Today's Paper Newsletters LEARNS Guide Obits Distribution Locations Public Notices Digital FAQ Razorback Sports Crime Puzzles Today's Photos

OPINION | Lisa Kelley-Gibbs: Back-country sayings brighten winter day

Best gossip on porches by LISA KELLEY-GIBBS My Roots Are Showing | February 2, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.

Because much of the news is tough to read and watch these days, I thought another lesson in Southern vernacular might brighten a few moods. I know, it won't fix the world's troubles, but at the end of the day, the only thing we can control is ourselves -- which is a shame, really, seeing as how I struggle to control myself more than half the time. But for this half, I'm bent on having a bit of levity for the day.

That reminds me of folks back home in the far reaches of rural America -- the Pollards, Piggotts and McDougals of the world. My great-grandmother would often sit on the porch of her faded white farmhouse and shell peas or snap beans in a large enamelware bowl. If you wanted to sit on the porch or at the kitchen table with her, she'd have a bowl ready for you to help. They found enjoyment while they worked, with much laughter shared on those porches and at those tables, and there still is in many corners of the world I adore:

"Honey, sit down. You're wound tighter than an eight-day clock. Here's a pan of peas. Let's put that all that young energy into something useful."

"Hey, did y'all hear about the farmer who was driving his truck back to his farm after getting a load of manure for his field? Yeah, the deputy stopped him, said he was writing him a ticket. 'Bout that time, some of the flies from the manure started to buzz around the deputy's pen, and he went to swattin' and carryin' on. The farmer said, "Them's circle flies. We call 'em that 'cause on the farm, they always circlin' the horse's hind quarters." The deputy looked up and said, "You calling me a horse's butt?" The farmer said, "No sir, I'd never. But you can't fool them flies."

"I declare, I do think the cheese has slid off your cracker."

"Did y'all know that Cletus was marrying Earline? I couldn't believe it. Poor Earline. Cletus never was much of a worker. He'll never drown in his own sweat."

"Ethel, where on earth did you hear that? Cletus and Earline are not getting married, and if they were, it wouldn't be any of our business anyway."

"I heard it from Loretta. She said she saw 'em at the courthouse getting the papers. Guess every pot's got a lid."

"Loretta?! Well, there's an authority for ya. That woman's got enough mouth for 10 rows of teeth, the way she gossips. She talks and talks and says nothing. She best be careful Earline's daddy doesn't find out about her rumors. He's tougher than a one-eared alley cat and won't think twice about straightenin' her out."

"Eh, I doubt it would stop Loretta. You want somethin' known, you telephone or tell-la-retta."

"That's it, I'm going in. The skeeters are eatin' me alive."

"Yeah, those ol' circle skeeters are bad this time of year."

Print Headline: Old ways, sayings comfort


Sponsor Content