We recently visited my wife's aunt who lives in North Carolina near Mount Airy. As we pulled into her driveway on a late December afternoon, the first thing that I noticed was a patch of leaf lettuce growing in her flower bed along with a few pansies.
I was not surprised. Southern women are nothing if not resourceful. My mother had little patches of things growing all around our house. She also slept with a baseball bat by her bedroom door. Of course my wife's aunt sleeps with a little more fire power since times have gotten tougher over the years. In fact she keeps a pump shotgun in an easily accessible spot. As she says, the sound of shotgun chambering a shell is one of those universal sounds that means you should consider your options carefully before making yourself a pest. If you don't, it might be the last decision you make.
Most great southern women have had their character strengthened by adversity. My mother and Glenda's aunt are no exceptions. With that strong character came an absolute dedication to family and friends.
There's a certain honesty in our steel magnolias that can be freshing. One thing to remember is to not be surprised by the answers to your questions. As we were talking to Glenda's aunt something came up about men. I mentioned that I remembered well what she had once told me.
I would rather have a good axe and a reliable lawn mower than another man around the house.
She looked at me, smiled, and said she wouldn't deny saying it. There is one other thing you should know about strong southern women. Never, ever get on their wrong side.
However, there can be no greater honor than to go through life with one of those steel magnolias by your side. I should know, my wife is also one.