Someone once noted that a Southerner can get away with the most awful kind of insult just as long as it's prefaced with the words, "Bless her heart" or "Bless his heart." As in, "Bless his heart, if they put his brain on the head of a pin, it'd roll around like a BB on a 6-lane highway." I was thinking about this the other day when a friend was telling about her new transplanted northern friend who was upset because her toddler is just beginning to talk and he has a southern accent. My friend, who is very kind and, bless her heart, cannot do a thing about those thighs of hers, was justifiably miffed about this. After all, this woman had CHOSEN to move to the South a couple of years ago. Can you believe it?" said her friend, "A child of mine is going to be "taaaallllkkin liiiike thiiiissss." Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my dearest friends are from the North, bless their hearts. I welcome their perspective, their friendships, and their recipes for authentic Northern Italian food. I've even gotten past their endless complaints that you can't find good bread down here. And the heathens, bless their hearts, don't like cornbread! We've already lost too much. I was raised to say "swayya," not swear, but you hardly ever hear anyone say that anymore, I swayya you don't. And I've caught myself thinking twice before saying something is "right much," "right close," or "right good" because non-natives think this is right funny indeed. I have a friend from Bawston, bless her heart, who thinks it's hilarious when I say I've got to "carry" my daughter to the doctor or "cut off" the light. She also gets a giggle every time I am "fixin'" to do something. And, bless their hearts, they don't even know where "over yonder" is, or what "I reckon" means! My personal favorite was my aunt, saying, "Bless her heart, she can't help being ugly, but she could've stayed home. Southern girls know bad manners when they see them: 1. Drinking straight out of a can. 2. Not sending thank you notes. 3. Velvet after February. 4. White shoes before Memorial Day or after Labor Day Southern girls always say: 1. "Yes, ma'am." 2. "Yes, sir." Southern girls have a distinct way with fond expressions: 1. "Y'all come back now, ya heaah." 2. "Well, bless your heart." 3. "Drop by when you can." 4. "How's your mama?" 5. "Love your hair." Southern girls know everybody's first name: 1. Honey 2. Darlin' 3. Shugah Southern girls know their cities dripping with Southern charm: 1. Hotlanta or Adlanna (Atlanta as outsiders say) 2. Richmon 3. Challston 4. S'vannah 5. Birminham 6. Nawlins' 7. Oh! and that city in Alabama ? It's pronounced MUNTGUMRY! Now you run along, Shugah, and send this to someone else Raised In The South, i.e., Southern Belles. Even the northern ones, "Bless Their Hearts". That Reminds me. I have a rubber stamp that says "Just because your children were born in the South does not make them Southerners". After all, if a cat had kittens in the oven, that wouldn't make them biscuits."