Bless Your Heart

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Lessons Learned | 0 comments

Bless Your Heart

In the South, people live by their code of etiquette. They pass it down from generation to generation. It’s the first thing they learn before learning to walk and talk.

When driving down the road, they wave at people they don’t know. They pull their tractors off the road to let cars go by. They invite people they don’t know or like to “Come by and see me sometime.” They take farm raised tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, a basket of corn or home-baked apple pies as hostess gifts. They are quick to stay overnight in the hospital with a loved one because they don’t trust doctors or nurses. They dress up to go to WalMart and they hide their dirty laundry in the closet. Southern Living magazine is placed prominently on the coffee table and there’s always a pitcher of fresh tea and lemonade in the refrigerator and a newly baked dessert on the sideboard. And all Southern conversations are served with a spoon of sugar.

In the South, to say something negative about someone in public is a smirch on their family name. It’s like walking over the top of someone’s grave. It’s just not done. But it is acceptable to say something negative if you precede it with “Bless His Heart.” For example: “Billy Bob, Bless His Heart, was a low-down worthless scoundrel that never gave his family anything but a hard time.” Or “Sarah Jane, Bless Her Heart, married her husband for the third time only to later find out he was married to another woman in another state.” And you get to fill in the blanks with, “Bless His (lying, cheating, stealing, worthless, no-good-for-nothing) Heart! It’s like saying, ”He’s bad, but we can’t hold it against him because he can’t help himself!”

I know this, because I am a Southerner, born and raised. My Southern roots run deep, “Bless my heart!”