We were talking the other
week about old timey words and phrases that our grandparents used. Several
of our readers have called or written with other conversational antiques.
One reader wrote and said
that when he was a child, hearing his parents and uncles and aunts talk,
he heard them say what he thought was "I, Yi!" This phrase was used to
signify that the speaker agreed with whatever was being discussed. It
turns out that this phrase came from our own Navy...and was a Southern
version of "Aye, aye!"
Teddy Roosevelt used
"bully" often. He meant that whatever he was talking about was really
good. In TR's day, "bully" became a commonly used expression.
"Now mind ye," meant to pay
attention, pay heed, and to listen to what I'm going to tell you.
Sometimes our words just
change meaning. "Fine" and "Coarse" used to mean things completely
different from the way we use those words today. "Fine" was used in music
to indicate a treble or high note. "Coarse" was used to describe a bass or
very low note. "Fine" also meant something small and "coarse" to describe
Another reader wrote and
said he remembered his grandmother talking about the "kwiled" up snake!
That was, he said, a mispronunciation for a coiled or coiled up snake.
"Skwush" was another way of
saying squash, as in smashing something!
Another reader said she
remembered her grandmother saying, after a trip to Albany from Moultrie,
"If the world is as big the other way as it is this way, it is sure to be
a big place."
I remember, "Don't mean
maybe." When my Grannie said that, I knew that I was to do whatever she
had commanded with no questions asked.
Did you ever hear "You kids
stop a-messin' and a-gaumin'?" Amazingly to me, it's in one of Mark
Twain's books and means to smear with a sticky substance.
Speaking of old fashioned
phrases, I ran across something that really made me think. It seems that
the rest of the world thinks that Southerners use "Y'all" singularly. I
don't ever recall using (and I do use this often) this when speaking to
one person...and don't ever remember hearing anyone do this. Do you?
Did you ever hear, "He was
so lazy he carried a cat under his arm to breathe for him!" I don't
remember hearing that one, but I will use it for sure!
I read that when repeating
rifles first came out, the hunters said, "Load it on Sunday and shoot it
I remember, when asked how
she was doing, my sweet mother-in-law used to say, "Why, Dear One, I'm
fine as frog hair!"
If you are a fan of auto
harp and traditional mountain music, here's a treat if any are left:
Madonna Short has produced 1,000 copies of a recording of mountain,
nostalgic and gospel songs. Short has written and performed the music
accompanied by auto harp and the real, traditional music of the mountains.
The price is $10 plus $2 s/h from Kentucky Craft, PO Box 670, Olive Hill,
KY 41164. Email
Speaking of old fashioned
music, you can get a recording sung with mandolin, guitar and harmonica
called Sacred Songs of Long Ago. It's a one-hour cassette and songbook for
$14.94 postpaid. Write Brett Young, Box KSA-3491, Knoxville, TN 37927.
When the new crop of corn
comes in this year, here's a very old recipe for "Corn Roast."
You take one cup of corn,
one-fourth cup of cream, three-fourths cup of milk, one and a fourth cup
of toasted bread crumbs, one tablespoon of grated onion, two eggs and one
Beat the eggs slightly and
add the milk, cream, corn, salt and bread crumbs. Let stand for 15 or 20
minutes. Turn into a buttered pan and bake in a "moderate" oven for about
30-40 minutes. Serve with cream sauce or white sauce.
For the White Sauce: You
will need four tablespoons of butter, four tablespoons of flour, two cups
of milk and one teaspoon of salt. Heat the milk in a double boiler, but
don't let it reach the scalding point. Rub the butter, flour and salt
together until smooth, then slowly pour over them the heated milk. Stir
until smooth and thickened.
This recipe came long
before calories were invented.