Strawberry Cupcakes, The Southern Rule of Beauty, and (Keri) Strug

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

It was the middle of November and I found myself on a rooftop bar of a BBQ joint at a baby shower for a hairdresser who cuts hair in the chair next to my own hairdresser. A friend of a friend kind of situation. Truth be told I didn't even know her name at the time as I hugged her and congratulated her on her fertility.

Now because my own mother taught me well, I did show up with homemade cupcakes as I wasn't about to push my baby fashion beliefs on this first time mother. Why shouldn't we let newborns wear Ralph Lauren?

Not sure what the scene was going to be I enticed my Primary Southern Gays to join me with the possibly of wings and beer. As we settled into a cozy corner four top and placed our orders we were soon joined by my own Hairdresser. Being of a smaller stature she had to get a running start across the bar before pulling a full Keri Strug, making a perfect landing on the bar stool.

Introductions were made and with that her full confession of how much beer and whiskey she had already consumed. Trying to determine how much of my time I should dedicate to this party I began to prod Hairdresser with a Who's Who of the guest list. Unlike most baby showers I've attended this one was well mixed with both men and women. Some family were there. Some friends. Some clients. It was at this point Hairdresser said with eyes as wide as a heifer giving birth to twins, "Oh my God! My momma is coming and you have to meet her! She's looks like a skinny Paula Dean but with enormous boobs! No, seriously. She's had reductions done twice and they are still enormous!"

How can you not be excited to meet someone when their own kin describes them as such?

And as if cued by a stage hand, Hairdresser's Momma (HM) appeared at the top of the stairs. I should say her breasts appeared at the top of the stairs. She actually arrived about 10 minutes later, baby gift in tow.

After HM made her rounds she pulled up a bar stool and got to kibitzing with us. We talked beer. We talked babies. We talked about our haunted homes. Basically we became best friends.

Naturally it didn't take long for us to get around to the topic of death. What better topic to cover when at a baby shower? Hairdresser told her Momma about my own mother's forethought to help me find a Jewish cemetery after I had converted. At this Hairdresser's Momma began to tell us about her own mothers passing. And the preparative events that took place before her demise.

First let me say that of all the Southern women I have met, concern about ones appearance trumps all of life's needs. There is a level of gloss that is expected to be met and anything but will only spur the gossip beast that roams all church functions.

Now Hairdresser's Momma Momma (HMM) was no exception to the Southern Rule of Beauty. One day years ago while HM was over visiting her mother she was summoned by her mother to join her in the bedroom. When she walked in, HM didn't see her mother.

Calling out, "Momma where are you?!"

She was greeted by her mother as she stepped out of the closet in a new dress, makeup and hair fully done to complete the outfit. HM complimented her mother on the beautiful new dress. HMM thanked her and then proceeded to crawl onto the bed, lay down, hands clasped gently across her chest, eyes closed.

"Momma what are you doin'?"

"I saw this dress at the mall and thought it might be a good funeral dress. Now walk on up next to me like you're payin' respect and tell me if I look good."