Thursday, March 3, 2016

Once Upon a Time in the South

As you all know, I was born and raised in the South.  Not just in the South but the heart of the South.  The buckle of the Bible Belt.  I know I don't have to tell y'all (you all) that we have our own way of talking down here.  First off, we just like to talk.  Period.  It's one of our most favorite things to do.  Our words are lively, warm, and descriptive and we use them to connect with each other.  We don't really have to know you to strike up a conversation.  We think it's kind of rude to pass people without, at least, saying, "hey" or sit next to someone on a plane and not ask them where they're from and what they do.  Sure, we may not always feel like adding the "g" to the end of our words and, sometimes, we may put more syllables in their pronunciation than are called for but I guess we just like to squeeze all the good out of them.  Our dialect is a little bit of the present and a little bit of our past.  It's a mix of who we are now and where we've come from.  It's our way of making people feel at ease when they're around us.  Loved and treasured.  Comforted.  Like we're all in this together so we might as well be friends.
       
Today, I decided to write a most brilliant and riveting literary masterpiece which would encapsulate the southern language.  While we don't usually use all the words in a wad like this, you can't come down here and not hear them sprinkled all throughout our conversations.  For those of you who live in other regions, I have included the translations in my work of art.  Who knew I had such a flair for fiction?            

Once upon a time, Suzy and Mary were fixin' (getting ready) to walk to town (a commercial area) to get some cough medicine for Suzy's Mama (Mother) who was sick as a dog (very sick).  She'd been coughing like all get out (really badly) and was making all sorts of racket (noise).  There was a storm coming so they knew they had to hightail it (hurry).  They told Suzy's Mama (Mother) that they'd be back directly (soon) and she reminded them not to act up (misbehave), to mind (use) their manners, and not to go gallivanting (running) all over town (a commercial area). "'I'll hold down the fort (stay here) until y'all (you both) get back," Suzy's Mama (Mother) said.  "Okie Dokey,"(sounds good) they yelled as they left.  They knew there was no time to lollygag (goof off) because they didn't want to be caught by the rain.  Not to mention, they needed to get back with the medicine because they didn't want Suzy's Mama (Mother) to end up in the mergency room (emergency department).

"Let's go this-a-way (take this route)," Mary suggested.  Suzy agreed.  After all, this was their stompin' grounds (neighborhood) and they reckoned (supposed) they knew the shortest way.  Mary started singing a little song as she walked but Suzy reminded her that she couldn't carry a tune in a bucket (was tone deaf) but telling Mary anything was like talking to a brick wall (pointless).  The more Suzy got in a tizzy (upset), the louder Mary sang.  "For crying out loud (ugh), you're as stubborn as a mule (quite stubborn), Mary," Suzy hollered (yelled).  Mary replied, "Who gives a flip (who cares) about what you think, SuzyDon't get your feathers ruffled (upset)!  You're getting too big for your britches (taking yourself too seriously) anyhow,"  Mary said, madder than a wet hen (quite mad).   

Suzy agreed to quit being ugly (mean) and they finally made it to the edge of town (a commercial area).  It was a good thing because the wind was starting to blow and Mary's monogrammed hair bow was all catawampus (crooked).  Suzy spotted the ice cream shop.  "Oh, Mary, I have a hankering (craving) for some chocolate ice creamIt won't take long because it's just over yonder (there), catty-corner (diagonal) to the drugstoreI'm about to burn slap up (very hot) and ice cream would taste so good!"  "You don't have to tell me twice (I'm in)," Mary said and they headed toward the shop. 

They walked in and were tickled to death (so glad) to see Miss Betty was working.  "Well, I'll be (Isn't this something)!  Aren't you, two, a sight for sore eyes (I'm so happy to see you)!  I haven't seen you, girls, in a month of Sundays (a long time).  Y'all (you both) are just pretty as a peach (very pretty)," she said as she came around the counter to give the girls some sugar (a kiss).  "It's good to see y'all (you both) in my neck of the woods (neighborhood).  Suzy, how's your Mama (Mother)?  I hear tell (heard) she's been laid up (sick in bed)."  Suzy replied, "Yes, ma'am, we're on our way to pick up some medicine for her."  "Well, tell her I asked about her.  And, my goodness gracious (oh), you sure have grownI used to couldn't (once, I couldn't) see you over the counter but you've shot up like a weed (grown a lot)," Miss Betty commented. 

