Fixin’ to Carry you to the Store

October 18, 2023 1 By Mirm

I am marveling at language and how it changes. I am startled by social cues and the evolution of language. I love talking to my bestie about slang and phrases that have faded in popularity. I always have been. Perhaps I should have stuck with my high school plan to become an etymologist and linguist.

I was in Alabama recently and we were talking about some of the things our parents and grandparents used to say that we don’t say anymore. These are things I have heard my whole life and now that my dad is not around to say them I realize they were things he said because he was a southerner. In honor of my southern heritage and my dad who would be 90 years old tomorrow if he was alive, I thought I would share a few of things I miss hearing.Not only do they say things with a certain cadence and lilt, but they often need interpretation:

Mash a button – press or push

Fixin to – getting ready to 

Up yonder – over yonder – somewhere besides here

might could – maybe

poke – a bag

Carry you – take you to 

Have a hankerin’ –  I am in the mood for or have a craving for

A ways … not here or now

Reckon so -yes – sure

That’s so sweet – I like it

Chunk it – throw it away

All get out – to the ultimate degree

Buggy – cart 

trade days – flea market or swap meet

get some grits – go eat 

catheads – a large biscuit

kiddy corner – cattywampus –  askew

mess of – a lot of

flat out – as fast as possible

hush up – be quiet

cokcola – all soft drinks

lightin’bugs – fireflies

Now we come to “Bless your heart” and its variations. This expression is a linguistic chameleon and means so many different things. It is kind of like Aloha in Hawaii. It can mean “Oh my Goodness” or “I’m sorry” or even “That person is clueless”! It can even mean Thank you – you shouldn’t have and That’s funny. Some even use it as a way to excuse things or placate someone. The point is that it is an expression that can mean a whole lot of things, depending on who’s saying it to whom where and when.

There are more things that I could say  – and I haven’t even touched on the unique foods that have been part of my palate including grits, fried okra, Alabama white sauce, biscuits and gravy, black eyed peas, tomatoes, pimento cheese, sweet tea, Milos, BBQ, cornbread, pecan pie, boiled peanuts, fried chicken, lane cake, figs, blackberry everything, creamed potatoes, green beans. …