Someone once noted that a Southerner can get away with the most awful insult as long as it's prefaced with the words, "Bless her/his heart". A s long as the heart is sufficiently blessed, the insult can't be all that bad.

OK...I know some of you are Northerners...
and some of you are Northerners converted to southerners... and some of you are the real thing, but I thought y'all would enjoy.
Bless Your Hearts, Y'all!.

I was thinking about this the other day when a friend was telling about her new Northern friend who was upset because her toddler is just beginning to talk and he has a Southern accent. My friend, who is very kind and, bless her heart, cannot do a thing about those thighs of hers, was justifiably miffed about this. After all, this woman had chosen to move to the South a couple of years ago, "Can you believe it?" said her friend."A child of mine is going to be taaaallllkkin liiiike thiiiissss."

Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my dearest friends are from the North, bless their hearts.

I welcome their perspective, their friendships and their recipes for authentic Northern Italian food. I've even gotten past their endless complaints that you can't find good bread down here. And the heathens, bless their hearts, don't like cornbread!

The ones that really gore my ox are the native Southerners who have begun to act almost embarrassed about their speech. We've already lost too much. I was raised to "swanee", not swear, but you hardly ever hear anyone say that anymore, I swanee you don't.

# And I've caught myself thinking twice before saying something is "right much"; "right close" or "right good" because non-natives think this is right funny indeed. I have a friend from Bawston who thinks it is hilarious when I say I've got to "carry" my daughter to the doctor or "cut off" the light. She also gets a giggle every time I am "a-fixin" to do something.

And, bless their heart, they don't know where "over yonder" is or what "I reckon" means.

My personal favorite was my aunt saying, "Bless her heart, she can't help being ugly, but she could've stayed home.

To those of you who're still a little embarrassed by your Southerness: take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff, bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin' to have classes on Southernese as a second language!