Be proud, it#039;s all in the family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Every family has them. Some families may deny they have them, and others simply won't talk about them.

You know, the certain "eccentric aunt and uncle." The "over-the-top" grandmother. The (in a whispered voice) cousin who "strayed from the law just a little bit."

Yep, every family has them, and not everyone will talk about them.

Except maybe in the South.

While channel surfing the other night, I came across an old episode of Designing Women -- you know -- the show from the '80s that dealt with the lives of four "Southern Belles" and their business. In this episode, Lewis Grizzard played Suzanne and Julia's "eccentric brother," Clayton.

That got me to thinking about another episode where the sisters were afraid (well, at first anyway) to talk with some uppity friends about the varying eccentricities of their family.

In the end, it was Julia who said it best … in a statement I'm sure every true Southerner can identify with … "We don't ask if we have crazy people in our family in the South, we simply ask which side their on."

I think that pretty much sums up families in the South.

I know, I have to go a step further and say that in my family, if you look hard enough, there are some pretty interesting characters.

Not that there are necessarily any "weirdoes," but there are some pretty interesting fellas running through my blood line -- on both sides.

Without divulging too much information, I'll just tell you that I've got some distant cousins, uncles, aunts, and several "great" removed grandparents that were some pretty interesting cards in their time.

Heck, I've even got some not-so-distant folks in the family that have their own little oddities. Of course, we don't call them oddities, we call them "differing opinions."

(OK, not everyone in my family can be right like me all of the time.)

None of them had anything like a third arm, sixth finger, or anything like that, but they led some pretty interesting lives.

I've got one relative on my dad's side of the family that moved out to West and started a school. It's now a college.

On my mom's side, there are several early pioneers in Covington County.

Of course, we've all got family members that we don't talk about … it's just plain human nature … and pride (selfish, in most instances) that keeps us from discussing our "less than upstanding" relatives.

But, that doesn't bother me … I know I'm probably not the "pride" of some of my family members.

And that's the way it should be.

At least down South anyway. We have to have someone to talk about, and it has to be our family. We just don't want anyone else talking about them.

Because that, my friends, would be "fightin' words," and you don't want to get us mad.