She scooped up the girls' ice cream cones and passed them over the counter, reminding them, "Now, don't tump it over (dump it out)."  "Yes, ma'am, Miss Betty," they replied just like their mamas(mothers) had taught them.  The girls sat down to eat their ice cream.  They were in hog heaven (a very happy place).  Mary was finished lickity split (really quickly) but Suzy was eating slower than molasses (quite slow).  Mary said, "You've got to hurry, Suzy.  We've piddled (wasted time) long enough!"  "Hold your horses (wait a minute), Mary, I just have a tee-niny bit (a little) left," Suzy replied. 

The girls cleaned up their mess and waved at Miss Betty as they headed for the door.  "Y'all come back to see us (come again soon), girls. And tell your Mama (Mother) I'm prayin' for her (talking to the Great Physician about her not to be confused with sending positive thoughts)," she said.  "Yes, ma'am.  Thank you, Miss Betty," the girls said as they opened the door.  Miss Betty complimented the girls to the people who were in line to buy ice cream, "Now, those girls were raised right (taught well)," she said.  "I've known their families my whole life and y'all (you all) know I'm older than dirt (really old).  They come from good stock (a wonderful family)." 

The girls walked down the sidewalk and passed several stores on their way to the drugstore.  There was the hardware store where they sold things that the girls didn't care diddly squat (at all) about like tools and other do-hickeys (things for which we don't know the names).  They passed a shoe store, a dress shop, a Hallmark store, and the lingerie store where they sold lacy drawers (underwear) and such.  "I double dog dare (really dare) you to go in there, Suzy," Mary said.  "Do what (What did you say)?  No way!  You're barking up the wrong tree (asking the wrong person)," Suzy assured her.  Mary couldn't resist saying, "Well, don't get your panties in a wad (get upset)!"  The girls laughed and kept walking.  

Finally, they spotted the drugstore.  Then, suddenly, it started to rain cats and dogs (really hard)!  They ran into the store dripping wet.  "Ok, let's get a buggy (shopping cart) for all the stuff we need for Mama (mother)," Suzy said.  They made their way to the cough syrups.  There were so many different kinds that they couldn't make heads or tails of it all (couldn't understand).  "Let's ask him," Suzy said as she pointed to a man who was also looking at cough syrup.  "We don't know him from Adam (he is a stranger), Suzy," Mary warned.  "Sometimes, you act like you don't have a lick of sense (no sense whatsoever)," she said reminding her of what their Mamas always told them about talking to strangers.  "Ok, well, don't have a conniption (a meltdown).  You're such a worry wart (worrier).  Let's just pick one and go," Suzy said.

They made their way over to the cokes (sodas/soft drinks) knowing that her Mama (Mother) would probably enjoy some being sick and all.  Mary asked, "What kind of coke (soda/soft drink) does your Mama (mother) like, Suzy?"  "Let's get her a Dr. Pepper and a Sprite," Suzy said as she placed them in the buggy (shopping cart).  "Now, we just need to get some new batteries for her clicker (remote control), Mary," Suzy remembered.  Suzy knew her Mama couldn't watch TV from bed without the clicker (remote control).   

They finally made their way to the checkout and Mary laughed when she saw that Suzy's rain soaked hair had dried and left her with a big ol' cowlick (hair that stood up) in the front.  They paid for their items and Mary quickly grabbed the bag with the batteries and cough syrup and left Suzy to get the 2 liter drinks.  "I have a bone to pick with you (something I want to talk to you about), Mary.  I think I got the short end of the stick (the worst side of the deal)," she said.  "Oh, don't pitch a fit (get upset), Suzy," Mary giggled.  Suzy snickered, "Lord have mercy (Oh), you just beat all I've ever seen (you're quite unique)!"  The girls left and headed home.

