Thursday, September 11, 2008
This is a glimpse of an old house on Gwynn's Island. Below is a glimpse into some of the words and sayings I've grown accustomed to here in Mathews. Both are a dying breed.
Not until I left Mathews and went to college did I realize how unusual some of our expressions are. I had no idea, for example, that saying someone or somebody was as ugly as a mud fence could cause confusion. My roommate looked stunned the first time I said it. Then she wanted to know what a mud fence was, and just how ugly was it? I confess I have no idea, and I never stopped to think about it before she asked.
My mother's mother, if she were alive, would have been 100 years old this past Monday. She had the most wonderful accent, but she also had a very unusual way of saying certain words. For example:
"Push" was pronounced poosh.
"Bush" was pronounced boosh.
As in, "Don't you dare poosh your sister into that boosh."
I have to assume there were some Scottish or Irish folks that influenced that pronunciation, but it's quickly fading. I only rarely hear it any more.
Some other odd pronunciations coming from my mother and grandmother include:
Example: Predney that dunkey and hawse will need feedin'.
Folks from Mathews contribute to this colorful kaleidoscope of sayings and pronunciations. I have a friend who always said "mersure" instead of "measure." She'd say "warsh" instead of "wash." Other people I know would say "poncil" (almost with a French accent) instead of "pencil." Many people to this day pronounce "house" or "mouse" as with a long "o" sound. Like "hoe" with a light "s" on the end.
Some of the expressions I grew up with are:
I'm as serious as a heart attack. (Pretty darn serious.)
Your bedroom looks like Hooraw's nest. (It's a disaster. Who or what is Hooraw? A bird?)
Your hair looks like the cat's been suckin' on it all night long. (You need a rake to comb that hair.)
Those vegetables are no count. (They're no good.)
You can't swing a dead cat without hitting fruit flies in this kitchen. (You have a fruit fly infestation.)
That cookie is harder than a brick bat. (You couldn't get your teeth through it.)
This is but a small sampling. I'm sure not all of these are unique to this area, but I suspect some of them are.
I'd love to compile more of these sayings and quirky pronunciations from the local area, and if I had the time I'd go out and interview people. I'm feeling a little too lazy to do that at the moment. For anyone reading this who has not yet fallen asleep, I would love to hear about any local sayings or odd pronunciations in your neck of the woods.
Right now, though, I must go deal with that no-count fruit fly infestation before I blow a gasket. There's more of them in my kitchen than you can shake a fist at.