Can I Bless my Kid with the Magic of Southern Soil?
February 24, 2009 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Okay, as a displaced Southerner it disturbs me that my upcoming child is going to be born among a bunch of Damn Yankees. I kind of want to do a ritual with my kid and some red clay taken from Down South to sort of make this all right with myself. What's the best way to make the clay sterile? And . . .

I don't know exactly what form I want the ritual to take?

Sure this is ridiculous to some of you, but as a Southerner who still loves his homeland I was raised to venerate RE Lee, the Boys in Gray, the Lost Cause, and the tainted Flag under which they fought and died.

I know, I know. It's not politically correct ;it's anachronistic; the South is full of bibliolatry and socially regressive tendencies etc., I agree with all of that but in my heart none of that matters. The idea of my kid saying, "I'm a Yankee" when I've always identified so strongly as a Southerner is kind of horrifying and disheartening. I'd like to be able to say, "Well, when you were an infant I wanted you to be able to claim some Southerness so I . . . . "
posted by Any Moose In a Storm to Human Relations (52 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Just teach your kid how to make proper Southern iced tea.

I'm not kidding.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:20 PM on February 24, 2009 [11 favorites]

I wouldn't worry TOO much about your kid self-identifying as a Yankee. My dad and his siblings were raised in the north (places including Ohio and Boston) by parents from Alabama, and they would never refer to themselves as Yankees. Of course, in a world with internet, and where people move from place to place a lot more, there doesn't seem to be as much of that mentality of Yankee vs. Southern. Many people are far too muddled in their backgrounds to staunchly stand as One vs. Other.
posted by fructose at 8:22 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just make sure your kid visits Chick-Fil-A or Waffle House at least once a week and he'll be set.

God, I miss Waffle House.
posted by galamud at 8:33 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I was trying to think of a way to make a mold of the baby's footprint in the red dirt like people used to do with plaster of paris but I don't know how you'd get it to harden. Maybe put the dirt on the baby's foot like powder and then make a print on paper?

BTW, I moved to Texas several months ago and love the red clay.
posted by justlisa at 8:39 PM on February 24, 2009

Just teach your kid how to make proper Southern iced tea.

And cheese grits.
posted by teamparka at 8:45 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

As a fellow displaced southerner (from Rhode Island) - I understand, I grew up with red clay staining my clothes. What about a dirt shirt? Or onesie. Alabama dirt shirts are around, I assume other southern states would have them too.
posted by quodlibet at 8:46 PM on February 24, 2009

depending on where you live, there may be civil war reenactors in the area. You could join them for confederate memorial day (usually April 26th)
posted by Megafly at 8:54 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: Taking a trip to Hattiesburg in a couple weeks to, well, beat my friends with sticks, I'd vote for the iced tea thing (and hell, I'm from the alleged source of iced tea).

Anyhow, to answer your first question: dry it out, crumble it up, put it in a pyrex dish and bake at 400 degrees, allow to cool, add clean water. Not going to be 100% but about as close as you can get in the privacy of your own home.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:00 PM on February 24, 2009

No need for ritual. Just hang this guy's picture in your kid's room and tell them he's God. Works for millions of Alabamians.
posted by dw at 9:01 PM on February 24, 2009

Definitely nth the suggestion of teaching them how to make proper Southern food. I was born and raised in Texas but I'm moving to California. While I was in California for a few months over the summer, I felt like the biggest things that set me apart was just the food stuff. I love healthy California food as much as anyone, but you'll pry my sweet tea from my cold, sweet hands.

Well, that and saying "y'all." If you speak in a Southern manner while your child grows up, he'll pick some of it up. He may speak without a Southern accent most of the time -- like I do -- but chances are it'll come out sometimes. This seems to delight non-Southerners when they see it happen.
posted by Nattie at 9:02 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Born in Texas, which yes, I know, is not really the South with a big S but something different, but then I moved to northern Virginia, which once again is not the South but something different and far more elitist, and yet, somehow, I identify as southern.

I say y'all and tip my hat at folks when I am wearing one, heck, I say folks. If I don't have sweet tea three times a week at least I get the vapors, and I am undeniably attracted to men with slight southern accents.

