Friday, October 25, 2013

31 Days of Mississippi Goodbyes: A Certain Form of Etiquette

Again, I want to be very careful here, because I KNOW Southerners aren't the only ones with good manners. I would NEVER say that people that aren't from here are rude. However, I think there is a certain form of etiquette here that you rarely see elsewhere any more. Some might consider it too much- too formal or too pretentious or whatever. And sometimes it feels that way to me, to be honest.

But there's something I love about it. Minnie calls the South "the last bastion of civilization" and while I think that's a great big overstatement, I know exactly where she's coming from. She loves how people here take time to do things the longer way, often the harder way. 

I helped give a bridal shower the other day and someone was talking about going home to wash and iron the "linens" from the shower. I know people in other areas of the country still use cloth napkins and table clothes, but it seemed very Southern to me. People still polish their silver and Minnie takes great pleasure in making sure all the young brides she registers know what a demitasse cup is.

I half wrote (but never published) a post on my poor old neglected throw back blog (a blog created primarily to share about this kind of old-fashioned loveliness) about what Minnie taught me was, and what I consider, the proper way to respond to a wedding invitation. It's pretty involved; I'll say that much. You basically just rewrite the entire invitation (and yes, I so wish I had prettier hand writing).
{on my nicest, most formal stationary}

The truth is that these things are becoming a lost art in the South, too, but it is taking longer than elsewhere I think. 

The main thing, though, where I see this old-fashioned etiquette play out is the whole "ma'am" and "sir" thing. It's just really, really important to me. I actually wrote a whole post about it. Anyway, regardless of where we live, regardless of the looks we get, they are going to say it. 

In one way it'll be nice to leave some of this "extra" stuff behind and not have to deal with it, but in one way I'll miss it a lot because it's how I was raised, it's a part of me, and it's something I take pride in.

To see a list of previous posts in the series, click here.

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