I was coming home from work on the interstate the other day and license plate reading, checking out the different states on the tags. As I got near to my exit I began to notice how many of these out of state tags were turning off with me. I started to think about how big Cleveland has grown since the 1950s and put two and two together. As anyone knows, it doesn't take me long to put two and two together. I've been told I look for conspiracies and nine times out of 10 I usually find one.
Back to the out of state cars turning off on my exit--no wonder Cleveland is growing by leaps and bounds. People from up North use Cleveland as a half way point on their way to Florida, little do they know that when Cleveland soil latches on to their shoe souls they start to grow roots that stretch all the way back to this once sleepy little town. In the end, Northerners or Yankees, move in and take up residence. With this in mind I decided to do a little story with a few of our slang words scattered through out to teach these Northerners what we are saying. Also, in trying to think of a name I kind of played on the titles of computer books that are out: Windows for Dummies, Excel for Dummies, etc. So no offense to my Yankee friends, no insult intended.
Growing up I could never say my siblings names right, Patricia became Trish, Terry became Turry and grandmother and grandfather became Grandmaw and Grandpaw. One time my dad was trying to tell me to get him something that was pink, when I asked, 'Which one?' and he replied, 'That thar punk un.'
My mom and dad divorced when I was 10 and my mom moved to Texas. One summer my aunt and cousins and I went down to Texas and my step-dad took us out looking for Cactus pears. There was a little soft drink stand and one of my cousins and I went to get us some Coca Colas. I asked the guy if he had a carton for the drinks and he said no, so I said, "Do you have a poke?" He said, "A what?" I said, "A poke--a poke, you know, a paper bag?" Suddenly his face lit up as the light bulb in his head lit up, "Oooohhhhh," he breathed, "is poke Spanish for paper bag?" Embarrassed I dropped my head and answered, "No, poke is hillbilly for paper bag." My step dad said it was a wonder he hadn't poked me in the nose. One thing for sure, I wasn't laughing as hard as my step dad was.
Another of my step dad's favorite words to make fun of was you-unz, example, 'If you-unz are ready to go we can go now." My step dad says there is no such word as you-unz, it's you all or better yet, you people. To me, you-unz is the better word, it's shorter and slides over the tongue better. When my nephew and youngest daughter were young, my sister-in-law asked me why my daughter who was a few months older than her son, seemed to be talking faster. I explained to her, since she was Puerto Rican; he was learning two languages, English and Spanish. My step dad chimed in and said, "No, he's learning three languages, English, Spanish and Hillbilly." I haven't heard Chris' Hillbilly but he's very fluent in his other two languages (smile).
My husband's southern talk is really the butte of many of our loving jokes at home, for instance when he says, "Somebody pored grease down the zink and it's stopped up." or "Look out there it's a pecker wood." and, "I think I want an aig for breakfast." I always add to that one, "With runny yallas." I think my whole family says things like, "This shirt is wrinkled where's the arn?" or "Did you get that shirt out of the Chester drawers?" I've always had a hankering for knowing who this Chester feller was that discovered drawers to put clothes in.
When a friend moved down from Michigan we were going to the store to buy soft drinks. I explained to her she would have to tell the clerk exactly what kind she wanted because all soft drinks are co-cola. There's ragler co-colas and diet co-colas, Pepsi ragler co-colas and Pepsi diet co-colas, etc., etc.
Southern people on the most part drawl their words out, maybe that is why the shortened version of words took hold. For instance, years ago when you got full service stations, you'd often hear "Checkatawfarya?" Which, if you haven't mastered it yet was simply, "Check that oil for you." Can you see the difference, southerners were very smart to have used the shortened version, it saved time and who would dare say time isn't worth saving? Remember when our babies were little and someone would ask, "How old is he?" and we'd answer, "6 munts." Come to think of it I still say "munts".
When we first got married Don had a mohtuhsickle, we rode everywhere on that mohtuhsickle on up till we had 2 babies. We couldn't put but one between us so we had to sell it and buy a car. When my dad's mom died, we were all at her house and one of my younger cousins came across the porch wearing his birthday suit, "Ruthy, get Duncan, he's nekkid.", her husband roared. Pictures are called pitchers, drawed or taken and if you get a flat tar on your car, you ain't goin nowhere fast. Don't get tar confused with tire, we all know that a tire is someplace high, like the far tire where a forest ranger can climb up to if any see trees are on far or the Eifel Tire in France. Another way tar is used could be like tarred, "I just flew in from Etlanta and boy are my arms tarred."
When you take a shower make sure you have dry tals to dry off on and don't hang your wet tal on a cheer or someone will set on it get their pants wet. And if someone says someone is retard, they aren't calling them mentally handicapped, instead it is they have quit working because of old age-example: My uncle retard when he turned 72.
We used to have horses but we couldn't keep them in a bob-warred fence, so we sold them. Don likes to plant gardens, his favorite things to grow are beans and squarsh. You have to warsh squarsh good because it grows on the ground. When I've asked my northern friends if they want to do something they'll say, "I don't care." But if I ask my southern friends sometimes they'll say, "Don't make me no never mind.", "'Turn' off the lights to us is 'cut' off the lights." And even more amazing is how words got created out of no where, for example: crooked = caterwallen, crying = caterwallen--huh? almost = pert near, shut up = hesh. forget to ores and the girls were following me.
I hope you've had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. I'm not making fun of southern language, I grew up with it, it's a part of me. I was taught to speak the southern language and didn't have to go to no lieberry to get my information. So before the editor charges me for ad space guess I better close this here article. If you're ever out and around and get confused at what someone is saying, give me a yell and I'll translate for you. See you next month, y'all come back now, y'hear?