Teach the child about the food, primarily, and also imbue in him or her with the ability to turn up the southern charm when it suits the situation. The biggest difference between up here and down there, it seems, is that overwhelmingly, people smile and actually mean it when they say "have a nice day."

If you must have some sort of a ritual, and how very Southern of you, by the way, I would go for painting the kid with the clay in some sort of approximation of your precious flag, putting a shirt on him inside out and staining the shirt with said clay, then shooting some guns a symbolic number of times, and letting the shirt dry while you sing your state anthem, perhaps, or whatever appropriate song occurs to you. Then you can have a memento to embarrass the child with in the future.
posted by Mizu at 9:30 PM on February 24, 2009

Just a point of clarification, if you are in Boston, I don't think you ever have to worry about your child saying "I'm a Yankee."

As for the rest of the southern history / heritage aspect, I suggest you research into the cultural groups that made up the south, and shaped it's values. Here is a great book on the Scots Irish people. I feel that if people looked more into the actual history, not the popular history or reactionary history, of their heritage it will provide a greater depth of their own understanding. Once you carry that with you, your children will see it and respect it.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:42 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I was raised by an Alabaman who'd transplanted to California. Every summer we drove to my grandparents' house in the central Alabaman countryside, where I spent my days swimming, consorting with cousins, and consuming a steady diet of fried chicken, fried okra, country fried chicken, corn bread, biscuits, chicken and dumplings, black eyed peas, sweet iced tea, chocolate meringue and key lime pie. At night, we sat on the porch swing and watched the fireflies and fanned ourselves. Every summer until I was fourteen, we did this. Did I grow up thinking I was a Yankee? Nope. In fact, I grew up thinking I was bi-cultural.

During the school year, every time some Californian made a crack about the south -- and boy, that happened a lot -- I would roll my eyes and remember what my mom always told me: "Don't tell them better. We don't want them comin' out there."

If you still have family in the south, make it a regular vacation destination. I feel deeply connected to the "deep south" because my mother made it part of my own life at a formative age.
posted by artemisia at 9:49 PM on February 24, 2009 [6 favorites]

I thought you were only a damn Yankee if you moved to the south.

My Midwestern parents raised me in California, andmost Southerners thought I was from the Midwest. It will vary, but your attitudes will have an imprint.
posted by Monday at 9:57 PM on February 24, 2009

You could presumably make red clay sterile just by pasteurizing it... that wouldn't make it healthy for a baby. Just sterile.

What you could do is set things up so that the very first thing he ever tastes, before he even meets his mother's breast, is sweet tea just like they make in Heaven.

And so that his first solid food is a biscuit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:04 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: My word, what a lot of poor answers. This question is about a birth ritual. I've been looking and looking for the anecdote I have in mind as a suggestion, which could conceivably form its own submission.
The story is about an exile, in England from Central Europe I think, who was forced to give birth to her child away from her country and family. So that the child could make the patriotic claim to be born on the soil of her homeland, she had one of the midwives put a tray of dirt under the bed.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:16 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: I like the sweet tea idea.

Red ochre has been used in ceremonies for millennia. Mix up a slurry of red earth and olive oil and paint a spiral on the kid's forehead as you tell the kid their name for the first time. Tell the kid where you come from, and what your heritage means to you.

Singing a couple of Red Sovine songs is entirely optional.
posted by winna at 10:33 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: ok, evidently texas is not the south, but when my texas cousins were preggers, they were working in DC. They contacted the governor's office in Texas and were sent some sort of hospital approved bag of dirt that went under the hospital bed when the cousin was born and he got a certificate saying he was officially born on Texas soil.

Contact the gov's office in whatever state and ask if there's something similar
posted by legotech at 10:55 PM on February 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

As long as you're not going to be feeding the clay to your baby, I don't think you need to worry about making it sterile. It's just dirt, it'll wash off.

Besides, if you get all anal-retentive about the clay having to be sterile, etc. isn't that just like the uptight Damn Yankees?
posted by Flying Squirrel at 11:42 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think what you're shooting for is ritual, correct? Not an ongoing thing, but more of a "hold the infant to the sky gods and declare this land as ours" thing, yes?

