Monday, January 10, 2011

Finest Kind

Recent Sunrise on Queens Creek

Today I'd like to talk about an old school From Here phrase I've heard all my life: finest kind.

(There are two categories of people in Mathews:  Come Heres and From Heres.  I'm starting to think there's an emerging third category of Hybrids, but I'll get back to you on that as further study and observation is required. Let's return now to our blog post, already in progress.)  

Finest kind, when used in its purest sense, requires no explanation.  If you have oysters of the finest kind, they are the best;  the finest; excellent. Obviously.

But finest kind is used a little differently here in Mathews.

Take, for example, the conversations below:

Person A:  "Hey, I'll be over at 1:00 on Sunday to take a look at your faulty electrical wiring. It sounds like something we can easily fix."
Person B:  "Finest kind."


Person A: "Hey, how's it goin'?"
Person B:  "I'm finest kind."

Finest kind used in the first example means "OK,"  or "Good enough," or "Sounds good, it's a deal."

The second example means "I've never been better," or "I can't complain." All is well.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet and Google, I learned that this phrase, though not widely used in other parts of the country, is very popular in Maine of all places.  Mathews County and Maine may be geographically distant, but we do have a lot in common:  coastal communities, commercial watermen, a similar history with regards to settlement, etc.

If I didn't already have a job, and a book to work on, and a blog to maintain, and school and sporting events to attend, and a house and yard that are starved for some upkeep, I'd spend some time researching more of our local expressions, their origins and the extent of their use in other areas.

For now I'm content mentioning them here, however briefly, just to record their existence for posterity. In a few more years, they're liable to fade away into the ozone layer of Hybridville.

If you have heard or used finest kind as described above, please let me know and leave a comment. Whether you're talking about finest kind or you're wondering about the sort of person who would say "liable to," please leave a comment.  The bottom line here is no matter what, please leave a comment.  I love reading them and hate struggle with Mondays, so it's always a pleasure to come home from work to the comments.

Otherwise, Happy Monday, have a great week.

Finest kind.


Ann Marie said...

I am liable to lose my mind if I don't have a day soon that I am finest kind...

yea that didn't work out the way I thought it would in my head.

Lynne M. said...

I am very familiar with the saying..

I also believe there is a hybrid here in Gloucester as well. I was behind a man in Food Lion who was chatting with the cashier. She asked him if he was "from here". He answered, "yes, I am from here, I have lived here for 20 years". SOOO I speak up "well, then, you are NOT from here, then, are you?..." Not very nice, I know. I am sorry.. maybe.

A phrase which I would love to know the origin of is "I land in h-e-double-hockeysticks".. But if you say it "correctly", it is all one word. Ahlaninhe..

Anonymous said...

"I land in hell" was started when the french prisoners were sent to Big Island.When they were thrown off the boat one person spoke up and Said " I've landed in hell" in a heavy french accent. It has been passed on for century's, now with a heavy Guinea accent! This was told to me by Joe Boy a well known historian, may he rest in peace! Finest kind is not used much around me!!!LOL

Daryl said...

What Ann Marie said ..

AND I learned this weekend a friend told a story about an intern (not a doctor-would-be, but a college kid working for free)who when President Kennedy was mentioned she said 'oh he was the one who was killed, right?' and my friend said 'what?' and intern said 'I wasnt born then' and my friend said 'I wasnt born when Lincoln was shot but I know who he was and what happened' ... Intern was smart enough to not reply.

True story. Finest kind.

deborah said...

Daryl, I would say that intern is a dumbass, and that was finest kind story.

More snow expected, I'm liable to run down the street screaming. I'm liable to fall and bust my butt.

CBW you are finest kind

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Finest kind! I love it! I've never heard it. I grew up landlocked. But I may adopt it...

Y'all are gonna get more snow again! Why are points south of the Mid-Atlantic getting all of our snow this year??

WV binesses. Mind your own binesses.

Anonymous said...

OK, so weird. I was just thinking as I was in Jamaica this week that I was "fine as kind"....that's what I always thought the phrase was. But, since you googled it, you must be right! I was going to tell my husband that I was "fine as kind" and thought I should ask him if he'd ever heard of that. But, I didn't mention it....because I knew he would probably cut me off from the bar. LOL. Anyway, I stand corrected. All last week, I should have been saying in my head.....I am finest kind.

Middle Sis

word verification: glinatem....Glinatem before we even sat down to the table.

Country Girl said...

I have never heard of this saying being used in this context. I find it really interesting that it's a popular saying in Maine as well.

I hope your Monday wasn't too unpleasant. Mine was meh. But I've just poured some delightful rooibos tea and I am sitting here looking at some blogs. So hello to you in Mathews, from me up here in Maryland. George would say hello too but he's been crashed on his couch for over an hour. What a life.

Country Girl said...

The finest kind.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Someone really needs to snag that for a blog title. Or a restaurant, or some kind of brand name for something or other, because it's truly brilliant.

Susan said...

I've heard 'finest kind' for 50 years in mid-coast ME, occasionally in coastal MA, and not otherwise. I wish I could say I am from ME, but, alas, I am "from away" as far as folks there are concerned.

Anonymous said...

Just bought a six-pack of FINESTKIND IPA brewed by Smuttynose brewing Company, Hampton, NH.

ShutterSparks / KW2P said...

Interesting discussion. I learned the expression from a well-educated Maine native now deceased, who used it all the time. I use it myself now. When I asked, he said the expression is very old and Biblical. "Fine as kine" means "strong as oxen", in good health. Kine is an old English word which is plural for cows or oxen and appears in the King James Bible.

Just thought I'd muddy the waters with that tidbit. ;-)

SteveB said...

Hawkeye occasionally used that phrase on M*A*S*H, and he came from Maine.

Anonymous said...

Back in the late 80's, I was in the USCG stationed in Sandwich and Chatham on Cape Cod for three and a half years. "Finest Kind" was a common expression. One of the Reserves had a boat named "Finest Kind".

davidjames79 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
davidjames79 said...

We say this shit all the time in downeast Maine, I have no idea why lol.

Its like: 'Gmorning ned! How was them Lobsters hitting this morning?' 'Wicked bud, out there by cod ledge it was Fisnest Kind'

(Really interesting what @SteveB said about Hawkeye from M*A*S*H* very popular show especially with my grandparents generation.)

Anonymous said...

I heard it a lot as a kid growing up from a friends father who was from Newfoundland. I though he was saying "fine as kind" when asked how he was doing but with this link I see it was "finest kind". He was the only one I ever heard saying it.

Jim said...

I had first read the phrase "Finest Kind" in the book M*A*S*H.And as SteveB mentioned Hawkeye says it in the T.V. series M*A*S*H sometimes.