Monday, January 03, 2005

What Did You Say?

Every area and, indeed, every family has sayings which sound odd to outsiders. Some of these are common and some are not so common. My ex-husband's family was from Mississippi and they called a water hose a hosepipe and the trunk of a car the turtle hull.

In my family, after the clothes were folded and ready to be put away, we would say, "We have to save the clothes." Or, when the dishes were washed and dried we had to "save" the dishes. My friend, Judy, thought this was the funniest thing she ever heard.

"What do you mean 'save' the clothes? Are they on fire? Are they drowning?" she would ask.

"We have to save the clothes. You know. Put them in the drawers, hang them in the closets. Why, what do you call it?"

She could never tell me what she called it because she was always laughing so hard.

A more common phrase we use when people drive up and are talking to you from their car is, "Y'all get down," meaning, "Please exit your vehicle and enter my residence for further conversation and possibly food and beverage." This doesn't involve the disco type of 'get down,' as a rule, though sometimes that can happen also, especially if it's a holiday. The best we can determine, is that this phrase originated when people traveled to each other's homes by horse and buggy and they had to 'get down' to exit the buggy.

My grandfather was especially fond of the word "yonder" meaning "over there" and the thought of using the phrases "you guys" or "you all" instead of "y'all" is a difficult concept for most of us to grasp.

I had a boss from Ohio years ago who would mock the whole staff when we would say "fixin' to" as in "I'm fixin' to put the last patient in the examination room." I wanted so badly to tell him, "Look, jerk. You're in Texas. We'll let you live here and we'll tolerate your weird accent, but don't tell us how to talk. If I'm ever in Ohio, and I'm fixin' to complain about the lousy weather or the lousy food or the unfriendly people then you can tell me something."


hatteraspainter said...

I have a brother who lives in Galveston, Texas. A resident now for about 35 years his speach can be difficult to understand. Now I'm not saying the people in Texas speak funny rather I hear funny. Guess that's why I laugh a lot whenever I talk to him.

Actually I think the people with the most colorful language in the entire country are from southwest area. My grandmother was colorful with her use of the letter "a" mostly. She couldn't use certain words without the letter "a" wedged in there somehow. Like "I'm a fixin to be a going to church now"

My grandfather could speak german, and with his southern accent he'd do the gustapo bit that never failed to make people laugh. But nothing is funnier than my brother trying to repeat the words of some important figure head or sing a Christmas carol. How's that saying go "Texas, it's a whole other country"

Laurie said...

I have an aunt that moved to Massachusetts about 45 years ago and we can't understand her either.

Vettacini Sheppard said...

My first husband was from the little hick town of Hineston in Louisiana. There they used phrases such as turtle hull for the trunk of the car. My ex-husband, who had little patience for me, once told me to get something out of the turtle hull. I looked at him dumbfounded but finally became enlightened as to his request. Then one day we were doing yard work with my in-laws when redneck ex-husband told me to bring him the yard broom. Again, I looked at him dumbfounded. But alas, he informed me that the rake leaning against the tree was a "yard broom". Then there was the time we saw an eighteen wheeler turned over in the ditch and redneck ex-husband said that it had jillflirted (spelling????). It wasn't long after that I filed for divorce.

Zina said...

I remember when we were little Aunt Dolores and Lisa visited us in Texas from Massachusetts. This was when Laurie's mom worked so we were left at Laurie's house with Aunt Dolores as the adult in charge. At one point she was trying to yell at us to be quiet but she kept saying our names (Lisa and Zina) with an er at the end, so it was Liser and Ziner. We laughed so hard it just made her madder!

Lorna said...

You all sound funny to me, eh?