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SWAG: Southern Women Aging Gracefully

Melinda Rainey Thompson

John F. Blair, Publisher
$14.95 paperback
5 ½ x 8 ½  
310 pages
Published in 2006

SWAG started as a lark when Melinda Rainey Thompson began a monthly mailing of her humorous essays about ordinary events from a Southern woman's perspective. Over several years, her subscription list grew to nearly 5,000 people in 28 states. Ranging from swimsuit shopping to squirrel battling, from magnolia theft to cemetery etiquette, Melinda Rainey Thompson’s delightful essays and clever lists reflect the everyday peculiarities of life in the South.

Ten Ways to Know if You’re a SWAG:

  1. You feel the urge to bake a pound cake after reading the obituaries.
  2. You have had professional photographs made of your children barefoot and dressed in their Sunday clothes.
  3. You’d rather have a fight with your husband than with your best friend.
  4. You have stolen magnolia leaves, or you know someone who has.
  5. You have monogrammed the middle of your shower curtain.
  6. You could live without Yankees who equate your Southern accent with a low IQ.
  7. You know better than to eat the potato salad at a family reunion.
  8. You are socially conditioned to believe that tanned fat looks better than white fat.
  9. Your children hide their Easter baskets and Valentine’s Day candy from you just in case you have a dieting lapse.
  10. You believe that cocktail dresses do not double as church clothes.


“Reading Melinda Rainey Thompson’s SWAG is like sitting on Granny’s porch swing eating a piece of pound cake with a sleeping cat wrapped around your ankles. You feel full, warm, and, most of all, grateful to be a Southerner.” —Celia Rivenbark, author of We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier
“I received a copy of this book from the publisher and was delighted to see it was written by someone from my hometown (Greenville, Ala.) Melinda Rainey Thompson. I was even more delighted when I actually read the book. It is full of the warmth, sentiment and wry humor of the South I know and love. As a Lifestyles writer for a small-town paper, I get a lot of preview copies of books. Frankly, some of them I never finish or even start. 

Definitely not the case with Melinda's book. One of the great aspects of this collection is you can browse throughout the book and read an essay here or there as time allows . . . keep it on your bed stand at night, in the car to read while waiting in line at the drive-thru, etc. While this is a humorous book (with the author constantly poking fun at herself) there are also some very touching moments, too. You don't have to be a Southern woman to enjoy this, either. Some things like motherhood and trying on bathing suits are just universal! Melinda and I have never met but we have chatted via phone, and it was like we were old friends. You'll feel that way when you read her book. Well recommended and suitable for all ages (no R-rated humor here).” —Angela K. Long, The Greenville Advocate (AL)