I’m Just Like You..Only Prettier..

click here to play:

I know! This sounds just awful – unless you are from the south. If you are from the south, you understand.

We southerners have our own little dictionary that should accompany the Webster’s and be given in any Welcome Wagon Gift Basket that the Garden Club brings to the new neighbors. Actually, dear northern transplants, that is just a sneaky way for us to see the inside of your house before we are actually invited, catch you off guard, so to speak.

The song playing (if you clicked to play) is  Miranda Lambert’s new  song “Only Prettier”. I quote this line as my Facebook status (yes, still a Facecrack junkie, but not as bad as I was) often as I get a kick out of it! I love this song, and the reaction from my friends that are not from the south has been amusing.

But, it brings to mind other “Southernisms” that I have heard off and on through out my life.

My mother-in-law says “I Suwanee…” never really understood that one. I assume it means something like “I swear..”

” I suwanee… “ (It can kinda stand alone)

Southerners can get away with the most awful insults, as long as we are sure to say “Bless his heart..” or “Bless her heart..”

Bless her heart, she’s so bucktoothed she could eat an apple through a picket fence.

There’s dad burn it! – Now, dad didn’t burn anything ..it is an expression of frustration.

Dad burn’it! I dropped the skillet and spilled the collards.

Hissy? Well, girls have Hissy fits, boys have conniptions

If Peggy Sue sees that Patty Joe is wearing the same dress she is, she is going to have a hissy fit.

If Bubba scratches Paws’ truck, Paw is gonna have a conniption.

Purdy – well, that is the name of my cat, Purdy Kitty.. unfortunately, my youngest son wasn’t as blessed as I was, growing up only in the south,  and has just started to develop his southern accent. When we named Purdy, we were in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) and her named ended up “Pretty” dag nab it!

You have a purdy mouth. (OMG can’t believe I used that one! It was just the first thing that came to my mind! Dang “Deliverance” movie.)

dag nab it – damn it

Dag nab it, I wanted to name that cat Purdy not Pretty.

….so many others…

Then there are the expressions..

“He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.”

“I’m ’bout as Nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”

“Come sit a spell.”

“He whupped that ‘ole Bubba’s behind up one side and down the other.”

“Hotter than a whore in church.”

“He’s got more problems than Carter has Liver Pills.” ( I have only recently found that this means something different than what I thought – which was really, more of a generational difference than anything. In olden days, a popular over-the-counter medicine for liver problems was Carter’s Little Liver Pills. Having more problems than Carter has pills indicates a large number of problems.)

Of course, there are the few things that anyone who is new to the south must remember:

Coke is always Coke – even if it is Pepsi, it is still Coke (especially in Georgia, my friends- Atlanta being the home of Coca Cola)

Y’all is singular. All y’all is plural. All y’all’s is plural possessive.

If you hear a Southerner exclaim, “Hey, y’all, watch this!”, GET OUT OF THE WAY!! These are likely the last words he will ever say, or worse still, that
you will ever hear.

and in the south, it is a SIN to wear white after Labor Day and before Easter. It just is not done. Unless you live (like me) in Florida, and then it is ok. With only two seasons, it’s hard to tell when Summer Ends and Spring begins. (Of course,  raised in the south – try as I might, I still can not wear white after Labor Day.)

Being a transplanted Yankee at a very young age – I am Yankee by birth, Southern by the grace of God (sorry Daddy, but a southern girl I am), I understand a couple of things about the differences  in the North and the South. Northerners do not generally say “yes ma’am”and “no ma’am”. It is actually, in my experience, considered to be a sassin’ (another southernism)  adults if you say it. In the south, we often say “yes ma’am/sir” to people younger than us. It is not just out of respect, but a term of endearment.

Our children are also generally raised to call adults Miss (Jane, Sue or Sady or what ever your first name is) it’s a southern thing. It’s what we do.

While living in Washington, I couldn’t wait to get back home. Where the men opened doors for the women 9or heck, for whoever was coming in next for that matter) and I couldn’t wait to be called “sweet heart” by a perfect stranger again. Southern men do that. Southern women do, too, but depending on the tone, it can mean a totally different thing! I don’t have to be hateful, I can just say, “Bless your heart”

“So, ya’ll come on down and sit a spell. We’ll have some lemonade and collard greens, maybe a little white lightnin’ as the night goes on. We just gotta watch them big ‘ole boys cause if they git too much beer in ’em, they’ll get rowdy and wanna whupp up on somethin.

Don’t go gittin all gussied up, we’re just gonna roast a pig  and drink beer from the mason jars we dug out of the barn.

and well, if ya’ll can’t come, we’ll save ya’ll some for next time.

and remember, I’m just like you..only prettier.


6 responses to “I’m Just Like You..Only Prettier..

  1. Pingback: Well Bless Your Little Heart.. Understanding Southern | The random thoughts of a chaotic mind

  2. I get yelled at a lot by people because being a g.r.i.t.s. (Girl Raised In The South) I often refer to people as “darlin’, sweetheart, suga” and a multitude of over terms of endearment. That is just me, so when a northerner says, “Um my name is (whoever)…” I look at them a say “Okay darlin’!” I can’t help it. Having southern charm is really one thing that sets us apart from the north. P.s. I love saying “Bless your heart” it is funny and always leaves people who don’t understand the term with confused faces, love it :D!!!!

  3. Anna, love reading your posts especially this one. my wife gets onto me often about “my southern sayings”. its funny how we just have sayings for most everything. and the bless her heart is so true. not sure if you ever heard this one, they are as nervous as a cow in a meat market…lol

  4. Anna Allen Chappell

    Melissa – did you try to order grits? or sweet tea?

  5. Anna, let me just start by saying how much I do love you and am in LOVE with your post!! Holy cow!! I think you hit the nail on the head- gosh darnit!! When we moved to Cleveland Ohio, I have never been more out of place. It was truly another country that we moved to. They had no idea what a buggy was!! WHAT?? Yeah, I know. And they didn’t even know what Okra was!! Now how on earth can you live anywhere in the US and not know what okra is?? I have no clue. It was an adventure- and I am glad to be home in my beautiful state of Georgia where coke is every soft drink and y’all is heard more than any other word!! Thank you for your post!! xxoo

  6. So I take it our conversation yesterday got you thinking. Glad I could help.

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