Birthday's, Southern traditions and Hula Hoops
Hailing from the South, birthday rituals down here are like
no where else on Earth. As sure as sittin' on the back porch
sippin' a refreshing glass of sweet tea after three helpins' of
fried chicken, cornbread and all the fix-ins' are pure Southern, so are the rights of the male Southerner on his birthday. We Southerners are a proud bunch and it's well- known that we are steeped in tradition. Many factors come into play when we celebrate this dubious and gallant affair such as age, physical prowess and most importantly, if the recipient is the first to carry on his family lineage. Our elders, long ago set in stone guidelines to moderate this auspicious occasion and this is the official itinerary for a birthday celebration down in the land of cotton. First, the elders get together before hand and discuss the menu. Most of the time, it's just plain sticking a pig in the ground, a mess of greens and if in season a vine ripe watermelon. Second, they correlate the live entertainment, always hoping to get the likes of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Roy Acuff or Ray's boyhood idol, Little Jimmy Dickens to whip the crowed into a frenzy. Next up, is of course the Dosey- Doe. When the band kicks in, it's time to swing that partner round and round, Sadie Hawkins style all the while hoping you don't end up with your cousin Darlene. But, come to think of it, that won't be too bad as we are in the South. Lastly, you end the day's festivities with the partaking of a little "potato squeezings" from your Uncle Ned's still. All in all, it's as natural as having a Marlboro red after Reverend Smith finished his sermon on a Sunday afternoon. But, this year's annual birthday bash in Ray's honor was held in Philadelphia and I'm quite sure you can already see my dilemma; Where was I going to get
sweet tea, cornbread and fixins' in the North? Not to mention the world- class country entertainment that Ray is so accustomed to. White liquor? "Fugetaboutit" as my Northern brethren would say. Lastly and most importantly- the girls. What am I to do? As I pondered on the great tree of woe, it came to me. I'll appoint Charlie "da Boss" Giovinazzo as head of the entertainment committee. Charlie rolled in with the tenacity of an NFL linebacker combined with the vigor of an 18 year- old on prom night. He single- handedly assembled the boys, made the reservations and of course, brought in the ladies. Not only did he get the girls, but as a surprise to all of us, he had them give Ray a special "Northern howdy" with Hula Hoops. I have to give the ole' tip of the hat to all our Northern brothers for pulling out all the stops in giving Ray a birthday extravaganza for the ages. Many thanks go out to Charlie da Boss, Uncle Bradley, Frankie B, Jimmy the Pump and John DeSilva. This was a celebration we can tell the grandchildren about. But, I'm still puzzled- Where did the boys get Ray a barbecue rib- flavoured cheese cake? Only in the North.....