The Things People Say

An extended family member used to call that black or white painted decorative metal that adorns fences and often comprises garden furniture, “wrauth iron”.   It’s wrought iron I know,  but she put a “T” and an “H” where there should’ve been a hard “T”.

As kids, my nieces called the general term for baubles, bangles and beads,  “jowrie”.   As in, rhymes with Lori.

A now deceased aunt always insisted on making a strawberry “Jallo” salad.

My father has always called barbecue sauce, “sop”.  Why?  I have no idea.   I know what the word means and I think my father did to, but he could have called it sauce, but no…it was “sop.  Must be a Texas thang.

I had a teacher who taught me Health in Junior High.  When discussing the Four Basic Food Groups, she insisted that I eat one-six ounce serving of “protyenn” every day.  She turned “protein” in to a three syllable word.

She also turned that class into a snooze fest.

A friend calls that condensed professional bio that we give prospective employers a resume.   Looks right in print, but she pronounces it res-you-may.

My mother told me a story once about her grandmother and how she’d read to her.   She  apparently had  a very dynamic personality and would put a great deal of theater in all her reading sessions. My mother loved the added drama and listened with wide eyed enthusiasm as my great grandmother read her the exploits of “Taranza”.

Not Tarzan; but Taranza.

My paternal grandmother was a lovely genteel, Southern woman.  She had the damnedest Southern accent,  and as I learned years ago, that lovely mode of speech is really a bastardized version of that which is spoken in Britannia.

She’d say words like:

  • suppuh
  • dinnuh
  • sistuh
  • Mothuh
  • daughtuh
  • Fathuh
  • feathuh
  • bread and buttuh

And of course the one thing that I, a Libertine in my younger days, never did and that was “act propuh”.

But she loved me unconditionally and she’d always call me “Sweet Sugah”.   The words flowed from her like that, too.  I loved hearing her speak.  It was soft and gentle and it sounded safe to me, although I didn’t always understand exactly what she was saying.

Unlike my mother who never failed to properly enunciate the word “disappointment”.

I miss my grandmother.


  1. Hilarious!! My mother was from southern Missouri, and she had a penchant for “buttermelk”. My cousins who live in Northern Michigan don’t ask for a Coke…they ask for soda “pap”. But they’ve told me I sound weird, too. 🙂

  2. My mother-in-law used to say “wrouth” iron, too. I say “aig” instead of egg and “oiyol” instead of oil. What comedy.

  3. My grandparents were born and will die in a small town in Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. Since i was born my grandfather has called me “L’il Bit” and my grandmother calls me by my name, Blythe, but it sounds like Blaaaaaaaattthhhhhhhe. It is wonderful and hilarious and heartwarming all at the same time.

  4. My sister-in-law in Kentucky says oral for oil and plowers for pliers. My aunt has never been to Warshington but knows that’s where all our troubles come from. My dad would put new bat-trees in his flashlight and when mom took something out of the freezer for dinner she would unthaw it.

  5. Have a friend who says darter for daughter and “have an ideal” for idea. Once we had a beloved neighbor who would say “tend like” instead pretend like. Ever fall off a bike? Down here it’s called “tumping” over. I don’t know.

  6. Growing up in South Texas, as my Mid Sis would know so well, whenever we pretended or “played like” something was happening or about to happen, we’d combine the two words in our distinctly Texas accents, “plak”. That constituted “play like”.

    And yes, we did “tump over” when we fell off of something, but that was only in direct relation to the distance between bike and ground. Because you were positioned higher on a bike seat, it was far easier to “fall” off your bike, but you’d tump over if you were riding in say….a wheelbarrow. Lower to the ground.

    I work with someone who for “tastes” says taste-ess” as in “that sure tastess good”. I can’t be near her whenever she puts something in her mouth. If I can’t get a away, I pray her mouth is too full to speak.


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