Let's talk relatives.
Mine are pioneer stock. Life's hardships--Relief Society callings, cow milkings and keeping journals that will inspire posterity to good works--have turned them into an even-keeled, responsible, self-effacing lot. There is hope, however; our rising generation includes a couple jailbirds.
You might think I have nothing to regret, surrounded by people so nice and normal that we can clear out and sell the family house without a single dramatic outburst. But I once read Florence King's Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, laughed myself silly and, upon closing the book, regretted that we had no crazies in the family line. Why couldn't Mother throw a fit about a ruined hat once in a while?
Miss King had her aunt Evelyn, who once believed that her womb had fallen out. Southern women, King explained, nurse a preoccupation with their wombs, part of their frail-and-delicate act. Southerners, she further explained, are pre-Copernican. Copernicus, you will recall, is the guy that told us the sun does not revolve around the earth, but the earth around the sun. So Southerners, as pre-Copernicans, do their best to make the world revolve around them. Thus, all their vapors and their Aunt Evelyns.
You can skip the chapter on their sex lives, if that isn't your tall glass of ice tea, and there will still be plenty of Southern craziness to keep you entertained.
As for Southern food, in all my years of subscribing to Taste of Home, I noticed that all the recipes submitted by readers from Tennessee, Georgia and the like contained Cool Whip or pudding, or cooked in the "icebox" or on the grill. Must be too hot to turn on an oven down there.
Here's a dessert that shouldn't make you wilt in the kitchen:
Layered Banana Pineapple Dessert