Recently, I had a sweet young lady as my Home Health Nurse's Aide. She said her mother had worked for me many years ago and loved me. I remembered and told her how we still quoted her mother.
I had a cat that only drank water out of the commode. Most times her tail was all that was visible. On one occasion I made a wild dash to the bathroom, sat down and jumped back up to have the cat jump out of the commode behind me. As she cleaned herself up from my sprinkling of her back she "cursed" me with the vilest of profanity. She stood in front of me and went rigid as she uttered what almost sounded like the English language but it was "cat" profanity.
The girl who was working there said: "Oh, Mrs. Agan you are lucky she didn't scratch your pocketbook!" At my questioning look she said she told her three daughters not to ever let a man put his hand on their pocketbook. What a novel way to protect her little girls!!
In public, no one would know what she was calling her "pocketbook." When I told the nurse's aide she immediately said "that's my mama, she taught us that."
Down through the years I have heard it all, I think.
I have to sit and figure out what they mean sometimes, but finally, this old lady figures it out.
A friend told me that our mutual friend's little daughter was in the hospital and that the doctor said she was too emancipated so he gave her several IVs and let her go home. Now what did freeing the slaves in the Emancipation Proclamation have to do with IVs? She meant "emaciated" not "emancipated." So, IVs would cover her needing fluid in her little body,
When one lady's daughter give birth to a child without benefit of a marriage license, she had the Welfare have the father take a blood test and actually prove if he was indeed the father.
Joyfully, she told me that the test proved that 96 percent of it belonged to him. I had to ask who the other four percent belonged to. She meant the test proved 96 percent conclusively it was his baby.
And then there is the lady that makes her cakes in a "bun-dit" pan, and of course is it a bundt pan, with the "d" being silent.
How about the lady who wanted to know if I used Jal-a-peena peppers in my cooking? Now it was a hard J she used, not the H sound that it is supposed to have, such as halapeenas. And me, I have been called "Jew anita" not the W sound that it should be as Wanita,
When I was in Business College, a lady who taught the classes offered me free tuition if I would get enough signed up for a private class. I did and she really helped me and my poor diction.
I learned that the "t" in often was silent, and well as the "l" in salmon. I learned that it was not "Ad- dult" but "Uhdult" and not "Deeecember" but a short first syllable as "De-cember" and she taught me so much more. Of course some will think you are wrong, such as the waitress in Red Lobster who asked my son "Do you mean you want SaLmon or not?" He agreed he did.
It was hard not to laugh when the teacher said we would meet at the "Gazzebra" in the park. Of course, she meant the "Gazebo."
And then the lady was discussing all of Minden's beautiful flowers and especially our Lazaleas, meaning our Azaleas.
An acquaintance of mine said she was watching the Ofrah show, and I suppose she meant the Oprah show.
After visiting Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, years ago, we learned that he pronounced the word "MontiCHELLO", not the "cello" sound we normally assumed it to be. That means not like a blood cell, but like the musical instrument "cello." We now used the correct way to pronounce it.
Immediately, some well-meaning old "biddy" corrected me and said you must mean "Monticello" and I said I did not, that I was using the way he wanted it pronounced. I don't think she believed me.
Well, I guess you done heard that I have done gone and got a hitch in my giddyyup and can't walk? And on top of that I have been having the heebie jeebies with my oxygen. So with language like this, I'll fit right in with the folks above, won't I?
Juanita Agan passed away in October, 2008 at the age of 85. She had been a Minden resident since 1935 and a columnist for the Press-Herald since 1995. A constant writer, Mrs. Agan had many stories written but unpublished. The Press-Herald will continue to publish these articles as long as they are submitted.