Bless Your Heart

Southern-style mansion with columns

My future mother-in-law showed up at the bridal salon forty minutes late, reeking of Blanton’s. Our eyes met in the paneled mirror of the dressing area: mine wide, hers red.

“You’re wearing white? Well bless your heart,” she said.

“So what did she say?” my fiancé asked that night in bed.

“Bless your heart,” I told him. “That’s good, isn’t it?”

It isn’t, I discovered when we moved to Georgia two years later. My mother-in-law now lived close enough to pop her head in my kitchen at will.

“Sweet potato pie,” she said, showing up drunk for dinner. Again. “Did you get that recipe online? Bless your heart.”

Two more years, three hundred recipes. I picked up the drawl, I mastered peach pie. I could brew a mint julep like Faulkner’s ghost.

I caught her in the kitchen pouring a fourth. I smirked. “Well, well. Enjoying my julep? Bless your heart.”

151 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or submit your own, click here.

I have to confess this might be one of my least favorite stories. I wanted to have some fun with the iconic loaded southern saying “Bless your heart”, which more often than not means something very different than the words imply. I wasn’t sure how to get across the different nuances in such a short word count. I also have to confess that my head is deep in the revisions of my third novel and it was tough to shift gears. But here I am, and in the spirit of abandoning any pretense of good storytelling, I humbly offer my contribution to Pegman this week. Bless my heart.

But, I am looking forward to reading all of yours!

Cheers and thanks for reading.

37 Comments

  1. Despite your hurdles you produced a cute story. And I’m no stranger when it comes to blessing my heart so I gotcha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, yeah! It’s hard to think of a saying as loaded as that one. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Usually it’s a way of softening a brutal insult. “Bless her heart, she never could hold her liquor.” and so forth. I like the language in this, though. It’s easy to get carried away with Faulknerese!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are many ways to wield it. My former mother in law (who was sober, by the way, and a really lovely woman) had a thousand different ways to say it. Sometimes it meant just the opposite. Sometimes she used it to delivered subtle and complex appraisals and observations. And every now and then, she really meant “Bless your heart”. At least I think so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, no doubt. A useful expression indeed!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s one of those comment which immediately gets my hackles up. I think you got the nuances really well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading and your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You say you aren’t very happy with this story, but I think it’s hilarious. I love your dry humour and wordplay. The contrast of the eyes “mine wide, hers red” is delightful.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve just read your story to my wife. She laughed out loud. It takes an outstanding piece of writing to accomplish that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am beyond delighted to hear that. Penny you made my day!

      Like

  6. I really enjoyed your story. Not long ago, I was watching a movie (or tv show?) when one of the characters explained that “Bless your heart” really means “F____ you,” so I found the story quite funny. We don’t say “Bless your heart” in Minnesota. Sometimes, though, we might say “well, that’s different” to mean “That’s weird, and not in a good way.” “Oh, I see you got a new dress, dear. Well, that’s different!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When asked ‘What’d you think of this?’ I’m likely to say, ‘Yea, different,’ when I don’t want to blatantly admit that it’s awful. But that’s only with people who are too up themselves. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That is interesting, I’m think you are not from the states either (am I right?).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. UK. norfolk. Where the winds blow a hooligan straight from \siberia. I live on the coast. Winter is windy season 🙂
        All the photos I post are taken within 50 miles of home.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh neat. Nice to get a sense of your corner of the world!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I often add a little local history to the photos. As with the Wednesday CCC I’ll give snippets regarding the setting. This last week (the hill crest) overlooks the Iceni ‘town’ of Venta Icenorum. I won’t say Boudicca every stepped there; it post-dates her rebellion. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I think I read that same story or saw the same show! I live pretty close to Minnesota but I am not familiar with “that’s different”. I’m going to have to listen to my Minnesota neighbors more carefully!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It might have been “Sharp Objects.” Did you see it?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! I’ll bet you’re right.

        Like

  7. I’d say you got it across; I could hear the sarcasm in every blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I’m glad it worked for you! Thanks for reading & I hope you’re considering sharing one of your lovely stories with us this week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed it too. Theres lots of sweet ways to say not so savory things down here in the South. I think direct speech is frowned upon to a degree. I have heard lots of people use this expresion when speaking about others not present. Its a way to admit someone’s foibles, but in a more or less affectionate way, basically saying you love them anyway. I havent seen it used as a weapon, but my parents were transplants and my inlaws navy, so I may just not have been privy to such talk. Very fun story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, that’s a perfect example of the utility of that phrase. I have heard that too! Thanks for reading and I’m glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh by the way I cant find the frog code for this linkup. I was able to post but im having trouble reaching the inlinkz page posts and clicking thru to other posts. Both links, the button and the hyperlink on pegman go to the list of blogposts.(instead of the code to make your own button)

    Would you mind checking it out? I reached you and jhardy because I follow you both. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I updated it… Let me know if it works for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes better now thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. There is a lovely lightness to this piece, Karen, and a pace which delivers the punchline as a sucker punch. It’s great. Such a lovely saying which can be used so many ways, and it is, bless your heart!! (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, that is the perfect comment! Glad you liked the story. Thanks for reading, Kelvin. Hope you’re going to join in the fun this week!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am, Karen. I’s been a busy busy weekend, but I have a couple of hours alone tonight while my wife is at an AGM, electing a new chairperson, so I shall get creative. Promise!

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Ha! There could be a small book explaining “bless your heart”. Great piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True that! Maybe even a series 🙂 Thanks for reading, Kelley!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I found this hilarious 🙂 Nice job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! 🙂 Glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

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