This week as I have moved off the sofa and out the door, I stopped by the post office on a round of errands and mailed a couple of small packages to friends. Just a little surprise.
In college that little surprise gift was called a "sercy." I didn't know that word until my freshman year. And I'm still not sure how you spell it. I never saw it written down. But I'd hear a shriek of delight every now and then, "Oh, I got a sercy!" Or, even better, I'd hear, "I brought you a little sercy from my vacation." Yes. It's fun to be on the receiving end.
A sercy is just a small gift—even a tiny one—given for no particular reason. No special occasion. Not given as a thank you or a get well gift. Just an unexpected little treat. It might be a favorite candy bar. Or, maybe a jar of pepper jelly picked up at a farm stand. Last year I got a jar of sorghum when I met up with a friend at a knitting retreat. Perfect sercy for me! It certainly doesn't have to be edible. It might be a cute notepad or even some fun socks.
Now, my question for you today is about the word itself. It might be spelled some other way--any way you can do it phonetically seems to be acceptable. But I'm wondering if the word is purely a Southern thing. If you do a google search for the word, one site you'll find is this one from the Georgia Gardener. One of the replies to his post included this:
I’m from NJ and my first thought when I received a sercy was “OK, so what do they want from me?” Nothing is the answer; it’s a no-strings-attached, feel good gesture to give one just to make someone smile. I love the South.”Or, maybe you have a similar tradition with a different name. Tell me. And maybe this week, we'll all give a sercy to someone who might least expect it.