My first idea would be to take some of the red clay, and mix it with plaster of paris, and make a wee hand or footprint. Or if the plaster is mucking up the color, build a shallow frame (4 sides and a bottom), fill it with clay, make an impression (hand, foot, etc.), and let it dry. Cover with plexiglass when dry, label it with where the clay is from, and the date and anything else you want, and mount it in his room.

Alternately, make a mold of your baby's hand or foot (ping me for simple instructions) out of craft-store silicon putty, and then use the clay to replicate the bit you just molded. Just remember that clay with no additives is brittle unless fired.

Also, I've got some cosmetic grade white clay that you could mix with the sterilized (as it were) red clay from the homeland. I'd be happy to send you a small baggie of it, and you could mix them up and then paint it on like war paint. But an infant's skin is so very tender and sensitive, that I'm not sure I'd recommend doing clay until after about 6 months. Even cosmetic clays shouldn't be left on a baby longer than a few minutes.

If you go the "war paint" route, be sure to have some soothing skin stuff handy for when you bath him/her off. Aloe would be great, or a little cherry or sunflower oil with a few drops of lavender oil, and there shouldn't be any residual skin irritation.

Seconding the idea of: Call the Sec of State for your (missed) state and ask for the "birth soil". They'll send you something to go under the bed, so you baby is "born" on native soil.

Congrats on the upcoming birth!
posted by dejah420 at 12:14 AM on February 25, 2009

Have you talked to your wife about what ideas she might have, or how you could integrate the ritual into the birth? Many couples make a tape of music to play during labor for both the parents and the newly born baby. Perhaps you could put together a "bicultural" mix tape so the first sounds the baby hears will come from both of his parents' personal histories.

Sure this is ridiculous to some of you, but as a Southerner who still loves his homeland I was raised to venerate RE Lee, the Boys in Gray, the Lost Cause, and the tainted Flag under which they fought and died.

As your child grows older, I'd do some careful thinking about what kind of history you'd like to teach him. From your post, you seem to have recognized that this notion of Southern history is "politically correct," but not that the culture you still have nostalgia for was exacted at a terrible human cost. You can raise him to understand and respect his family history without asking him to avoid reckoning with the truth.

Congratulations and enjoy your new family!
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:00 AM on February 25, 2009

Best answer: Sing your infant to sleep with Hank Williams songs.

foxy_hedgehog: I'm sure you aren't presuming to lecture a southerner about the "terrible human cost" of his cultural heritage. I suspect the OP, like most southerners of intellect and good will, has wrestled and come to terms with his or her share of the burden of history. Like Faulkner said, the past isn't dead, it isn't even past.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:39 AM on February 25, 2009 [4 favorites]

There is a lot of medical research these days suggesting a link between modern over-sterile environments and poor formation of a babies developing immune system, leading to long-term health problems (allergies, asthma, IBS, etc. etc.)

So I suggest not sterilizing the earth, and then claiming forever after that your child got his/her good health from the soil of the South.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:42 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bury (or have a friend/family member bury) your child's placenta in the south. You can freeze it in a plastic tub while you make the arrangements, then send or take it down.
posted by The Monkey at 2:29 AM on February 25, 2009

Fellow southerner here....

It occured to me as I was reading your post that our recent president was a yankee who had pretenses to southern origins, so birthplace might play only a minor part in the equation.

Sadly, he managed only to incorporate the most vile stereotypes of our homeland and completely missed the good ones. I admire his precision in that effort, honestly. I don't think anyone could have done a better job tainting an entire region by attempting to claim it as his own. It offers scant consolation that he hails from deep yankeeland, so I often remind anyone who calls him a southerner that it takes more than a shit eating grin, a ranch in Texas, a disdain for education, and a fatal grasp on the covers of a bible with no grasp of its contents to be one of us. George had these in abundance, as you'll recall.

Jim Webb's book, Born Fighting, examines American culture from the standpoint of its saturation with Scots/Irish values, particularly as regards the mistrust of government, the frontier spirit, and the pugnacious attitude and heaps considerable praise (and convincing explanation) on Southern and Western American attitudes. Get your boy to read it and embrace his roots when he's old enough. He may be born in the north, but he was formed from a southerner and you can impress on him the most elegant and best characteristics of your land by acting as its only ambassador and teaching by example.

