I Still Believe In Traditional Southern Values

I Still Believe In Traditional Southern Values

Pearls and manners never go out of style.
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"It really bothers me when people don't use coasters. Particularly on my table." Reese Witherspoon said it best. Using coasters is a sign of respect to one's furniture and to a host in general. In the South, respect is a value we hold in high regard.

The South is not just a place to live. It's a way of life. We are known for our strong accents and even stronger values. To some, these values may be outdated or too conservative, but to me, these values are what have always guided my life. I still believe in traditional southern values, and there is nothing wrong with that.

While the South values many things, respect is generally at the top of that list. I believe in holding open doors, blessing people when they sneeze, and saying "excuse me" when you pass by someone. I believe saying "please" and "thank you" should be a habit. There is no such thing as being too polite in the South. And yes, Reese, I believe in using coasters. I believe that "yes ma'am" and "yes sir" should be used when answering someone, regardless of age. Everyone deserves respect. With that being said, I also believe that you should always respect one's opinion, even if it differs from your own. There are inevitably people out there who disagree with the values I believe in, and that is just fine. That doesn't mean one of us is better than the other; it simply means we are different.

In the South, family is of utmost importance. Family isn't just some people you see once a year or who you can't wait to get away from. Family is the people you love unconditionally, the ones you'd do anything for. I believe in having supper at the table and telling each other about your days. This means without cell phones. Here in the South, cell phones at the supper table is definitely against the rules. I also believe in spending quality time with your family, even if it means staying in to watch movies with them instead of going out with your friends on a Saturday night. I believe in coming home from college for your daddy's birthday and your sister's prom. Family is everything.

I believe summer is for chasing lightning bugs and running around barefooted. Nothing beats ice cream cranked out on a front porch. I believe in praying before meals and being in a pew on Sunday morning. God is good. I believe that there is none better than the SEC, and I believe in working hard for what you want. I believe in lending a helping hand to anyone who needs it, regardless of the situation. I believe in picking a lady up for a date, and I believe in asking her daddy for her hand in marraige. I think white pants shouldn't be worn after Labor Day, and I think pearls and manners never go out of style. Whether you're from Tennessee or Mississippi, these values ring true. Down here south of the Mason-Dixon, the tea is sweet but the people are sweeter.

God knew what He was doing when He put me in the South. These traditional southern values will always be a part of me. And I will always ask about your momma and them.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/dazon_blue/sets/72157621923019511/

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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I Thought I Was Invincible But Then I Tore My ACL

i had to fall to get back up again

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Track has been my favorite hobby since I was in elementary school. Nothing could compare to the wind rustling through my hair as I ran, the sun shining down on me, the feeling of complete bliss and accomplishment as I crossed the finish line. Every spring, I lay in wait for the elementary track meet where I would prove I was the fastest girl in my grade (there was only two of us, so winning didn't really prove anything). Every race was a chance for me to do better–to become better.

High school rolled around and I was still as committed to track as I was when I was eight. The season was going well and I was on my way to do big things. The only thing on my mind was state; I didn't even think about the possibility of injury. The sprint relay came along, and like always, I passed all the competition with alarming speed and grace. My pride swelled with each distant cheer from my teammates and friends. It was just about time to hand off to my second leg when things went horribly wrong. I ran up on my teammate which caused me to step out of my lane. Panicking, I pulled my leg back into my lane and stopped. I heard a loud POP! and I went down in searing pain. My coach and other teammates ran up to me after the race was finished to help me off the track.

My coach couldn't determine what was wrong with me, so I hobbled over to our setup to rest until my next event. I ran the 800 relay with none of my former grace and ease, but I finished and help qualify my team for the area. That's when my life turned upside down. I went from being a regional qualifier to not being able to run in a matter of minutes, and I didn't know how to contain myself. This sparked months of rage and despair which made it hard for others to be around me.

Eventually, I started to realize that my sports career wasn't the only trait I possessed that made me unique. There were so many extracurriculars I was able to invest my time in when I wasn't able to do sports. It took some time, but I realized that my identity doesn't come from the organizations I'm a part of, but the type of person I am. Through my recovery time, I was able to get to know myself and rediscover some old hobbies, like reading. I was also equipped with the knowledge that good things don't come effortlessly. Instead, I have to fight for the things I desire.

The most important lesson I learned from tearing my ACL was this: I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined. My determination to overcome this set back showed me a type of resilience and persistence I never knew I possessed. I am strong, not because of my physical abilities, rather, my mental capabilities. These are the few lessons I hold in my heart as I finish up this year's track season. Events didn't play out the way I imagined but I'm thankful for every opportunity I've had to do what I love.

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