Lee St. John, a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, is a #1 Amazon ranked humorous author. Look for her on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeStJohnauthor), and on her blog at www.leestjohnauthor.com. Her new release, “SHE’S A KEEPER! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess” can be found on Amazon.com.

My neighborhood has a Sunshine Committee. My school had one, too. The intent of the Sunshine Committee “gifts” is to provide a small token of esteem and consideration when faculty members/neighbors are celebrating a happy occasion or facing a challenging time in their lives. I was once the captain of the neighborhood group. To learn about our residents’ concerns, needs, or happy events, I asked for 12 volunteer co-captains of various ages, interests, and different address locations throughout my community so that we might hear about where our committee was most needed in our growing neighborhood.
Another reason for 12 co-captains was to have each lady only be “in charge” (personally responsible) for one month of their choosing throughout the year. I just kept the machine running during the year by little reminders about their volunteer commitment. These co-captains in turn had a sign-up list of residents who offered their services and were willing to look after any of their near-by residents during especially trying times. With the 13 of us listening out to help others, we covered the ‘hood pretty well.
Over the years when I signed up to cook an entire meal for someone and as I dropped it off, when the homeowner answered the door, I heard, “You are so sweet to do this…blah, blah, blah.”
I am not sweet! I may be nice, considerate, kind, friendly, welcoming, courteous, gracious, helpful, or well-mannered (no, I am not that either – I mean as a Southern Belle I know better but I step over the line sometimes), but I am certainly not sweet! And I would say so immediately after I received that compliment, which took the receiver of my kind-heartedness aback. I would say, “I am not sweet.”
Now let me tell you what sweet stereotypically is: Someone who is good-natured. They are generally upbeat. They are admired. They are amiable, pleasant, and genial but are often naive individuals who can be something of a pushover and rarely stands up for oneself. And sometimes icky sweet people make me sick. Just like real sweets to eat, how much can one take and how can someone be that good and perfect all the time? Yuk!
So I stop that idea of being sweet in its tracks. Because let me tell you who is sweet: Rose Nyland from the “Golden Girls” TV show. You can’t help but love, Love, LOVE her but, I swear, the rest of her roommates could really run all over her. Am I right? Luckily for her, she didn’t always know it (is that another description of sweet?).
I’d rather be nice. I think nice is the same as sweet without the ‘run-over part’, or a cheerful-disposition-all-the-time part, or maybe even a stupidly-happy-part. I wish I could use the other Betty White performance as Sue Ann Nivens as the nice personality. Although “…Sue Ann presented an image of a sweet, perfect wife and homemaker on-screen, she was actually sardonic, man-obsessed, and very competitive, with a tumultuous home life off-screen. Always with her trademark dimpled smile, she was cruel and snide toward people she did not like or considered a threat.” Wikipedia
I am not that gal either but at least they made her as real as possible for a fictional character.
As a wordsmith, communication matters. Using the right words matter. Description matters. And I am telling you for the last time, don’t ever call me sweet. I am not sweet.