Ever been told “Don’t be ugly!” by anyone other than a plastic surgeon? Southerners have by their own mothers!
What us kids heard coming back to the house:
1. Close that door, you’re letting the flies out. This snarky phrase would have been the wary Southern child’s first clue that something was amiss. Especially, if your mother was busy at the kitchen sink and did a parade ground heel-snap, hand on the hips move to address your entry in the kitchen. Wooden spoon in hand optional.
2. Me and you are about to have a “come to Jesus” meeting. You probably had assumed this much. In your mind you’re already thinking about where you might have seen a fragile stick in the yard to gather (not a fresh green one). She is sure to ask you to fetch a switch for the whipping you deserve.
3. Stop that crying before I give you something to cry about. You turn the water works right off with a snort. Dagnabbit, you think, crying didn’t work. Only option left is: deny, deny, deny!
4. That lie is gonna split Hell right open. Okay, you’re thinking, not sure what she knows, but it’s time to look as forlorn as possible: head down, toes pointed inward, wring your hands, and say: “sorry Momma”
5. Act like you got some raisin’. Whew, you’re golden! No switch. Now look up, smile sheepishly and walk quickly away before she asks any more questions.
Bonus phrase: While walking away, you hear momma say to the kitchen window, “A body can’t get a minute’s peace in this house.”
By the way, “don’t be ugly” means don’t be mean or rude.
Tim Heaton is a HottyToddy.com contributor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book, “Momma n’ Em Said: The Treasury of Southern Sayings” is available on Amazon.