Sunday, October 17, 2010


See that brownish thing-a-ma-bob there on the left of the dish of doorknobs? I cannot for the life of me remember what it’s called. I want to say "corbel" but those are more for holding curtains, I think. It’s upside down now, and I suppose it’s some kind of little wall bracket---I just liked the look of it, the heavy heft of it and all the pale pastel edgings. I think I grabbed it for a dollar at a Yard Sale, thinking I might use it in a little mini-canopy over the daybed when Our Girl graduates from her high-sided baby bed.

And the little Baker’s rack that holds all the mementoes---the original Fairy Tea set, a hanging box of all my Scotland/England pictures---nine times out of ten, I can’t think what to call it, either. “Have you seen my keys?” Chris says. “Over there on the ----(wildly pointing) ---- Tea Cart!” I’ll finally come up with.

If it’s an adverb or adjective, I’ll fish around up there til I can find a passable one, but still there's that little nagging tickle of dissatisfaction which sends me pondering or running the alphabet, hoping to unearth the right word. Those tip-of-my-tongue moments populate more of my time now than in the past, for I’ve a tiny person to converse with and teach and lead-up-in-the-way-she-should-grow.

But nouns, now---nouns are easy. No matter the use, the name, the actual title, a lifetime in the South has given me a vast lexicon of possibles to insert into my talk, with nary a pause save to choose from the long list. In hearing them in MY locale for so many years, I sometimes think them universal, and other times find them to be Dixie-driven in all respects.
I DO tend to point toward the general area of the Thing, in a little ridiculous flutter, my point-finger growing a bit more agitated as I delve for the word, but failing, I blurt out whichever of the old Tried-and Trues hits my tongue first.

In Random Order, and with no particular purpose, here is a quick-list of WORDS WHICH WILL SERVE when you either don’t KNOW the name of a thing, or just can’t dredge it up from your brain right now:

Bits and Pieces
Odds ‘n’ Ends

To me, they’re all Southern, for that’s my frame of reference. To YOU, they may be a part of your own vocabulary from the place of your own raising.

All comments, additions, definitions, and remembrances gladly received and enjoyed.
What words do YOU use?


Southern Lady said...

I loved this post, Rachel. A popular word nowadays for stuff you can't come up with a name for right off the top of your head is "thingy." My favorite, and old standby, is "whatcha-ma-call-it," and it seems like I use it a lot more often these days when my mind goes blank and I'm grasping for the right word. I'm not sure what I would call your "mystery object" either, but "thing-a-ma-bob" sounds good to me.

racheld said...

We ALL use "thingy" now and then, Janie, and I didn't even think of it!

Penny said...

Thing a ma Bob. That's what my family said and I am stickin to it. Wish you had been a part of the blogger brunch. I am sure I would have loved meeting you.

Kat said...

Good post! I use "" or "" or "doo.hickey" the most.

Hope your weekend was a good one.


Kim Shook said...

Oh, Lord, I use almost all of those. I barely speak English anymore. Mike realized he was fully assimilated when he started actually UNDERSTANDING what I was talking about! Sometimes, I just substitute a word that is somehow (in the tangle that is my mind) related to the word I want - or even just nonsense words that I make up on the spot.

Beverly said...

Rachel, thank you for the Monday morning smile.

I love this post. I most often say Do Hickey instead of Hickey Do. Does that mean I'm dyslexic?

Keetha said...

How fun! I use all these, too. What's great is that whoever you're talking to KNOWS WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. Usually, anyway.

My husband gets tickled at the way my mother and I communicate: "You remember that time we went there to that place and that had that thing? And it was so great!"

And we both know precisely what we're talking about. :-)

Kouign Aman said...

Yup, I went to that there ver' same place, and it was so great, just as you say. You know, that one over yonder there. By the whatsit.

racheld said...

Y'all just CRACK ME UP. I do some great laughing in the dark hours of the morning, when I have to giggle softly lest Chris come in here to see if I'm OK.

Keetha, You'll get this one: A friend of mine and her aunt were both P.O. employees, and they talked in Zip Codes! If someone said anything silly, or they saw someone do something kinda weird, one would say to the other: 39194

I can just hear it now, as she told it: