Friday, January 07, 2005


Grandma (Who we all called Mema) was from Opp, Alabama, and Grandpa (Pa) was from Plant City, Florida. So I've been thinking about words and phrases that I used to hear (and sometimes say), that reflected this. Mema was the main source for these, mostly because Grandpa didn't talk much.

Most Americans will have heard of dungarees as jeans, fewer might know plum tuckered out to mean one is tired in the sleepy way. To traipse was to walk around or walk somewehere, but there was a perjorative connotation to the word that I cannot quite put my finger on. Tomatoes were 'maters. If you were about to do something, you were fixin' to do it. So if you were about to prepare the evening meal, you were fixin' to fix supper. If Pa was going to fixin' to tan yer hide, then you were going to get a severe whippin'.

None of these are too weird; I bet John knows all of these (he is from Texas, and Texans are sort of like Southerners). But there are a few that I have never heard anyone outside my family say:
Gom and mess- To play around and make a big mess out of something. Usually applied when I or my brothers had been into something in Mema's house.
Co-cola A coke.
Trot line For catching catfish. It seems everybody else calls this a "trout line", but neither pronounciation makes sense. There is not trotting involved, and it is not used for catching trout. I don't think. Don't actually know much about trout.

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