Sunday, July 19, 2009

Being Southern~Fugetaboutit

Chari at Happy to Design gives us all the chance to re-visit previous posts that are buried deeply in our archives.
Thank you Chari!

Growing up in the South I speak a little differently from others, and I’m not just talking about slower dialog. My first awakening to this difference came in 1972 after a move to Sacramento, California. Back then, we called the operator for long distance. After repeating my Mother’s phone number several times, the operator simply told me “I’m sorry, I can’t understand you.” I wasn‘t in the South anymore, and I was in trouble!

There are so many odd sayings, not to me mind you, but to others who find our phrases downright confusing! My Mom used to say, ''Well, I swan” when she would be surprised. She always said ''supper'' for the evening meal, instead of "dinner." And oddly enough, dinner was the midday meal. In the 1950’s we had an icebox, not a refrigerator. Inside were glass bottles of “pop” but later when I grew up and lived in Texas it was “soda water.” Most of us nowadays simply call it Coke! I’ve heard my Mother say ''Y'all come back" or ''Y'all might as well come go with us" to guests as a way to let them know just how welcome they were in our home.

My brother and I were encouraged to be good by several “prompts” before we got a swat on our behind. Misbehaving children often heard "Don't act ugly!” or ''Quieten down!" as my Father would scold us when we were getting too rambunctious. “Too big for your britches"-- putting on airs when we acted prissy or snobby was not allowed. I felt a great sense of pride being part of this Southern family.

I remember beaming with pride when I’d go to church with Grandma and someone would say, “Selva, she 'favors' you to a tee,” meaning I resembled her in my looks and mannerisms. “Pretty as a speckled pup in a little red wagon" was high praise from Grandpa! These old-time expressions or regionalisms are fascinating, adding color to our life. They are worth preserving and passing on to our children and grandchildren. Funny as they may sound, they clearly describe the situation or the character of a person.

Paula Deen cannot do a show without sprinkling it liberly with her Georgia expression, "Good enough to make you slap your Grandma!"

On the subject of weather, the older generations would say...
''It's comin' up a storm!"
“In high cotton” meant that person was living well.
"A sight to see" meant glad to see you!
"All vines and no taters" or “All hat and no cattle” implied a person who put on “airs.”
"Stove up" - usually to describe someone who’s worked hard and had sore muscles.
"The sun don't shine on the same dog's tail every day" - meaning that fortunes change.
Saying that someone ''Looked like he was rode hard and put up wet'' implied he was exhausted and overworked.
"Well, who licked the red off of your candy?" - meaning who put you in a foul mood?

My Dad used to say "What come" instead of saying "Why did you do that?"
"What come you to do that child?" usually meant I was in trouble! I suppose other parts of the country have odd sayings too, I don't know what they are... Oh, fuhgetaboutit!


  1. Some of those I say all the time, some I'd never heard. That was interesting.

  2. I really enjoyed my visit today. I'm so glad you shared your memories with us.

  3. What a deligtful post this was. I was just thinking on doing a post like this this weekend as i'm from the N.E. & now live in the M.W. It's so interesting how different people are from place t place and how geographical placements can either cause laughter or "uh oh's".


  4. Joycee I really love the southern dialect! I think it is so cute and fun. The way we speak out west is just boring.

    I grew up in Ca. and I remember my next door neighbors daughter would come out to stay with him each summer during my teen years. She was from W. Virginia and boy did she have an accent BUT she told me I had an accent too. So we would spend all summer talking like each other and it was crazy fun!!

    I also had a roommate from Texas in college and I would come home for visits talking like a Texan because it rubs off so easily!!

  5. Oh My, Some of those sure bring back memories.
    A few I never hear either. I always loved " purity as a speckled pup " And a few of the others .. Git going... was one I remember here in my neck of the woods. "Too big for her britches "... meaning, she though more of her self then anyone else did.

  6. I've lived in Missouri, Arkansas, New Mexico, Okalahoma, Mississippi, California,North Carolina, and Texas...all have different accents. It's fun that we don't all sound the same! Thanks so much for your comments on the subject!
    joy c. at grannymountain

  7. Glad to find out more about this topic! Thanks for sharing as well.


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