Use GWB as a good example of what a southerner is not, as there is no more effective contrast. James Earl Carter might be a positive example in the presidential arena.
posted by FauxScot at 3:45 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Musician Steve Earle comes from Texans. He was born in Virginia -- but his father brought along a box full of Texas dirt to the delivery room, so that the first soil on God's green earth that Steve's feet touched was from the Lone Star State.

Explain to the delivery room team what you want to do. Touch your baby's feet to the blessed soil and then let the nurses clean him/her up.


(Soil sterilization instructions here. /Advice from damn Yankee.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:57 AM on February 25, 2009

Swaddle the baby in a rebel flag after birth. Whistle dixie.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:03 AM on February 25, 2009

I want to reinforce Fructose's comment -- in my (Ohio) experience, that tendency to identify yourself as a Southerner is not balanced by any equal and opposite tendency for people born north of the Mason-Dixon to identify as Northerners. 'Yankees,' as you might think of them, just think of themselves as people, or as citizens, or as engineers or mothers, or whatever else. I would never call myself a Yankee because my world isn't cloven along such a plane. So I think you're worrying about nothing.

That said, you already seem aware that this ritual is really for you and your comfort, not for the sake of the kid. Nothing wrong with that. I kinda like the placenta-burying idea, especially if you have access to a piece of old family land, or a forest you played in when you were small, or some such place of significance.

Nthing the ideas that food, an open and loving study of Southern culture, and personal talks about your younger life, will matter much more in the long run.
posted by jon1270 at 4:04 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Frequent visits to the South, each time visiting one of the weird and wonderful things near where you're from. For me, it would be:
  • The Ave Maria Grotto
  • the antebellum town of Mooresville
  • Dot's Country Cooking (in a former gas station, like all the best Southern restaurants)
  • the shores of the Tennessee River

posted by ocherdraco at 5:01 AM on February 25, 2009

foxy_hedgehog: I'm sure you aren't presuming to lecture a southerner about the "terrible human cost" of his cultural heritage. I suspect the OP, like most southerners of intellect and good will, has wrestled and come to terms with his or her share of the burden of history. Like Faulkner said, the past isn't dead, it isn't even past.

Um, I wasn't presuming anything, and didn't intend to lecture anyone. Sorry if it came off that way, Original Poster. I took issue with the idea that the "Lost Cause" was merely politically incorrect, and it seemed to beg a few questions, but my response response should have been directed at the specific request. Like Faulkner said, the past isn't dead, it isn't even past. Etc.

Another thought- on the music tip, there was a recent post about Folkways recordings here on Metafilter. Their collection includes many of the Scots-Irish musical traditional that both defined Southern culture (and may have been the origin of Af-American Gospel music as well).
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:14 AM on February 25, 2009

I have to chime in to disagree with Fructose and jon1270 -- there are plenty of people in the world who proudly call themselves Yankees. Jon1270, the Midwest, which is what Ohio is, just isn't one of them. Yankeeland is not anything above the Mason-Dixon line. It's more... New England. Insular, frugal, haughty New England. I mean, they have Yankee Magazine, for heck's sake.

As for the rituals, I just have to nth the soil-under-the-bed idea. Or the feet-on-the-soil-first idea. I think both have great symbolism, and gets right at what you're hoping for. Plus, both can be distilled into a single, powerful statement when telling a story, the value of which cannot be overstated (especially for a Southerner). Plus, they have the added bonus of not needing to sterilize the dirt (though the baking method recommended above would do it just fine).
posted by amelioration at 5:14 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Get your hands on a handmade quilt. If you can't get it from a family member, buy it. Have baby's name and birthdate embroidered on it somewhere. Keep forever. Also order a silver monogrammed julep cup, IF you don't get one as a gift, which you probably will. Keep forever. Find some sort of fundraiser in your hometown or that general area that requires you to buy a brick and have it embossed with a name. My kids' names are on bricks at our small-town local library and also in front of the Pyramid in Memphis. They will always be grounded here, no matter where they end up in life. If you can't find a fundraiser like that, put the name somewhere on your family place, carved in a rock or on a plaque. Something permanent that ties the child to the place.
posted by raisingsand at 6:09 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

The only people who refer to "Yankees" are people from the South. I'm almost 100% serious--I was born in the north and raised from age 11 in Rocky Top. I'd never even heard the word Yankee till people down South started calling me one.

