The most precisely regulated social order that I’ve experienced was junior high school. The building itself was a forbidding, huge, gray concrete thing with tiny windows and permanent streaks down the sides so that it always looked as if it had been in a drizzle. We had heard that it was originally built as a prison. That made sense.
Southern women are great Marthas and proud of it. Having been raised in this culture, I know that supper in a southern kitchen is a wonder to behold. Those who have traditional southern hospitality refined to an art never sit. They hover. Plates are never allowed to go empty. Guests are continually asked if they need anything.
The family is a funny institution. We make much of being related to each other, of sharing common ancestors, common history, common DNA. We speak of fierce loyalties with phrases like “Blood is thicker than water.” As parents and children, brothers and sisters, we have bonds that go beyond words. We love each other even if we don’t particularly like each other.