Life can be really confusing at times, but there are circumstances where we bring it on ourselves. We use words that have multiple meanings with the same spelling: tea, shower, scale, windy, read, above… Or the words sounds the same with different meanings: two, to, or too; and their, there, or they’re.
Just the other day, my daughter and I were driving to a bridal tea for a young lady marrying my nephew. In all seriousness, she ask, “What type tea do you think they’ll have? Hot or cold?” My first response was uproarish laughter all the while she asked what was so funny. When I could finally talk, I had to explain that a “tea” in this instance was not referring to the drink but to an event. Then the discussion drifted to the difference between ‘Tea’s’ and ‘Showers.’ It was a good thing we were not headed to a shower because she would have brought a towel.
So here presents the quandary of this blog post. What's common knowledge for me, I assume in my writing is common knowledge for all. Yet something so simple for me might not be simple for someone trying to read my work. Southernism comes into play throughout my writing, and I have to remember that the reader shouldn’t have to be Southern to understand the story.
Those of you that have now paused in the midst of reading this blog to pull an internet search on the difference between a Bridal Tea versus a Bridal Shower are probably still confused as to my true definition of the event. I ran a search myself and did not find anything that described that specific Bridal Tea. So here it is: In the Deep South (i.e. North Alabama), a Bridal Tea at a local church is understood by all adult women from that community to be an event where the presents are opened and displayed, but the attendee’s do not sit around and watch the bride-to-be open said presents. The attendees are not expected to stay the full 2-hours of the tea. Now mind you, that only applies if it’s at the local church and in my community. The definition could easily change if the location does.
My point to all this rambling is that communities can have inter-customs that are not clearly understood by outsiders, but the fun part in writing is to expose those different customs drawing the reader in to become part of the family.
A rose by any other name… is still a rose - not so true for other things. What are some play on words or unique customs where you live?