Texas has a very strong sense of itself. Being out here for as long as I have could make it easy to kinda forget my own southern-ness. Yes, Texas is in the south but Texas is Texas. Kinda thought of by lots of people out here as its own country and from what I understand, if push came to shove, it could be.
It's not that I don't like Texas. It's really an ok place. And it's catching up... Many places you go now you can get sweet tea. I see Buttermilk and Sawdust Pies on menus here and there . But it's really not "The South". It took me awhile to figure out why I was not so comfortable here... Something was missing.... I mean I wasn't actually thinking "I'm not comfortable here " but it just didn't fit me. Some people would ask, in a place like Houston, how could something be missing?
Years and years ago I lived for a bit in New Jersey and then "upstate" NY... meaning, not in the city. THAT is most assuredly a place I don't belong! The only things I miss about up there is Katz's Bakery in Liberty NY and it's not even there anymore.
I was raised in the south and was taught I had to say please and thank you, excuse me, yes maam and no maam. If I opened a piece of gum or candy the trash went into Granny's pocket... I didn't know what littering was but no-one should ever be able to connect me to a piece of trash on the ground. NEVER_NEVER, NEVER interrupt adults who were speaking unless it was for a dire reason. That included no fussin' or whimpering of any kinds. I was raised to call ladies Miss, as in Miss Ann, or if close to them but not blood related maybe aunt and of course the men Mr, ie, Mr Everett or Uncle Everett. I even had one I adored and I called her Mama Jo. Never, absolutely never, did I call an adult by their first name.
When I came to Houston when my kids would speak to people and say something like, Miss Ponterella or Miss Nancy they would be corrected and told " Don't call me Miss! Just call me Nancy. " I explained, this isn't about you... it's about teaching my kids what I consider important to their character. And I have seen this improve over the years, at least in my close circles, a bit.
My children, especially the boys, were taught NOT to enter thru a door if there was a person approaching that they could courteously open the door for. Rain or shine. Not to eat like pets even if it was just a sandwich and to be sure to tend to anyone older than them or a guest at any meal setting. They still say ma'am when being introduced to any of my girl friends and my "boys" are 43 qnd 31 years old. I was blessed one day when a man at a garage sale realized he had worked for my oldest son and with my youngest (when was home on college breaks) and said they both treated him with the untost respect and consideration even tho' the oldest was his boss...Always Spoke to him saying yes sir and no sir. Said I should be a very proud momma.
I have friends who have teen and yound adult children...... Boys and girls. And they talk to me like I'm one of their contemporaries.... Not just lacking any respect in the their speaking that causes them to respond with Yeh, and huh? and to have an attitude that they are always the ones it's all about, ... but I hear them speak to their mommas the same way! This so gets my feathers ruffled, but even more than that it makes me sad. For sure I see models of their daddy's and how their daddy's talk to their mommas! I believe it's a momma's job to teach her children manners and for the daddy's to very, very strongly support it, especially by example. But if you have a daddy who speaks respectfully to his wife, momma, grandma, aunts and all ladies in general, it's what you'll see out of his children. If it's in him, important to him, he'll tend to seeing his sons follow suite.
Simple things like all of this goes a very long way to help children present themselves in ways that makes them positively stand out, it's truly an advantage to them everywhere they go. And I miss it.
I guess the best thing I can say from my heart is, if you're not from the south, I'm sorry.