Wherever the Road Leads

The bleached-blonde, red-nailed, two-carat Ex

There have been a couple of posts where it may have appeared that I was speaking of my ex-wife in disparaging ways. It’s understandable that we ALL speak of exes in disparaging ways. If we didn’t they might not be “exes”.

If that was the impression I gave, I’d like to correct that. She was, and to the best of my knowledge still is, a very kind, sharp, educated, very successful in her career, intelligent and attractive woman. She always had the red nails and chose to become a blonde after about two years of marriage.

The two carats started out life as the original half-carat diamond engagement ring plus a half-carat of baguettes mounted on the side. The half-carat stone got traded up for a one-carat. The one-carat got traded up for a two-carat. For that influence, I ‘blame’ my ex sister-in-law, the best cook in the South. She loved jewelery even more than I did. She wore hers discreetly but it was noticeable if you had an eye. I still had two payments left on the two-carat when we divorced.

Southern women are different. My first trip to Alabama was to get away from the project I was working in Chicago. I really didn’t like it there. Honestly, other than ‘somewhere in the South’, I had no idea where Alabama was. I was there to work at a plant where they manufacture the catalysts for automotive catalytic convertors.

Catalysts – the insert, not the entire, enclosed unit – look like over-sized hornets nests about the size of a brick in a house. Other than the chemicals and trace metals that remove the toxicity, they are made with a very fine sand. The plant is kept as clean as possible but there is constantly a fine dust in the air. The production employees are provided full-body, white disposable jumpsuits to protect their clothes and skin.

The first time I walked through the plant, I was amazed. Everywhere I looked was a woman in white from the neck down and fully made up and coiffed from the neck up. In a dusty production environment, these women very much cared about their appearance. The B-B, R-N, 2-C Ex… let’s call her, “Belle”, works at that plant. Though not as a production worker. Let’s say you could find her a lot quicker looking from the top down than the bottom up. I married well.

Yes, the South has its fair share of Trailer Trash, Wal-Martians and the Southern women that the Bravo channel loves to glorify, like Honey Boo-Boo, Hill-billy Hand-fishing, Wedding Dress Adventures and the ones trying to build a four-wheeler mud bog track.

But there are others…

You might need some translating: “Momanem” is your parents, “Meemaw” is your grandma and she did not use “Duke’s” mayonnaise. We have to go to the hospital because, “your daddy done fell out of the deer stand again”. Also, the greatest football team is NOT Clemson, it is the Alabama Crimson Tide.

You will never find a more patriotic American than a Southerner. But it IS a different country down here from the rest of the United States. Some of y’all may have already seen my piece about Southern Pride from the website. Click here: Southern Pride.

I have a new FaceBook “friend”. She is from Alabama originally but has lived in the Chicago area for many years, married to a former boss of mine when I lived up there. I found it very interesting looking through her posted photos taken with her northern friends. Looking at one of these pictures, a blind man from forty paces away could have picked her out, she is so obviously Southern.

It’s everyday pride in appearance, hair, nails, make-up and matching baubles that makes a Southern woman a Southern woman. And “Belle”, the bleached-blonde, red-nailed, two-carat, squander-a-fortune-at-Christmas Ex, was all of that.



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