I’m thinking tonight of a dying breed. The true “Southern Lady”. Even the definition of a Southern Lady is a challenge. Some see her as a weak, charming delicate flower. Most of us know “Steel Magnolias” is an understatement.
Let me begin by saying, no reference is intended to reflect any real person living or dead. I’m talking about my fictional friend “Sally Anne” who is an amalgamation of many ladies I have been privileged to know…
Sally Anne is a tough broad. Or she would be if I was writing a film noir script about a Yankee girl. “Tough Broad” is frequently viewed as a term contradictory to “Southern Lady”. That is a mistake.
“Southern Ladies” are “Tough Broads” with a better publicist.
They have it all…and get away with murder. Frequently in fact as well as in fiction.
They have that proverbial iron fist hidden in the velvet glove. They have the scent of “moonlight and magnolias” that can hide a desperate heart and desperate actions. They know their power is really in what they seem to be instead in what the are- up to a point- and have the balls to cross the line when necessary.
And some have the guts to just be who they are….
Remember, Scarlett O’Hara married a man she didn’t love, killed a Yankee soldier, stole her sister’s fiancé, all but slept with her best friend’s husband and still saved both Tara and her reputation. And is still the “Gold Standard” for Southern Ladies
A true Southern Lady has more balls than any Southern Man.
My fictional Sally Anne would be the person I called when my Father was dying one of many deaths in a hospital out of town. She would insist on going with me and sleeping on the floor while we waited…
She would have been the person I called when I was a twentysomethting emotional mess after he died and wrecked my car, late at at night, and said “come over here” we will fix it in the morning. And had the contacts and experience to do so…
She would never have said a word about any of this…
She would have loved her Father and her family no matter how many “Jerry Springer” moments there might have been. Because she loved them…
My Sally Anne would have been real. Very real. She might have said “fuck” as often as others said “hello” and allegedly might have gone water skiing naked at Smith Mountain Lake on the Fourth of July, but she was a true “Southern Lady.”
Because, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t hide how much she cared about other people.
And because no matter how many times she might behave “inappropriately”, she had the heart and soul of a champion.
She cared about other people.
She always tried to be there for them and take care of them…
No matter how hard she tried to hide it.
That’s what would make Sally Anne the last of the “Great Southern Ladies”…..
And why I’m glad she is a character on this blog….