Friday, April 16, 2010

A Steel Magnolia Is Laid to Rest

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I am not being sarcastic or amusing in the least when I say I am grieving. My eyes are a little moist as I replay the famous speeches that have come to represent so much of who I am. I can't say I've given such passionate speeches (of course those on the receiving end may say differently). I would never say I was completely a Julia Sugarbaker. I believe most of us "Steel Magnolias" would say we were at best a combination of the four ladies of Designing Women.

But as Dixie Carter passed away this past Saturday, after a vicious battle with cancer, I am saddened. I felt a kindred spirit with her for being called "Dixie". They say, there's something in a name. When you hear the name Dixie, whether its a German Shepherd (honestly, I don't think a small dog with a yappy bark could live up to the name.  If you have a yorkie or shnauzer named Dixie, please don't tell me about it, just go change it now), a bag of sugar, or a location, you know what to expect. You've encountered something or someone who has a colorful heritage, a stately yet genteel carriage, who has generally been through a battle or two, and yet has survived stronger than ever and when necessry, will let you know about it!

Which is why I am proud to be named Dixie. My Paternal Grandmother's maiden name was Dix.  She was born and raised somewhere in South Ga where the Dix name is still something to be proud of. Despite the ridicule, due to a narrow-minded, overly offensive, sex-centered media the Dix name in parts of South Georgia represent loyal, hard-workers and people who have indeed fought and won their own personal battles.

Therefore, my mother, the good woman who believed in "family" names placed Dixie at the beginning, Leanne in the middle and somehow decided I would be called by the latter.  In school when the teacher mistakenly called for "Dixie" the children would laugh. I would proudly raise my hand and sometimes I would correct her, sometimes I didn't. The boy next to me who went by Christoper but whose first name was "Francis", didn't have it so lucky.

Although they laughed, the children waited until recess when they would come say "I didn't know your name was Dixie! That's cool. Can we call you Dixie?" And they always did, at least for a few weeks.  I wanted to call my daughter Dixie. I knew she would live up to the name.  And as I've already shared, she does.  Its not her name, but it is definitely her spirit.  I now have a precious namesake niece.  She is only two, but she lives out that Dixie spirit with every fiber (Careful, Mom!)

Today, I have a small group of friends that call me Dixie (or even Miss Dixie, which makes me almost spill my mint julep down the front of my dress!)  I was overwhelmed with joy when my nieces and nephews started calling me "Aunt Dixie."  If I'm ever published, excuse me, when I am published, look for Dixie Branch on the cover.

Mrs. Dixie Carter, you  fought a good fight. You lived a life well. Thank you for the stamp on my life.

I'm closing with two clips. They are funny, yet they touch me deeply because down here, we mask our feelings and the truth with lots of humor (actually that's true anywhere, I bet). If you've only got time for a short clip, watch the 2nd, you won't be sorry. If you can stay for three minutes, watch them both. 

No matter where you're from, there's a little Julia in us all.






39 comments:

  1. oh i didn't know she passed.

    also. i'm calling you dixie from now on.

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  2. Yes it is so sad. She fit the name Dixie as do you! I am soooo calling you that from now on!

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  3. Wow!! What a beautiful and moving post! Be proud of your name and heritage!

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  4. Saturday at a family gathering I said to a group of cousins, "We don't hide our crazy people in the attic...it's the South, we sit 'em out on the front porch for everyone to see." When I saw the next day that she had passed it was like I had lost a member of my own family. And yes, I think we have a little Julia, Mary Jo, Charlene, Suzanne and even Berniece in all of us. Thank you Miss Dixie - both of you.

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  5. You know what? I was staying at a 5 star hotel in Portland, OR one random rainy weekend eons ago and who should come walking through the doors of my hotel? Dixie Clark! I still feel all aflutter just remembering that brush with celebrityness.

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  6. Love, Love, Love the clips! I wish I could be more like Julia Sugarbaker sometimes.....telling it like it is with grace and courage!

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  7. In my 20s, I was director of PR for the TN Arts Commission. We had a little Governor's event at this fancy hotel downtown where a couple of important people came forward to stress the importance of the arts in govt. funding. Dixie Carter flew in just for the event. It was a small event so it was like spending the afternoon with a star, even though she didn't really speak to any of us personally. She was such a tiny, beautiful woman...and very gracious. I felt fortunate to even be in her presence for part of the day!

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  8. What a great post! I just got an email in my inbox my our alma mater entitled "In Memoriam of Dixie Virginia Cater 1940-2010" and I got misty all over again. The South has a lost one of its finest.

