Well, bless your heart! I heard that expression so many times growing up as a child that I thought my heart would explode from all the blessings being bestowed upon me. Now, as an adult, I realize all those blessings maybe weren’t even blessings after all.
Welcome to the nuances of southern expression. This is a land where “bless your heart” really can mean “bless your heart” or it can mean “you deserve everything you’ve got coming to you but I don’t want to say that because I’m a polite southerner so … bless your heart!” Or it can mean “you’re so ignorant; and I could try and explain it to you but you probably wouldn’t understand it anyway so … bless your heart!”
And the list goes on and on.
You’ve probably heard a mother or a grandmother say “Hush your mouth” when trying to get a child to quieten down. Well, one of my mother’s favorite expressions is, “well hush MY mouth” which she says to herself! It’s what you would say when you’ve seen or heard something that you don’t know how to respond to ( or maybe you know what you want to say but know you shouldn’t say it ) so you just say “well hush my mouth!”
I’ve put my own little spin on that expression. Around my house I say, “well shut my mouth and feed me a biscuit!” Which, of course, is a ridiculous saying because you can’t shut my mouth and feed me a biscuit at the same time. But it always makes my husband smile anytime I say it.
One of my all time favorite expressions is “sounds to me like you’re planting corn and expecting cotton!” You’d be surprised how many situations that saying can cover – from when a person is going about something all wrong or they’re expecting too much or even if they’re just acting plumb crazy. Throwing “plumb” in front of a word is another southern thing: plumb crazy, plumb stupid, plumb angry – you name it.
Winston Churchill once said, “The most beautiful voice in the world is that of an educated Southern woman.”
To which said Southern woman no doubt replied, “Goodness gracious; I do declare! Thank you kindly, Sir.”
Well, bless her heart.