Friday, October 22, 2010


I’ve always been able to spell pretty well---able to throw letters down in the correct sequence to form words.

Casting a spell would be a bit beyond most of us, I think, but we could all spell a word, spell out directions, or spell someone who’s plumb wore out.

In the South, you could sit a spell, passing the time of day, or rest a spell from your labors, as in “spell your tired body." In this usage, the connotations seem to be in a restful realm---you never hear anyone say “work a spell” or “cook a spell.”

There could be a sick spell, or a spell of bad weather, a fainting spell or a dizzy spell.

“Mrs. Gentry took a bad spell,” could mean myriad things---She’s really ill; she’s heard some bad news and reacted beyond the norm, or (whispered) “It’s just a matter of time.” Perhaps she’s of a certain age, and it’s just so dang HOTTT down here.

Why, everybody knows that red-headed hussy down at the truck-stop caffay spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E, and if Cissy Maud catches Bobby Frank down there one more time, she’s gonna do something that will land her a spell in the Calaboose.


Southern Lady said...

I just love to come "sit a spell" with you, Rachel. Your stories always "cast a spell" over me and I never cease to come away "spellbound." I hope this finds you over your "sick spell," and enjoying the Fall weather. We are having another "warm spell" here, but, hopefully, a "cool spell" will be on its way soon. I've got to go "rest a spell" now. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Tonja said...

We are having a 'dry spell' here in LA...lower Alabama. But, I was just a red-headed hussy the same as a dime store hussy? I guess a hussy is a hussy is a hussy!

racheld said...


I wish you COULD come sit a spell---but not today. I wouldn't wish ME today on anybody. I'm still going on about three hours of sleep a night, and coughing the rest, so I stay in here so CHRIS can get some sleep.

We could still sit out in the arbor, though I have been out there in a week or so, and it's probably covered, brick and chairs, in scruffy leaves from all the overhanging limbs. But upstairs would be great---Caro has it decorated within an inch of its life, and we could sit in the sitting area with the little orange twinkle-lights on. I'd like to try some of that pumpkin spice tea or coffee that everybody is so crazy about.


I guess birds of a feather (or henna)---my only frame of reference is a young woman who came to work at the local truck stop when I was in high school, and she lived with the married couple who owned the place. She and her gorgeous copper-colored hair scandalized all the Good Church Ladies merely by dint of BREATHING, I think. I LONGED for that hair color all my life.

And we, too, have been under a dry spell and a fire watch (first EVER) since the first of JULY.
My back yard crunches under your feet like frost.

Kat said...

Love this post sweet friend! Since I've always lived in the south, I've heard all of those sayings. Loved the way your words captured the true meaning of every use of it.

Happy weekend hugs,

Beverly said...

Dear Rachel, it is past time for your sickly spell to end. I will cast a spell of wellness your way. A close friend of mind would say that you need to sip on her special mix - a bit of whiskey, honey and lemon juice. I don't know about the actual curative value, but I can say that it made me feel better on occasion I had to do a presentation. I don't have a clue what I said, but I sure did get the compliments. I'm not much of a drinker or sipper, either.

I wouldn't mind the leaves one little bit. We'll just brush them aside, and we'll sip our coffee together. We don't even have to talk, we can enjoy the company and the quiet.

Now, about the hussy. I am proud to say that I don't think anyone has every thought of me as a hussy. I will say that I have come across a few in my days.

Kim Shook said...

Wonderful post, Rachel! I never thought about all the uses of 'spell'. It's a wonderful word, huh?

I don't believe that I've ever caused anyone to call me a hussy (not sure how I feel about that, actually), but my Italian great-grandfather once called me a heifer because I stayed out all night when I was 13 (I was at a slumber party).