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!

 

Fun Weekend Full of Grace

So this past weekend was one full of fun, family, friends and grace. As is pretty par for the course for me, I overbooked the whole weekend. Due to the grace of friends, it all ended up being okay, which I’m very thankful for!

Each Saturday before July 4th, we have our Independence Day Concert, which is hosted by the Sulphur Springs Symphony League. The Northeast Texas Symphony Orchestra sets the perfect patriotic tone, and a beautiful fireworks show follows the performance. I work for a local bank that is one of the major underwriters of this event, and we hand out free goodies to the attendees each year. I knew I would need to be in town that evening, but I woke up on Saturday morning raring to go. We decided to head east in Pittsburg, Texas.

     Grant and Katherine about to enjoy hotlinks!

I’m a big supporter and lover of small towns. We first went to enjoy Pittsburg hotlinks (I had the amazing frito chili pie….truthfully, I love all concession stand-like food), and my kiddos split a buger but devoured more than their fair share of hotlinks, as well.

After we ate, we headed over to Efurd Orchards, where we got to pick our own blackberries.

               Picking blackberries!
              A rare picture of just the two of us.

As you can see by the clouds, the weather wasn’t the best, BUT that did mean amazingly cool temperatures, which I loved! The entire place was beautiful, but watching my kiddos’ faces as they picked blakcberries took the cake. We even remembered to get a family photo!

                                The whole family.

After we finished picking the 3 1/2 pounds of berries (enough for a cobbler and extra snacking berries!), we headed back to the main area for ice cream (the kids got strawberry, and I chose peach) and peaches for days! If I had had enough sense, I would have gotten a watermelon, too, for a party we had on Sunday.

Happy kids with homemade strawberry ice cream!

We were going to run by Los Pinos winery, too, but time (and the rain that ended up coming) got the better of us. We made it back in time for me to work my shift and to watch the beautiful fireworks!

              The WHOLE family (my mom’s side).

Sunday was my aunt and dad’s birthday. After church, we headed out to my aunt’s house for a birthday lunch for the two of them.

Then, just after presents, we headed over to our friends’ home for swimming and grilling. And my etiquette fail of the week.

I had told my friend I’d bring watermelon to their house for Sunday. However, that’s literally what I did. I brought the watermelon. It wasn’t cut up or even cold. 🙁 Thankfully, with the help of Sharla and the grace of Chelsea, it worked out. But I’m still beating myself up about it today BECAUSE….etiquette is about consideration of others. I hate that I just brought an uncut watermelon. By letting myself run out of time, I wasn’t able to do everything we were doing to the best of my ability. And that bothers me. I’m very grateful to have friends who just wanted to spend time with us, but I never want to take advantage of them. It helped me realize I truly ENJOY etiquette and consideration of others, which will be my “why” for next time.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

Summer Storms

Ah! I knew it wouldn’t be too soon since my last post about summer storms, and I’m so happy to actually have a couple of pictures to share with you this time! If you’re familiar with the South (Texas in particular), the weather changes more frequently than you change underwear. However, I’m home for lunch, so I grabbed a couple of pictures on my way in. Yes, my hair is a frizzy mess now, but it’s so worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can tell from the pictures, you can barely tell it’s raining. Earlier for a very brief minute it was coming down in buckets – just straight down from the sky.

There’s no wind today, so as soon as the cool rain subsides, it’s back to a muggy humidity. For a few scarce minutes, though, the slow rain is the exact thing ones needs to cool the air and soothe the soul. I even seem to be slower in my breathing.

Weather is very nostalgic for me. Like traditions, weather can transport to me a different day – a different place, even. Today’s weather reminds me so much of Jefferson, Texas. This place is incredibly special to me, as it’s a place my parents regularly took me when I was little. It’s also the town where Garrett proposed to me. What’s more special than that?

You know how much I like stories. Here’s one. I remember being little and going to ride in the river boat in Jefferson. When I was young, I thought a nice witch was over it. She just seemed magical. I couldn’t remember her name to save my life, but last year when my mom and I had a mother/daughter day out to Jefferson, my mom and I decided to take another boat ride. We were walking up to get tickets, and my mom studies the lady for just a minute before saying, “Rosemary.”

The lady looks up a little confused and said, “I went by Mary Rose, if that’s who you mean.” It was her. My magical witch! She said she went by her maiden name because her late husband said if she wanted to be in the canoe business, it was her thing. So she did it as a bit of a jab to him.

This lady who took us out on the water 28 years before, when I was 2, led us out again that day, and I found I was just as mesmerized with her. She clearly had no use for shoes, as she went barefooted everywhere. Along the way, we’d pull over for a bit so she could check her alligator traps, which I found quite fitting. She even trusted my mom to steer while she checked the traps! She smiled and laughed the whole time.

I don’t know why she is someone I’ve thought about for nearly three decades, but I’m glad we had the opportunity to meet again.