For what it's worth, I claim the South as my home, not the north, even though I live up here again now.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:38 AM on February 25, 2009

I grew up in CT and have lived in Boston for the past 15 years and have never met anyone that considers (or at least publicly called themselves) a "yankee". "Yankee" magazine is a cutesy, faux historical type name, not really a bold statement of identity. Also, the NY Yankees aren't even in New England! :)

As for the ritual, I really like the ideas that raisingsand came up with. It would be pretty cool to be able to go visit "yourself" like that.
posted by reddot at 6:51 AM on February 25, 2009

Um, amelioration, I've lived in Boston for 7 years and I've yet to hear anyone from the region call themselves a Yankee. In the New England, "Yankees" means that sports team from New York, and everyone knows that all good New Englanders are Red Sox fans. The only other context in which I've ever run into the word Yankee here is a historical one. While I'm sure it's possible to dig up a handful of exceptions, the whole Yankee/Southerner thing is really pretty one-sided these days.

OK, now the word Yankee looks really weird.

I think that a footprint would be coolest and most lasting - you might want to talk to a local potter to find out whether you need to mix it with other clay to make it strong enough to go through a kiln. If you still have family down South, maybe you could make a second print and have it installed in one of their back yards?
posted by ubersturm at 6:53 AM on February 25, 2009

I love the idea of touching the baby's feet to the soil. It would be sweet to then bottle up the soil and keep it with the baby's effects (first shoes, first hair cut, first baby tooth, etc.)

Do you have a family christening gown? Ask around if any of the grandparents or uncle-cousins or aunties has a baby dress kept in a box somewhere. The best ones are made from a wedding dress and then the hem embroidered with each baby's name as it is used, but you can always start the tradition-- the point is to have a bond with the extended family that unites you even when you have moved away to some god-forsaken place like the North.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:57 AM on February 25, 2009

As a followup, and I know that this doesn't relate to the OP's original question, but more to what foxy_hedgehog and BitterOldPunk were saying...

The terminology and imagery that the OP uses to describe the aspects of the Southern culture that he holds dear indicate certain beliefs about slavery & the civil war.

The Lost Cause:
posted by reddot at 7:03 AM on February 25, 2009

Nobody up here (NY) refers to themselves as Yankees, that's true. But they are. Long live the south, may she rise again (this time without the 400 years of slavery). I'll just say that as a southerner (ga) living in the north, I agree with your sentiments and the feeling that you want your kids to be able to claim the southern identity.

Identity is not just sweet tea, hashbrowns, cheese grits, and a terrible addiction to chick-fil-a (and especially terrible on Sundays when none are not be had). My identity as a southerner is a lot more about political stances I hold (states rights, "them up in washington" syndrome, rugged individualism bordering on libertarianism) and social and cultural norms (knowing how to hold a door for a woman, how to pull out a chair, how to behave at social functions, how to fucking ballroom dance). So be sure to enroll the tyke in cotillion classes. I hated it back as a youngin' with a searing embarrassment and loathing, but now I revel in it.
posted by zpousman at 7:57 AM on February 25, 2009

At the risk of chatfiltering, but as I seemed to cause offense, I just wanted to clarify: I spent 8 years in rural Connecticut (followed by 8 years in Georgia, by the way) and let me tell you, the vast, VAST majority of folks I met there were delighted with their Yankee identification. It occurs to me that, in light of what other posters are saying, this might be enormously an urban/rural dichotomy in New England.
posted by amelioration at 8:19 AM on February 25, 2009

The Lost Cause:

Disturbing-Google-Filter: "Heritage not Hate"

A pretty uncompromising take on the whole scene.

Nobody up here (NY) refers to themselves as Yankees, that's true. But they are.

I'm getting the hell out of this thread before the sheriff pulls me over for being an unsavory type.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:20 AM on February 25, 2009

As they say:

To a foreigner, a Yankee is an American.
To a southerner, a Yankee is a northerner.
To a northerner, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To a New Englander, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
To a Vermonter, a Yankee is someone who has pie for breakfast.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:21 AM on February 25, 2009 [10 favorites]

Response by poster: This has been fantastic. There are many wonderful ideas here so far.

