Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Mountain Survival Guide for Yankees Part 1

For much of my life I have not realized that those of us from the mountains or the south, especially those of us from Appalachia, have an unfair advantage over the city born and raised, the Yankee and now the northern retiree with a pension to spend that comes to our hills, buys property and seeks to live among us.

Not that we mind them coming to the hills. They often find opportunity to buy vegetables an' fruits from our farmer's markets, junk from our barns when we have yard sales an' those knick knacks we might make an' sell.

A good example would be fellers who take ol' tobaccer sticks an' clean them up, spray with a little polyurethane, drill a hole at one end an' tie a leather strap through. They then sell them to the unsuspectin' Yankee for $10 each. Them Yankee folks think they got a bargain an' the farmer is glad to get rid of one of the thousands of ol' sticks in their barn.

Note; the above was for the mountain folks an' should be disregarded by you Yankees with money to spend. Them walkin' sticks are one fine deal an' I can give you a better deal if you want to buy a couple.

So, for those folks who still have their trainin' wheels on when it comes to mountain livin', here are a few helpful hints to make your time in the hills better!

First of all, understand that we don't give directions like you do. Often our directions are based on landmarks, or more important for you to remember, former landmarks that might no longer exist but are remembered by those who have lived here for generations.

Example: "Y'all go down this here road for a couple miles till you come to where Ray Bob Wilson had his cow barn. It is gone now, y'see. Turn left at the next road an' go, oh, I don't know, maybe a mile or two till you come to the field where Jr Simpson keeps his big ol' Angus bull. Now, he don't always have that bull in that field, but when you get to that field you take a right, go up the hill yonder an' look for a barn with squirrel hides nailed on the side of the barn. That is where Homer Poovey lives. Y'aint goin' to Homer's, I know. Charlie Jenkins is who you asked about. He lives right across from Homer in the single wide trailer there with his wife an' three youngin's."

Second, though we have our own dialect an' you may have to listen real close, y'all will get it after a while. We talk R E A L slow so you can keep up... bless your hearts.

First rule of grammer:understand the "Multiplicity Rule" of mountain grammer. Words are often spliced together for ease of use. An example of the word/words you might encounter?

TH'AIN'T. Words spliced? "They Ain't" How used? "Thain't no way I am gonna drink no espresso. I want coffee, black an' high test!"

Second, y'all will often hear the polysyllabic pronunciation of monosyllabic words. That is just how we say things down here in the hills. A good example is the word or name "Bill". Say it to yourself an' then understand when we say the same word/name it is pronounced "BEE-UHL". Not every monosyllabic word can be pronounced polysyllabically. Don't try to understand it. It ain't fittin' for you to do so.

On another note, don't try to imitate us. All of us in the hills have heard some northerner come down to the hills an' think it is funny to make a show of sayin' "You-all" or "Whut" instead of "What". It is offensive and will just honk folks off. Y'all won't make neighbors that way.

Last of all, don't think that because mountain folks talk slow or say "ain't" an' "y'all" that we are slow or stupid. Great men an' women have come from the hills an' the south. Dialect has nothin' to do with intelligence.

Yes, you may know Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton (all rich, by the way), but you might not remember Alex Haley, Mother Jones, James Agee, Homer Hickam, Jennifer Garner, Colonel Harlan Sanders, The Judds, Napoleon Hill, Dr. Bill Blass or John F. Nash, Jr., just to name a few famous Appalachians. (go ahead, google them)

They represent authors, musicians, actors, historians, engineers, a "rocket scientist" as well as other scientists, labor activists and businessmen/women. All of them might be called "hillbillies".

We are a proud folk with deep roots in them hills.

Oh, an' by the way... don't call us Lil Abner, Jethro, Daisy May or Daisy Duke. We all have lots of cousins an' know where y'all live. lol

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