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March 01, 2007   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
March 01, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Melinda Rainey Thompson, author of "S.W.A.G. (Southern Women Aging Gracefully)" will highlight the Alabama Farmers Federation's 2007 Women's Conference when she addresses the opening night banquet on Sunday, April 15, at Birmingham's Wynfrey Hotel.

The seminar, held in conjunction with the Federation's annual Farm-City Awards in which Alabama's Farm of Distinction winner is announced, opens with registration beginning at 3 p.m. The opening day will also include a health fair hosted from 3 to 5 p.m., by the staff of St. Vincent's Hospital. At 5:15, "Get to Know You" regional meetings will be held, following by the opening banquet at 6:30 p.m.

A 7 a.m. breakfast buffet will open the session on Monday, April 16, with workshops on travel, accessorizing fashions and "Misconceptions in Agriculture" hosted by Marsha Purcell of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The workshops will be followed at 11:30 a.m. by the Farm-City Awards luncheon. County photos will follow at 1:30 p.m., followed by free time at 2 p.m. The closing night banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. with entertainment by The Lamb Family of Tuscaloosa.

Thompson, who holds a master's degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and taught English and directed the Writing Center at Birmingham-Southern College, actually began "S.W.A.G." as a lark she 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.

In "S.W.A.G.," Thompson covers topics ranging from swimsuit shopping to family reunions to squirrel battles and cemetery etiquette.

Thompson says there are 10 ways to know if you are a "S.W.A.G.". They are:

1. You feel the urge to bake a pound cake after reading the obituaries.

2. You have had a professional photograph made of your children barefoot and dressed in their Sunday clothes.

3. You believe that cocktail dresses do not double as church clothes.

4. You'd rather have a fight with your husband than with your best friend.

5. You have stolen magnolia leaves, or you know someone who has.

6. You have monogrammed the middle of your shower curtain.

7. You could live without Yankees who equate your accent with a low IQ.

8. You know better than to eat the potato salad at a family reunion.

9. You are socially conditioned to believe that tanned fat looks better than white fat.

10. Your children hide their Easter baskets and Valentine's Day candy from you just in case you have a dieting lapse.

Deadline for registration is March 23. For more information or to register for the event, contact: Brittany Daniel at (334) 613-4750.

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