Recently my friend Jennifer took a car trip to Disney with her three children under the age of ten. In my defense I tried to warn her against it, medicate her and prepare her for the worst. I bought her a new cooler that I suggested be stocked with wine cleverly disguised as fruit juice. It wouldn’t matter if she drank it or served it to her children, either way the car trip would be more tolerable.
When it was apparent she wasn’t going to drink or make her kids a Benadryl cocktail I did the only other thing I could. I assured her that if in the event she should find herself needing to make a premature exit from the minivan I would pick her up off the side of the road.
She survived the trip without prescription medication or alcohol. When she was telling me about her trip the thing that stuck out in her mind the most was her experience at Chick- Fil- A in Georgia.
Being a Northerner she wanted to get her food in an expedient manner and get out of there. You get in line, you order, you pay and at no point do you exchange personal information with the cashier.
Unfortunately she got in line behind what I can only assume had to be one of my relatives. We Southerners have a knack for turning a two second interaction into a full blown “How is your mama” reunion.
Through gritted teeth she described a conversation that went something like this.
“Welcome to Chick-Fil-A! My name is Suzy. How can I help you?’
“Oh my goodness Suzy Palmer? Do you remember me? I am Carol Ann’s mother, Deidre! You remember Carol Ann , y’all sat beside each other in third grade! Remember she had the chicken pox that week and y’all made her a card and sent it home? Why we still have it sitting in the china cabinet.”
“Ms.Deidre, of course I remember you! Didn’t you have a son? What was his name? Billy Wade?
“Why yes! Billy Wade is on his way in. He always was our “spirited” child. But we aren’t worried we got the Baptist Church praying for him and if the Baptists can’t turn it around well then my goodness who can?
“How is your mamma? I heard she had been sick.”
“Oh, mamma is fine. You know mamma nothing is going to stop her from getting to Bingo so as long as they are calling numbers I’m not worried.” (Gesturing over my friend Jennifer) Carol Ann get over her and say hey to Suzy! Do you remember when they made you that card in third grade? Tell her how we still have it in the china cabinet.”
Jennifer has now passed the point of agitation and her left eye has started to twitch. She is wondering if she strangles Ms. Deidre if they will hold the service at the Baptist Church”
“Well Ms. Deidre what can I get for y’all today?
“Lord honey I have no idea. Carol Ann, go get Billy Wade and tell him to come on we are fixin’ to order. Lord, that boy is going to be the death of me. Carol Ann tell him to hurry! This pretty lady behind me is going to starve to death waiting on her gosh darn chicken sandwich!! ”
She looks back at Jennifer who is now contemplating restarting the Civil War just so she can take our Ms.Deidre and politely says “Oh honey y’all go on ahead there’s no telling where Billy Wade is. Well aren’t these about the most precious little children I have ever seen! Where y’all from?”
And just like that good ole Ms. Deidre turned on her Southern charm and Jennifer’s homicidal thoughts just faded away. How could you contemplate murdering someone that had told you that you were pretty and your kids were precious?
That’s why there are so many old Southern ladies. They know you can diffuse just about any situation with two word, precious and pretty. Long live Ms. Deidre!