Yesterday, Little Rock came down with a case of freezing rain and sleet – like the kind that closes schools and sends even this native Iowan back to the shelter of her hotel room. I finally made it out of the hotel and down the street for some dinner.
“Hello ma’am. What would you like this evening?”
Ma’am. I know it’s a tradition down here in the South – the ma’ams and sirs. I hear them in Texas too. And I love it each and every time I hear it.
Some people say that the tradition is basically “fake it ’til you make it” – and empty formality. And who knows, maybe there are some people who say it that way. But I don’t hear it as empty…
When someone calls me ma’am, I feel respected. I feel noticed. I feel like someone has taken the time to add the formality…for me. And I find that I always want to be just as respectful and friendly back.
I have smiled, said thank you, engaged in friendly chit-chat, complimented, and referred to people by their well-earned titles since I moved to Texas – and even more since I arrived in Little Rock. I carry on conversations long enough to actually learn (and remember!) the names of even the drive-thru window attendant at the fast food restaurants I’ve frequented on my recent road trips.
Who knew the power of one little word…or two words and an apostrophe 😉