There is just a “special vocabulary” in the South that is understood by Southerners, and nowhere else on earth will you hear these sayings or phrases. In fact “nary’ a one. Meaning none.
He couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, even with a lid on it.
We like cornbread crumbled in our “Pot Liquor”—the liquid cooked out of turnip greens, or peas.
She always looked like “she stepped out of a band box.”
He’s lower than an “egg suckin’ dog.”
She had on her “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes.
She “finer than frog hair” means a lovely girl.
“Wash down as far as Possible and wash up as far as Possible, and then wash Possible” and that is what we call a “spit’ bath.
“I ain’t seen you in a month of Sundays.”
“Let down that window, it’s freezing my tail off.”
“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow if the Lord be willing and the creek don’t rise.”
“He’s drunker than a Betsy bug.”
“Now don’t that beat the band.”
Only a Southerner knows what a “grass widow” is. It’s a divorcee, a woman whose former husband, is not dead, and does not lie under dirt and grass.
And we say, “sweet milk” to the waitress, not just “milk.”
And we say; “light bread” when we ask for bread. Everybody up north just says “bread.”
We catch a “mess” of fish, or cook up a “mess” of turnip greens. How much is a “mess?” Only a Southerner knows for sure.
“Over yonder” could be a long way, or just a short distance, who knows?
It takes a Southerner to know the difference between “Pore white trash” and “a good ole boy.” Pore white trash has nothing to do with their bank account.
Only a southerner know what we mean by “fixin” such as fixin supper, or fixin to go to town.
Only in the south do we have long funeral processions either to the church from the funeral home or to the cemetery. Always with flashing lights on a police car leading the way. Only in the south do we pull off the road and park as the cars pass by.
Only in the south does a girl know what her guy means when he says “gimmie a little sugar”, he surely doesn’t mean that white sugar in the sugar bowl.
And only in the south do they go to a trailer park and interview a survivor from a tornado and see her shake her head full of pink foam rubber curlers, heist up her mumu, and hear her say “well, I done said to myself, ‘okay Mable, there goes your Casserole dish you carried to the Simpsons, it’s long gone now’”.
It takes a Southerner to tell the difference between a “conniption fit” and a “hissy fit” and you “pitch” them, not “have” them.
And it takes a southerner to know if something is “catawampus” or sitting straight.
Who knows what to do for the “screaming memmies” maybe a feller from the South might figure that out?
Only in the south does the waitress ask if you want sweet or unsweetened tea.
If he says “don’t get your bowels in a boil” he’s not taking about a digestive problem, he is talking about a temper fit.
In the south we have “White Shotgun Weddings” where the irate papa takes down his 410-gauge shotgun and says: “either you marry her now or we’ll have a funeral.”
Up north they don’t eat grits, but we love ‘em. Nary a grit will be eaten up there
Up north they don’t know what clabber is, nor “blue John” milk.
Down South folks may pour their coffee in their saucer and blow it to cool it and be able to drink it faster.
Men talking about their wives going through the “change” never knowing the word “menopause” used up North. Somebody said it was called that because the term “Mad Cow Disease” was already being used.
We say “Sugar Diabetes” and the rest of the world just says ‘Diabetes.” Some talk about having “high blood” and of course, they mean high blood pressure
Any Southerner knows that you can’t buy “whack” at your neighborhood Wal-Mart, when we say: “Everything I do today seems to be out of ‘whack’”.
“Getting your tail over the dashboard” is not a physical action, it is getting mad and pouting.
“Horse feathers” is just a nicer way of saying “bull manure.”
There are two or three phrases that mean the same thing. “The elevator doesn’t stop on every floor”, “He lacks a cup and saucer from having a full place setting” and finally “It would take two of him to have the IQ of a tree.” All these mean he is not too bright.
He’s got a “do-hickey” on his neck, of course, means he has a pimple or a boil there. You know that.
He’s got “three sheets in the wind” today, of course means that he is drunk.
He’s going to “tie one on” today, means that he is preparing to get drunk.
That young’un is a “woods colt” which means that he is illegitimate.
These are just a sample of the things we say down South that our more cultured neighbors to the North do not always know what we mean. Do you?
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.