Tuesday, August 24, 2010


My friend Kim answered quite a few of the Southernisms on last week’s post. The translations---Kim’s words in italics; other words mine:

Nabs are cheese/PB or cheese/cheese crackers. With a Tab, they are the busy secretaries’ lunch of choice.

Crawdads are crayfish.

Spicket – is that a faucet (spigot?)?
Yep. "Naw, naw!! Don't bother puttin' ice in it---spicket water will be jes' fine!"

Slopjar – ick.
Slopjar---the under-the-bed nighttime convenience for those who didn’t have indoor plumbing. My Mammaw’s was on a tiny bench in a curtained-off corner by the back door, and I’ve carried that thing out to the privy for emptying many a time, making a detour past the junkhouse faucet to give it a good sluicing with a dab of Clorox and lots of cold water before taking it back to the house.

Lightbread – Wonderbread. Store-bought bread---a gourmet item to families whose bread consisted of the heavier, more rustic homemade cornbread and biscuits. Occasionally a pan of homemade rolls would make its way to the table, on VERY special occasions.

A childhood friend used to love to spend the night with me, for we almost always had toast for breakfast---she equated that to luxurious fare, for in her family of ten, her Mama turned out several dozen biscuits every morning to feed that large brood. And homemade biscuits were a luxury to ME.

Sweetmilk white milk. When everyone had a cow, there were always two kinds of milk in the house---sweetmilk and buttermilk, hence the long-lasting spoken distinction, carried on even into store-bought days.

Settee – couch/sofa.

Beauty shop – hairdressing salon.

Piddlin’ – negligible
. Kim’s right about the “negligible”---“Why you want to waste time on that piddlin’ little ole thing?”

It’s also a term for frittering away time, or doing tiny chores or just finding something to do---sorta what Dr. Phil would call “wastin’ daylight.” Lots of men think of it as just "Gettin' out of the house."

Phone call: “Hay. What y’all doin’ today?”

“Just piddlin’.”

Doo-hickey – thingamagig. How’d I do? And what else would you call a washing machine?

You know your Southernisms. Today's casual reference to 'washer and dryer' has only recently reached way into the Deep South, and still the word "BENDIX," referring to all washers, lingers in some older speech, as does "HOOVER" for vacuum cleaner. And in earlier days, to have acquired a "wringer washer" was an envious feat indeed, and usually the only time the word "machine" was not appended.

Galluses---suspenders---a word usually used by older men. Our neighbor’s parents used to spend Summers with her when I was a child, and her daddy loved to read as much as I did. He’d come to our back door in his usual garb of seersucker pants, an old-man undershirt, and his galluses, asking, “You got any more of those Perry Masons?”

Gettin’ your beauty struck---having your picture taken
Cho-cho---An ice-cream-on-a-stick, vanilla dipped in chocolate

Locus’ Cicadas, the long-whirring, loud-buzzing accompaniment to many a lawn party, most notably known in our family for drowning out most of the sound in our wedding video

Git-fiddle any musical instrument with strings

Hammerjack woodpecker

And a Snake-Doctor is, for some obscure reason known only to long-ago Southern children, a Dragonfly.


Denise :) said...

This was so funny! I especially liked the observation that you made under the the 'Lightbread'. The grass is always greener, right?! Thanks for the smile! :)

racheld said...


I'm so happy to see you here, and hope you'll stop in often!!

Kim Shook said...

Biscuits were a luxury to me because I only had them summers at my grandparents in NC. I hated toast there because Grandma Jean bought the off brand white bread at the "used bread store" and it turned into cardboard LONG before it became toast.

Jeanne said...

Good Morning Rachel, How I love your Mason Dixonary words. I understand most of them but Snake Doctor??? Laughing. I thought of another Yankee thing. We called tadpoles...pollywogs.

How lovely to celebrate a friend's 50th anniversary. On Labor Day weekend my brother and his wife celebrate their 50th. A very special occasion. They were married at age 17. All these years his wife had to survive his 5 sisters. I think we scared her at first. Smile. The first time she visited us my mom asked her to get something out of the pantry and sitting on the floor of the pantry was my youngest sister sulking. Ha. She sulks to this day. Funny how our personalities are formed at a very young age. Anyway, they have had a happy marriage all these years against all odds.

I hope your darling birthday girls have a happy day. No doubt, with grand parents like you.

Hugs, Jeanne

Tonja said...

The only one I did not know was Hammerjack! Never heard that one!