever I wanted. Being the 29 year old I am, I held out my phone with their Facebook page pulled up to their photos and asked if they had a particular Christmas sign. Alas, it already sold. However!! They made it for me. A person who WON a contest – I wasn’t buying this. Wow. That’s amazing service. Winning the contest in-and-of itself warranted my sending them a thank you for gifting a piece to me. Add this on top of the fact they went out of their way significantly, and I am posting everywhere of their customer service in hopes other shops will take notice. 🙂 So, publicly, thank you to Just Country. You amaze me.