Social in the South

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It seems like this last month I’ve met some very interesting –  and unusual – characters. (Despite the graphic above, I did not meet Scarlett O’Hara.)

I am what I guess you would call a “people person”…which actually is an expression I never quite understood. How can you not be a “people person?” Would that be someone who is a hermit? or is lost on some deserted island somewhere? or only likes animals? Just by being human, you are a person and as a group we are “people.” Does that make sense?

When I was visiting one of my dearest friends at her home in Kentucky a week or so ago  she was invited to dinner at her friend’s home and the friend was kind enough to extend the invitation to me as well, even though we’d only met very briefly at a breakfast the morning of the Kentucky Derby several years ago, on my last visit to Louisville.  It turned out to be one of the most entertaining evenings ever! and that was because of the “people” who were there.

We were eight and her friend has an absolutely stunning home that is decorated to the hilt. It’s not something I could pull together (I tend to like sea gulls and sea shells; you know, the “beachy” theme which is not very challenging to create when you live at the beach) but if I could come back and execute the decor as well as she did, I think I would have liked having a place like hers.

Her home had a very, very wide and completely open hall and she’d had the foresight to take out the over-sized coat closet that was situated midway through this entrance corridor and make it  into a fabulous bar, complete with sink and mirror-backed shelves  with a varied collection of beautiful glasses in all shapes and sizes. Of course, I would start with the bar. I’d actually done that same thing kind of re-construction  in another place I’d lived, but mine wasn’t nearly as large or extravagant as this was. Hers had imagination where mine was “Take out the closet and put in a sink and an ice-maker.”

It was a condo with two bedrooms but you really got the feel that you were in a much, much bigger home. There were decorative columns,  all sorts of detailed built-ins, collectibles, works of  art, sculpture, different lighting effects…and it all just worked together perfectly. It didn’t have a “museum” feel, don’t misunderstand. It was just lovely.

One of the features I especially liked was her use of color. Where my whole house is done in varying shades of “realtor’s beige” (read: stay-neutral or stay-on-the-market) she had brilliant shades of yellow and orange and gold and it just looked fantastic.  If I did that my friends and family would accuse me of taking LSD.

Even her table setting was spectacular. My coming along had pushed her past the limit on her big round table so instead of squishing us together (as I would have done) she merely set up another “table for two” next to our table. Her other guests were fascinating; just about everyone was “old Louisville” having grown up there…they were horse farm people, antique collectors/appraisers, world-travelers…it was just the most intriguing group! But…I must tell you about my favorite guest. She is a woman after my own heart and I still chuckle every time I think of some of her stories. I will only share one with you here. She told too many great tales and you know I always like to keep my blogs under 1,000 words!

We were sitting in the living room (which had two sets of French doors leading out to a brick patio, overlooking a positively lush stand of tall trees. There were several planters over-flowing with colorful blooms which was a great contrast to all the green.)  We’d all settled comfortably into the plush chairs and settees and I was very  much enjoying the conversation with the others about the places they’d been and the things that they’d seen when we heard what sounded like a van pull up in front….Anyway, the doorbell rang, our hostess went to answer it and in swooped (she really did swoop!) a woman who appeared about my age, wearing a tube topped dress (you know how I feel about them!) which showed she’d gotten too much sun. There was the outline of milky white skin showing what I presumed had been the shape of what was either a bathing suit or a tank top against the flaming red of the rest of her upper torso and her arms. I would never dare to wear such a thing and certainly not if I had those “tan lines” exposed. The van we heard was her mode of transportation for her  latest venture into entrepreneurship, a florist shop. She arrived with the most exquisite bowl of creamy pink roses as a hostess gift (I’d brought a bottle of Proseco…not terribly creative!) I liked her immediately.

She sat down gingerly on an ottoman, obviously in some kind of discomfort. I offered her my chair, but she said no thanks. She was better off where she was. Everyone knew “Sandy” but me. Our hostess asked her how she was feeling.

For lack of a better way of telling this particular one of her stories I’m going to just quote her as best I can.  As you will read, I managed to embarrass myself at more than one point as she spoke.

So, quoting Sandy…and she had an absolutely wonderful lilting Southern drawl to her speech. For the full effect, mentally read this in Kentucky “dialect”:

“Well, y’all were at mah 70th birthday pahty at the club, were you not?” (nods all around, except, of course, for me and my friend, who was only an acquaintance of Sandy.)

“Well, y’all remembah when Ah got up to dance with Willyam? raght aftah Ah lifted mah blouse and flashed mah boobs at the band?” (nods all around again) This was the first point where I almost spit out the tostito with guacamole I had just ingested.

“Welll, Willyam’s hand wahs a little sweaty and as he twirled me ahround mah grip slipped and Ah went cahreeeeeening off toward the table where mah friend, Mary Lou, was sittin’. Y’all know Mary Lou is in a wheelchair?” (mutters of “Of course”, “Yes, poor Mary Lou!” etc.)

“Do y’all remembah when Mary Lou was in her 20′s and got really drunk and fell off the toilet in the Ladies Room at the club?” (not so many nods from the men…but I personally knew that this is the stuff from which legends are made.)

“Well, for those of you who don’t know, that was the time that Mary Lou got wedged between the wall of the booth and the toilet and it took fouhr of us to prahy her free!” (I was biting my lip hard, trying not to react with a giant guffaw, since everyone else was shaking their head and being quite sympathetic and serious about that particular episode in poor Mary Lou’s life.)

“Ah just went fuhlyyyying tow-wahrds her and when Ah landed, Ah landed with mah rib cage on the ahm of her wheel chayher and Ah cracked three of mah ribs!” 

I totally lost it. Whatever was in my mouth went flying across the room and I drew stink-eye stares like you would never believe.

I will never be invited back there again and I completely understand why not.

But Ah will always remembah Sandy and Ah hope she’s all healed up now, y’all know? 




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One Response to Social in the South

  1. joan says:

    why am i not surprised by this!

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