ladies who lunch in the South

“I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered,
it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”

Flannery O’Connor

(one of the many blue plates at Rachel’s in Watkinsville, Ga )

I’m not certain what exactly Ms O’Conner meant about us here in the South
being ‘Christ haunted’, but I suppose it has something to do with just another
thread woven into our long and at times, tragically sad past as Southerners.

But that past has much more happy than sad…it’s just that the sad gets more coverage

May it be known that I have always had a deep respect and affinity for the older residents
of our beautiful South.
And it probably should be known that possessing manners and respect seems to be just an innate
quality we Southerns seemed to born with…or maybe it was something that simply came from our grandmothers.

Today, I finally felt like I might live from the first dose of that blasted Pfizer vaccine.
The jury has been out since Saturday afternoon.

And since I did feel as if I might actually survive today, we went to visit a new dentist.

New doctors of every shape, size and description now seem to be filling our dance card.

Ode too moving.

And so since we now live in a place that is a bit “out”…
we’re within about 10 to 15 minutes to several nice little cities and towns.
One being the home to my alma mater.
But that once small city I knew 40 years ago, is now a massive teeming sea of humanity
all with a massive sea of speeding reckless cars.

The dentist, gratefully was in the opposite direction…located in a
delightfully charming small southern town.

When the hygienist was almost finished, I asked if she could recommend
a nice little place for lunch.

She asked if we liked southern cooking.
You know, those blue plate special places of yore.

“Well, yeah”, was my snappy response…as if my southern drawl didn’t give that away.

She recommended a place that was in a small shopping strip on our way back home.

When we pulled into the parking lot, it was full.
As in packed.

We spied the restaurant across the parking lot as there was even a line of cars
pulled up alongside the drive through window.

We made our way inside behind a line of the hungry myriad of lunch folks.

The young lady at the door took our name but shortly directed us to a long table
of about 8 chairs with two older women sitting at the opposite end
as we saddled up on the other end.

The place was packed and folks just kept pouring in.
Social distancing, I suppose, was in the best effect it could be.
There were plastic separators between booths and folks at the long tables
were spread out…

They had a dry erase board boasting the day’s delectables.
Fried chicken with white gravy
Patti melts
Country fried steak
Grilled flounder
Grilled salmon
Chicken tenders
along with every vegetable and casserole imaginable.

One of the older women sitting at the end of our table asked if we were new visitors to
the restaurant.
We explained that we were new to the area so she immediately called over our waitress, Susan,
explaining that we were new and she needed to be nice to us.

Susan looked at us and winked, noting that her name was actually Suzanne.

Susan/ Suzanne immediately reappeared with a basket of hot, melt in your mouth, corn bread.
She then took our order.

The older lady at the end of the table asked if we liked banana pudding.
I told her that I was not a fan but my husband loved it.
She explained that this place had the best banana pudding out there.
It must, because I had overheard her when she ordered three to go.

The ladies proceeded to get Susan / Suzanne to come give us the run down
of hours of operation and the days with the best offerings.

After we had eaten all that we could manage to eat, a banana pudding magically
appeared in front of my husband.

We both turned and looked at the ladies.

They each immediately raised their hands in the air as if they had no clue as to
how a banana pudding could miraculously show up.

From the oohs and ahhhs, I think the whole place knew my husband loved his
banana pudding.

Susan /Suzanne came by and thanked us for visiting, telling us to please come again.
A little confused, we asked for our ticket so we could pay our bill.
Susan / Suzanne explained that our bill had been taken care of.

Again, we turned and looked at the ladies, who again, threw their hands in the air.

We profusely thanked them, offering to at least pay the tip, but they
happily chirped that that had been covered.

“Just come back” they joyously responded.

Southern charm and hospitality…our heritage.
And I for one, am thankful.

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship,
and he who plants kindness gathers love.

Saint Basil

14 comments on “ladies who lunch in the South

  1. bcparkison says:

    Classic southern .

  2. hatrack4 says:

    You made a mistake. It’s nanner pudd’n. If someone actually pronounced it banana pudding, especially with the “g” at the end, I would suppose they were Yankees. Then again, Yankees have never heard of it, especially used as a condiment. But your tale has given me a second reason to move south. Our grandchildren are number one, but to be greeted with a smile rather than the back of a hand to the face – stopped when they realized that they knew you – glad we know a few people. That would be nice. The waitresses here are usually efficient, but always aloof. My wife loves conversation, and they never cooperate.

  3. says:

    What a nice diversion from the day to day. To actually dine inside a restaurant is a treat in itself. Sounds like you’ve found a new home.

    • Are y’all still not open for indoor dining?? Even at a half capacity seating??

      • says:

        Yes we are. Paul doesn’t feel good about doing so yet.

      • While back in Carrollton, we’d drive about 40 minutes to a small town to a restaurant we liked that did their best to keep things “safe”–I’ve missed that place since we moved—we’ve gone to a few spots when at the beach, as well as around here…but all with reservations, etc—besides our showing up at yesterday’s meat and three…which if you didn’t have Covid—some of them might—it was pretty packed…plastic shields and all

  4. Thanks

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, cookiecrumbstoliveby wrote:

    > Julie (aka Cookie) posted: ““I think it is safe to say that while the > South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” > Flannery O’Connor (one of the many blue plates at Rachel’s in Watkinsville, > Ga ) I’m not certain what exactly Ms O’Conner meant about us h” >

  5. Oh, how sweet! I really miss working in restaurants, practicing hospitality and even a bit of Southern charm. My MIL was a cook her whole life, very Southern in her taste, so lots of chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy. My favorite was her baked chicken, totally toxic and unhealthy. She would fry it in butter and then throw it in the oven to finish cooking. And of course, you just pour the rest of the melted butter over the top.

    Love that quote, too. I do see how the South is “haunted by Jesus,” as in He is woven into the land. That doesn’t make people believers at all, but folk art for example could have a cross or a dove incorporated into it and no one would bat an eye. Contrast that to the North where we actually replaced some phone poles because when you came around the corner it looked like 3 crosses on a hill which offended some people. So we are haunted by Jesus too, just in a different way.

    • Hey, that chicken of your mother-n-law’s is something made from “heaven” and you made my mouth water—mmmmm

      And yep—haunted yes.
      He is woven in the fabric of all our states…some have forgotten..some have his blood running through their soils—we were once a land of the Sacred —sadly no longer—it’s just that the South tends to wax and wane about her history…nostalgic don’t you know 😉

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