BY LEA CHURCH BRENDLE
Years ago, a friend of mine, introduced me to the word “searcy.” For the longest time, I feigned that I understood what she was saying, but I didn’t have a clue. I just smiled and rolled on as I really wasn’t sure why she gave different people a searcy (whatever that was), but she always seemed so happy about it. Heaven forbid I show my ignorance to someone I looked up to.
Before I get into that, a little background about my history. My parents were true Northerners, though our family moved to North Carolina from Minnesota in 1973. We were warmly received into the community, as well as our local church. After all, who doesn’t love a young family with four children that quickly grew to six? I was the oldest of them all (lucky me!). If you are the oldest of many, you understand…but let’s not digress. Despite our Northern roots, we were quickly ingrained in the traditions of the South, including okra, grits, cornbread and the word “y’all.” Our Northern family always thought our little Southern accents were the cutest when we would go back to visit.
Getting back to “searcy,” my parents received immeasurable gifts through the years from the people that were in their community of friends, but mainly, these gifts came in the form of local lore, friendship, potluck invites and black walnut baked goods from precious neighbors. One thing is for sure though, these gifts arrived without any strings attached, or expectation of a thank you note. They were just gifts of kindness and community. In other words, a searcy. A term that is rooted in Southern gentility.
Nonetheless, a searcy never made its way into my vocabulary or life until it happened to me, some 15 years ago. While I don’t remember the particulars, I do recall thinking “What did I do to deserve this?” The fact that my first searcy came from someone who considered me more of a “friend” than a co-worker touched my heart. I had received a gift just for being me. Unexpected and beautiful… a searcy.
I did a little research and found several spellings of the word (sercy, cerci, surcy). There are several potential origins for the term, but all from the South. No matter how you spell it, the definition is the same: an unexpected gift with no strings attached, to show affection, to say this reminded me of you, or I was thinking of you.
It’s quite a wonderful concept, and although most may not have ever even heard the word, they have either experienced it or done it through a “just because” or a “pay it forward” gift or gesture. Who wouldn’t love a little surprise out of the blue? Although the action seems easily done no matter your geographic roots, the word seems right for a true Southerner to use.
Every day at Simply Sterling & Company we help our guests find just the right something to celebrate a birthday, retirement, graduation, anniversary or just something for themselves. But it always gives me an extra special warmth when I can help someone pick out that little treasure to be given to someone that is not expecting it. It’s like I am in on a little secret…and I love it because I am part of a smile or a hug that is going to be given!
Life’s sweetest rewards are most often experienced in the unexpected. So as you go about your days, I hope you will consider being a giver and always a gracious receiver!
Our doors are open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, and all are welcome! Stop in and say hello, sometimes your mere presence is a “searcy” in itself!
We are located in The Village at Robinhood Shopping Center at the intersection of Robinhood and Meadowlark. See you soon! 336-896-0077 simplysterling.com