On the way, they saw Billy, the bully prankster from school, heading toward them.  Mary said, "Oh, isn't this just fine and dandy (Isn't this just great said sarcastically)?"  He came over and got in their faces bragging that he'd been to the ice cream shop.  "Well, woop-dee-doo (big deal)," they said.  He offered to carry their heavy bags but Mary leaned over and whispered to Suzy, "I wouldn't trust him any father than I can throw him (I don't trust him at all).  Knowing him, he's liable (likely) to run off with our cokes (sodas/soft drinks)."  "Come on, girls, let me carry those heavy drinks," Billy said teasingly.  "We weren't born yesterday (we're not naïve), Billy," Suzy said.  "Dadgummit (darn)," he said as he ran around them like a chicken with his head cut off (crazily).  Mary pretended to call her Daddy (father) on her cell phone and that scared the living daylights out of Billy (scared him badly).  He took off and they made their way home.              

The girls finally got to Suzy's house with all of the bags.  They went into Suzy's Mama's room and saw that she was sleeping like a log (sleeping soundly).....or either playing possum (pretending to be asleep).  She appeared to be dead to the world (sound asleep).  Suzy whispered, "Mama?"  She woke up and looked at the girls.  "We saw Miss Betty in town and she said she's prayin' (speaking to the Great Physician) for you," Suzy said.  "Well, bless her sweet heart (an expression of appreciation).  She's so precious (dear)," Mama replied.  The girls handed her the medicine and Suzy changed the batteries in the clicker (remote control) then mashed (pressed) the buttons to make sure it worked.  Suzy said, "I'll just chunk (throw away) these old batteries. Is there anything else you need, Mama?"  "Well, mercy me, (my, my) I can't think of a thing I'm just hunkey dorey (fine) now, thanks to the both of you," Mama (Mother) said.  "You, girls, are just so darlin' (sweet and beloved).  Thank you, kindly (thank you very much)."  "You're welcome," they said. 

And they all lived happily ever after. 

The End.



Did I leave anything out, my fellow Southerners?



Y'all have a good weekend now, ya hear? 




 

               

                              









14 comments:

  1. Awesome! I say a lot of those things and I grew up in So. California! I guess it's my southern roots though!

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    1. Where did you grow up, Deanna? I know you've told me before but I'm almost 48, so......

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  2. Lovely! Even though I grew up in Indiana, my family (especially my grandma) uses almost all of these expressions!
    What about "thank you ever so much"? That was also a grandma phrase....not sure if it's southern, or it was just hers. :)

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    1. Yes! Any way that we can embellish a "thank you", we do it! We, southerners, believe you can never make a "thank you" too flowery! Grandma was spot on :)

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  3. Cute story! I am familiar with some of the expressions and I have been saying "Y'all" in reference to everyone.
    Have a delightful weekend, Kathleen in Az

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    1. Good for you, Kathleen! You're a true southern belle if you're in Y'all mode! I Love it!

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  4. I use quite a few of those terms also, and I grew up in the San Francisco area of California...!
    In the south what do you call taking a photograph or going to the movies?

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    1. "Taking a picture" and some people say "going to the show" but I say movies. I guess that shows just how sophisticated I am, huh? I wouldn't have thought that Californians would use any of those. Shows what I know! :)

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  5. Wow! I live in Southern Maryland and this sounds like everyday conversation here! I guess south is south, no matter what state?!

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    1. Are you serious, Karen? I had no idea y'all use some of those same expressions. Wow!

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  6. Tote (carry) ... as in, "He offered to tote my suitcase."
    What in tarnation (what in the world)... "What in tarnation are you doing?"
    I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck (a whole lot!). :)

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  7. You are so right, Sue! How could I forget those? I may have to write a sequel :)

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