Just to clarify and ameliorate some concerns that seem to be being raised: I don't support slavery, institutional racism or any of that. Southern History and identity is (or should be) complex as some of us continue to have nostalgia for customs, history, traditions and the myths of the South while recognizing that we can never divorce ourselves from the moral problems embedded within or existing along side of those customs, history, traditions, etc.

I fully intend to give any child a complete and complex view of Southern history warts and all, which, I don't believe makes it impossible for them to also love that land and its history and traditions too.

(I'm not about to get into a debate with zpousman about what constitutes the proper make up and boundaries of Southern Identity.)
posted by Any Moose In a Storm at 8:26 AM on February 25, 2009

Best answer: I wouldn't worry about sterilizing; I ate actual dirt as a kid, straight from the ground (no, I wasn't starving, I just liked the crunchiness of it), and it did me no harm.

I like sarabeth's idea: grits're good!

Could people can the off-topic crap? The poster does not need sanctimonious lectures about the South.
posted by languagehat at 8:31 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Following the dirt connection, do you have family land with a well on it who can send you water? You could bathe the child in it once you all come home together.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:50 AM on February 25, 2009

*and someone who
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:51 AM on February 25, 2009

nthing that New Englanders don't refer to themselves as Yankees.
As Civil War buff who has a warm spot for Stonewall, Marse Robert et all, I welcome another generation of Sotherners to the world.
I think that, sadly, we're losing some of our regional identities in the great homogeneityof the USA.
I really like the dirt idea.
How about buying some Confederate currency? It's fairly reasonably priced, a great conversation piece and who knows, may pay off some day!
posted by pentagoet at 9:08 AM on February 25, 2009

I'm from Eastern New York State. My family arrived in New York and New England between about 1622 (missed that boat) and 1760. I'm a swamp Yankee, by damn!

Boiled dinner, cornbread (not exclusively Southern; neither are dumpliings, biscuits and [beet] greens), hash, the Grange, Greek Revival farmhouses, cobblestoned farmland, apple pie, and everything that is good.

My eleven year old nephew was born in Fairfax and moved West at age 1. He considers himself a Virginian. Rips my heart.

OT: the soil-under-the-bed thing is a good idea.
posted by jgirl at 12:04 PM on February 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

I forgot to mention Yankees are taciturn. That's why people think we're, or at least why I am considered to be, reserved & snooty.

Amelioration is quite right about the vast urban/rural dichotomy. Probably Georgia is like that as well.
posted by jgirl at 12:31 PM on February 25, 2009

Evangeline, it would have to be mince pie, raisin pie (yes, there is such a thing), or apple pie.

You might get a pass on other fruit pies, except for lemon, which is really for a church supper or Sunday dinner.
posted by jgirl at 12:33 PM on February 25, 2009

Make sure your child reads an Uncle Remus story every night right before bed. Hang a picture of Stonewall Jackson above his head. Kiss him goodnight with gin on your breath and a Bible in your hand. Talk about honor and things he should know and then stagger a little as you walk out the door.
posted by ND¢ at 2:30 PM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was trying to think of a way to make a mold of the baby's footprint in the red dirt like people used to do with plaster of paris but I don't know how you'd get it to harden.

Ummm . . .it's clay. Bake it. Fire it in a kiln. It'll be pottery. That's where bricks come from--it'll be plenty hard.

While you're worried about a self-identification of Southernness--here's something else to worry about at night: language. Your kid's not going to have the same accent you do (my nephew who lives in Montana sure doesn't have his Dad's accent).

Does it matter though? Cultural identity doesn't come from a single ritual but from a series of rituals and experiences over time. If you have as strong a Southern identity as you claim, then your kid will pick it up too. Make corn pones from Pollard's meal (they mail order); bake Red Velvet cakes. Keep doing all those things that make you Southern and it'll rub off.
posted by fogovonslack at 3:33 PM on February 25, 2009

And keep your pantry stocked with Goo-Goo clusters, RC and King Leo peppermint sticks, all available here. I just got a newsletter announcing the arrival of new peanut butter Moon Pies. Brilliant innovation or cookie abortion? You decide.
posted by Evangeline at 7:48 PM on February 25, 2009

« Older What is the best external flash for the Nikon D40...   |   In hot pursuit of clever pursuits Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.