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  9. oh my goodness, thank you for my afternoon tear shed! we loved ms dixie carter and all of her "gumption." the south lost a wonderful woman indeed, i'm sure you live up to her name! have a wonderful weekend.
    hugs from the nations capital
    shelley and sarah

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  10. Thanks for this post, such a fitting tribute. Dixie Carter will always be an icon. We don't see enough strong, opinionated, free-thinking Southern women in the media anymore. She was a treasure and will be dearly missed.

    *tear*

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  11. I was so sad to hear about her death, too. Dixie Carter was a great southern woman. I wanted to be Julia Sugarbaker when I was little and to be able to speak my mind as eloquently as she did.

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  12. Well I do declare Miss Dixie, what a nice post!

    Regarding Schnauzers, if you read my post back in March of 09 called 'The Baby'. It just might change your mind on the breed...

    Dixie would have been a good name for him, had he been a girl! :)

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  13. Loved Dixie Carter and was sorry to hear of her passing.

    Dixie is a great name!

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  14. I loved, loved, loved Designing Women. LOVED it. I agree, I think most of us are a combination of all four! Over from SITS..

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  15. I never watched that show but I did see in the paper she died and I felt bad. I always feel sad to learn of people who lost their battle with Cancer and hope I will not be one of them too. I liked that 2nd clip--very funny!

    Stopping by from SITS.

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  16. Dixie, what a great name :)
    Stopping by from SITS by the way! :)

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  17. Stopping by from Friday Follow to say hello and give a big hug to a Sweet Southern Belle from me, another Southern Belle! Yes, Dixie will be sorely missed for sure. Happy Friday and have a great weekend! Big hugs! :o)

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  18. Happy Follow Friday!

    I'm your newest follower!

    Love your blog!! Omg...your kids are EXACTLY the same ages of mine!! How cool is that!!!

    Hopefully you can follow me back!!

    Have a great weekend!

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  19. Loved dixie carter. I am stopping by from follow friday. loved the title of your blog and had to stop by. we are found at www.caiafacraziness.com

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  20. I loved Dixie. Absolutely loved her. And I love you even more for being a Dixie, too.

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  21. I'm mourning for her too. That show is one of my favorites. And I never forget a strong woman like Dixie Carter.

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  22. Beautiful Tribute! Lovely. It is nice to see you part of Friday Follow! Have a wonderful weekend. Rita @ One 2 Try.

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  23. Stopping by from Friday Follow! I hope you will follow back! Have a great weekend!

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  24. Hi there! Found you on FF. I am soo sad over dixie! I grew up in the south and she was a true southern lady. Love your blog, I'm following!!!

    Please join us at
    http://inspiredgiftsblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/friday-follow.html

    Have a beautiful day!
    Rebecca

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  25. BEAUTIFUL post, I loved watching her.

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  26. I love Dixie. Beautiful Tribute and a Beautiful post too. HAVE A FAB WEEKEND!!!

    Gina
    Visit my blog at http://motherof1princessand2princes.blogspot.com

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  27. Hello! Just Followed you From Friday Follow :D

    Please consider following my blog at: http://ahuskyhaven.blogspot.com/

    Have a great weekend!

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  28. Great post and a great tribute for a great lady.

    I am glad you are proud of your name. It carries a lot of history, a lot of elegance and a lot of spunk!

    Have a great weekend!

    Hugs!

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  29. We loved Designing Women! May Dixie Carter rest in peace!
    Hopped over from Friday Follow.

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  30. Hi :) Stopping by via Friday Follow. Hope you have a great weekend! Feel free to visit my blog sometime.
    http://www.honoringtheking.com

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  31. LOVE the name of your blog..your newest follower thru Friday Follow..hope you're having a great weekend!

    http://boobiesbabiesblog.blogspot.com

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  32. <3 <3 <3

    Grew up watching "Designing Women". I hope to one day make a speech that some how reminiscent of her. :)

    Saw this and thought of you: http://www.amazon.com/Will-Jesus-Buy-Me-Double-Wide/dp/0310292506/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271516878&sr=8-1

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  33. Wonderful tribute to an amazing Southern Lady.

    I love the second clip, and remember it well. I think it's funny because it's so true! I've got plenty of crazy people on both sides of my family, too; and yes, we bring 'em right on out in the parlor. We are not ashamed of them; they add color to our lives!

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  34. Oh no. I want to cry. I just got goosebumps. I didn't know :(

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