Even though I was raised in an area of California that was quite a melting pot I never had the pleasure of meeting a true southerner, until I met the man who was to become my husband. He came complete with the heavy southern accent and all of the cute little colloquialisms that made my sister and I politely smile and secretly giggle. And even though some of his expressions were different from mine I had no trouble understanding what he meant, (most of the time).
There was one word however, one word that I learned to hate, yonder-Yonder-YONDER! What the hell is it , where the hell was it, and why in the HELL does he keep saying that word? I simply couldn't comprehend the concept of the word. I remember the first time like it was yesturday, he was working on a vehicle and he said, "get me that socket yonder" , I said "what", he "the socket, yonder", me "where?", he "over yonder, honey", me again "where", he repeated it and pointed. Oh , thank you God I thought, he pointed, so I went right to where he pointed and there was the socket, so I picked it up and gave it to him. O.K. by now I have deduced that yonder meant there.
After that it was always the same scenario, yonder, what, yonder, where, over yonder-- but he was good at pointing so he always got what he wanted. In the meantime I began to feel like he was the master and I was a puppy that was being trained and was to stupid to understand the comands. YONDER puppy fetch, fetch puppy fetch. Poor puppy what would happen if puppy didn't fetch the right tool? Whould puppy be reprimanded.
Well it finally happened, master didn't point just right and puppy fetched the wrong wrench. He had the nerve to yell. Wrong move, puppy was ready to bite and the fight was on. Shaking the wrench over my head and screaming at the top of my voice all my frustrations came out in one big blurt I said, What the hell is YONDER, where the hell is YONDER, and why the the hell do you always say YONDER. I don't know where YONDER is? So why can't you say on the bench, on the floor, in the grass, on the driveway, up your....or anything but YONDER! All five feet, Ninty-nine lbs of me was ready to hit his six ft. big head if I had to climb on a chair to do it and he knew it.
The fight was over, I got an apology---need I say more.
I must admit that understanding some southern expessions are a bit difficult. A few years after we were married we decided to move to Arkansas. One of my sister-in-laws was visiting me. She was a teacher a highly intellegent and interesting person. I can't remember if she was talking about her aunt or cousin, anyway she was talking about taking her places. She said she went to her house and picked her up and carried her shopping and carried her out to eat and carried her to the market and that she was the one in the family to carry her everywhere. Well forgive me but--I thought the woman was crippled so I asked if she was in a wheel chair. OOPS, I had no idea that carried meant to take some one some place. Never in my life had I heard that expression. So we both had a good laugh.
It takes a minimum of fifteen years to be accepted in Arkansas and that's only if you are able to make the cut.
After living in the town of Montrose (which I called Hell), in the middle of a cotton field, we found a little house in Hamburg and moved. I had a neighbor. Whoppy! You don't have neighbors in the middle of a cotton field. I thought how wonderful. Well my husband met the man next door when he was out in the yard. Everything went well since they were both southerners. I, for example found that I was being peeked at by the lady of the house next door through the window everytime I went outside. I couldn't figure it out was there something wrong with me or with her?? But we both had children so they began to play together and that helped to break the ice. Eventually we became friends even though it was obvious she thought I was different. When someone new would move to the neighborhood she would call and discribe them (like I cared). She discribled them by where they were from, like they came from Boston and they talked funny or they came from California-you know like you. And this went on for years. One day the phone rang and it was her someone moved here and she said they're from Ohio, they seem nice but you know they talk funny they're not like us. I said what do you mean not like us, remember me I'm the one from California. She started to giggle and said oh you know what I mean, they're just not like us.
To this day she still calls me when someone new comes to the area and says the same thing and I still kiddingly say, what do you mean us, and she still giggles and says , Oh you know what I mean.
Ya, I guess I do know what it means, I've become a southerner. Not by birth but by proxy, somewhere along the way she voted me in.
It's nice to be accepted!!