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Thurston's Musings
by Thurston Howell



Here are some Southern Sayings and Thangs stored in my cobwebby mind:

The Stouts -- Ambition, energy, initiative. "I'll clean my apartment up one of these days when I get the stouts.” I first heard this as a teenager from a great aunt from Fitzgerald, Georgia, in about 1951.

Delcies (pronounced "delsies") -- Delicacies. Refers to cookies, cupcakes, candy bars, etc.; items purchased "at the store" along with regular groceries.

"I don't want to git no higher'n pullin' fodder, nur no lower'n diggin' taters." An expression first heard from an ex-sailor of World War II, a native Old Floridian, while he was reminiscing about service days with a bunch of ol' boys at the coffee shop. The reference was to his declining offers for placement in Naval Air or Submarine services. The expression means to avoid any job or other endeavor which poses unusual risks.

Thur meaning ”they” -- As in: "Do thur hast any more news about Eye-raq on TV?"
More Rome-Fitzgerald, Georgia, talk.

Ba'try meaning “battery”

My dad was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, in 1910. Then in 1912, the family moved quite suddenly to this area of Florida. (See Unsolved Mysteries) The Mississippi pronunciation of some words stayed with him. Yet, oddly enough, one of his younger brothers was born down here, but sounded much more “Mississippi” than the rest of the family.


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And more from Thurston:

The Ladies' Love Feast


This event is common throughout the South. I don't know when or where it started, nor do I know how it propagated. It seems to be something that was spontaneous in inception and remains so in execution.

There appears to be no formal scheduling of the event. Nor is it even named. The header is just one I came up with. And the communicants seem to be unaware that this is a ritualized Event. And that it is spread throughout the South.

The Event consists of three or more women getting together at someone’s house for a noon meal. Order and elements of the feast appear to be rather rigid. Central to the feast is one cooked green vegetable--preferably fried chopped okra.

Next in importance is the hoecake. The hoecake is cooked on top of the stove in a large skillet. It’s made of biscuit ("scone" to y’all Britishers) dough.

A slice of tomato, a slice of onion, a slice of cucumber, and one or two green onions complete the edible portion of the meal.

Sweet ice tea is the beverage. After the meal, the green onions are nibbled delicately while the ice tea is drunk.

For regular meals, okra for frying is usually chopped in anything that is handy: a bowl, plate, chopping block. But for the ladies’ meal it is always chopped in a large aluminum or granite pan.

Conversation among the women is always subdued. Not the usual animated chatter of the usual hen sessions. Very quiet and softly spoken.

My late wife, Ohio born and bred, always used to say, "Three men can get along; three women can't.”

Maybe this Event was Southern women's way of saying, "That's not always so....."


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Want more? Here you go:

You're a native Floridian if:

-you don't care what color your neighbor paints his house.

-you know what the word "cowhunter" means.

-you know that a hammock is a wooded area, not a sling bed.

-you can remember when a 20 minute drive would take you from
an expensive coastal urban resort area all the way out to a hammock
in Plum-40 where there is a combination grocery store-filling station-post office.

-you know what Plum-40 means.

-you're really not that fond of orange juice.

-you can understand a French tourist's broken English easier than you
can someone from Pot-land, Maine. or Bass'ton, Mass.

-you can understand someone from Pot-land, Maine, or Bass'ton, Mass easier
than you can your relatives from Fitzgerald, Georgia.

-you consider it perfectly proper to wear white socks after 6 p.m.

-you are a man, and ask, "What's an undershirt?"

-you are a woman, and ask, "What's a slip?"

-you know how to pronounce "Thonotosassa."

-you know how to spell "Thonotosassa."

-you know where Thonotosassa is.

-you're tired of convincing people from Ohio that you can, indeed, get
Vernors' Ginger Ale in Florida. And APC tablets. And that Monte Makham
came from Manatee, Florida. Not Toledo, Ohio.

-you constantly have to tell people from Indiana that mangoes are not bell peppers.

-cutting your grass is a chore, not a lawn beauty treatment.

-fertilizing your lawn is considered a form of mental illness.

-you don't even have a lawn; you have a yard.

-tourists from Nova Scotia and Virginia sound alike to you.

-you call Canadians "Yankees."

-you notice that some people from New Jersey sound Southern.

-you notice that some people from New Jersey say "y'ens."

-your relatives in Fitzgerald, Georgia, chide you about Florida not being
Southern, and you take great delight in telling them that you have to
go North to get to Georgia.


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Write Thurston Howell at thowell6.


For more great southern expressions, go to: South Mouth.

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