The other night at dinner my kids began to ask me questions that started with, “Back in your day…” As in: “Back in your day did they have cars?” Since I felt like saying, “WTF, you guys, how old do you think I am?” was probably poor parenting, I answered in the voice of an old Southern woman who I’ve since named Miss Magnolia.
This delighted the kids. They asked me what I thought when I first saw a pizza. Miss Magnolia answered, “Why, I saw it and thought: someone’s murdered the cake. I mean, it was so flat! And why did it have cheese on it?” They asked what I thought when I first saw a pineapple. “I thought it was a spider! I smashed it, and it made such a mess. And then someone told me I was supposed to eat it!”
Miss Magnolia spoke at length about Hubert. Well, Hubert VI, that is. And his pet turkey. And the corns on his feet. You see, Miss Magnolia is from Hubertville, Alabama. (Not to be confused with Hubbertville.) The first Hubert founded the town, and now no one will speak to Hubert VII because he named his son Edmund.
She also talked about Pop’s, which is where she and her friends used to go for candy and sodas. It was the soda shop. She mentioned that she doesn’t eat dumplings or ravioli because she doesn’t trust food if she doesn’t know what might be inside it. In short, she’s quite the character. The kids have been asking for her, though my youngest son says it is a little weird to hear me talk in such a different voice.
Maybe some day I’ll sketch out a full picture of Miss Magnolia and her little town. It’s been a fun experiment.