What's for supper?
Updated: Aug 17
For better or worse, I have always done things my own way and in my own time. I enrolled into a college for the first time at the tender age of 38. In some ways, that worked in my favor.
One of the first college courses I took was an English course which focused on writing. This is the course that reignited my love of writing and set me on the path I am currently on. Don't think that it was an instant magical moment. The reality is it began as a bit of an antagonistic relationship with the professor.
He, seemingly, had a desire to purify the English language of what Nelly would call "country grammar". This professor called it "Appalachian Grammar" to the point he wrote a book on it, which was the required text for the course. Pretty smart move, if you ask me.
Even though our relationship developed into one of mutual respect, we had some growing pains to get there. As a great teacher should, he challenged me to put more into my writing, to which I am eternally grateful for. He submitted some of my work for publication and nominated me for the award for the outstanding English student of that year, which I won.
One of several areas we butted heads on was my use of southern or country phrases. After our first few conversations, I knew he detested them so I would include them partly out of habit and partly out of spite, knowing they would make his face as red as the ink he used to scribble notes on my papers. Writing something that sounded so natural to me, such as "fair certain", seemed to send his world into an unacceptable state of imbalance.
As I get older I find myself using those old phrases that I heard my uncles and Nanny (my grandmother) use when I was child more often. Having roots in West Virginia and Tennessee, I realize that to most people some of my vernacular must seem antiquated and that I am just another uneducated hillbilly. Then again, I hear many supposed highly educated people sound like idiots these days, without benefit of colloquial verbiage.
As our world and country spins itself into something that is starting to be unrecognizable to me, using old phrases and sayings feels familiar, warm, and safe to me.
How many of these are you familiar with? Maybe your parents or grandparents said them? Maybe you still do?
"I deal at Barnhart's." - replace Barnhart's with your market of choice and it means this is where you shop.
"He thinks the sun comes up just to hear him crow."- this means he's full of himself, or he has a very high opinion of himself
One that seems to have fallen by the wayside, even in my own house is the name of meals. "Dinner" referred to the midday meal, more commonly called lunch now, and "Supper" was the evening meal, now called dinner.
'He couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the directions came on the heel" means he's not very smart. As with a lot of southern sayings, more words is mo' better.
There are hundreds of them and writing this blog makes me want to incorporate that style of speaking into a character or story.
What phrase do you still use that isn't used much anymore?