The View From The Loft – April 2018
Have you ever been catapulted down memory lane when you least expected it? It happened to me the other day when I was watching JEOPARDY!, and they were looking for a synonym for THROW.
The answer was CHUCK. Yep, CHUCK. Suddenly I was 12 years old, it was 98 degrees and I was in more trouble than you could shake a stick at for chucking my grandmother’s apples across the street. I have never heard that word used in that context by anyone but her.
Now I grew up in Macon, which everybody knows is the center of sophistication and culture in central Georgia as Newnan is in the western part of the state. So when I journeyed to my grandparent’s house in McRae I was much too cultured and refined to lapse into the colloquial speech of the region. After a week, however, I had subconsciously committed that vocabulary to memory only to have it erupt during an episode of JEOPARDY!
Everybody over the age of 50 who is from the South has relatives like mine. Now I long for those days and those characters, but at the time I was confused. Another term that always threw me was, Mess. A mess of fish, a mess of greens or a mess of corn. There is no such thing as a mess of tomatoes, you count them … everybody knows that.
To confuse the matter even further they could actually quantify a mess. “Oscar went fishin but he come home with just half a mess of fish.” Half a mess should never be confused with pretty near a mess. I think half a mess means you need to go fishing again and pretty near a mess means you can still have supper but everybody won’t get as much as they want.
I grew up watching my grandmother make biscuits, pie crusts, dumplings, cakes and fried pies without ever referring to a recipe. She tried to teach me but I never mastered adding enough milk until “it gets bout like this.” It had to be that or my inability to distinguish between a smidgen and a pinch.
We won’t even talk about “bless her heart.” That one has been worked to death. All Southerners know that’s just a fill in the blank sentence that allows you to be nice or nasty as the mood strikes you.
All I know is this; If you want to get in a world or mess, just chuck a rock and see what happens to you.
(Jim Coleman is twice retired as a financial advisor and flight attendant. A theatre geek, musician, arts administrator and preservationists, he lived a relatively obscure life until he crossed paths with Corby Winters. Jm choose Newnan as his new forever home five years ago and is dedicated to making our community the best it can be.)