By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News
NORTH JEFFERSON —
There are a few family traditions that just should not be messed with. Around our family, we all love to talk about the Southern Women’s Show. Since my youngest years, I can remember all of the women in our family loading up in a minivan and heading out to the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center to get bags full of coupons and food samples.
My grandma, aunts, cousins, mom and sister all made yearly plans to attend this event which never failed to leave us with a story or two when we got home.
One of our favorites is the time that the Red Diamond Tea and Coffee booth was set up like a ‘50s diner. My grandma and her sister — Aunt Margaret to us — danced themselves silly with the cute little soda jerk who was all too willing to make a couple of old ladies smile. We still do those dance moves when the spirit moves us around the house, just to make each other laugh.
Times have changed since those days and many life events have separated pieces of the family, but one thing has been a constant — my sister, Angie, and I have always found a way to hit up the show for a girls’ day (or night). This always included my mom, until she and my dad became missionaries five years ago.
When they answered the call to go to India, they set the dates for them to regularly leave for that fine country during September, which successfully made mom miss the last five Southern Women’s Shows. This year, my parents plan to take a second trip to India in March, so they were able to delay leaving for a few weeks this time, which meant that mom was finally going to get to experience another Southern Women’s Show with her two favorite daughters (her only two daughters, I might add).
We made the plans weeks in advance, almost giddy to get to all go together. When we arrived, it was just like it’s been for as long as I can remember, with the booths set up the same and some of the familiar faces you see every year.
No, there weren’t any ‘50s diner setups to show off my mom’s amazing dance moves, but somehow we always manage to attend the show during the “firemen’s parade of nakedness for a cause” — no, that’s not what it’s actually called, but when women are sticking dollar bills into men’s pants while they dance in front of them, I’d pretty much be safe in calling it that.
In years past I have not been disappointed at all in the fact that this show took place as I was shopping — ah yes, the single girl’s life has so many advantages (said in my most sarcastic tone). But this year I attended the show as a married woman, so we were among the very few women who continued shopping during the performances. I still sang along with the music, and I can guarantee I was bobbing my head while lip synching, but I didn’t participate in watching the show, which seemed to be a surprise to some of the booth workers.
One lady said, “And just why aren’t you ladies watching the show? You know that’s why everyone comes tonight!”
My reply was, “Well, those firemen don’t have anything on my smokin’ hot husband....” She laughed and said that she wished more women felt like that about their husbands — of course right after she said that, with wedding ring on hand, she stared and drooled at the stage as I finished shopping at her booth.
Since I didn’t get the opportunity to embarrass my mom at the dance stage as I had in years past, I had to make up for it in other ways like asking for her to get a double helping of wine from a booth. (My mother has never, and will never, even taste alcohol, so she was mortified that I had messed with her to this end.)
The tradition of the Southern Women’s Show doesn’t usually bring about a great deal of bargains that we just couldn’t live without. It doesn’t usually open our eyes to products that we never would have seen had we not come. But it does always help us make new memories and give us time to reconnect.
I am incredibly close to my mom and sister and count them as my closest friends, and this is just one way that we make time for each other to cultivate our relationship and make a deeper connection to each other. Perhaps next year I won’t find any way to embarrass my family, but I’m betting I can find some way to make my mom roll her eyes at me and make my sister walk away. Gotta love the crazy member of the family!