Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Have you ever watched the TV show Swamp People, riding along with alligator hunters in Cajun country? They all have a dialect and way of speaking that makes the show so much fun to watch. I am also really taken in with how happy they are just to live a simple life on the swamp, with family and few friends. North Dakota living was a simple, quiet life back when in the fifties and sixties too.
I am an Arizona resident now, transplanted from North Dakota and there is no where I'd have rather been from. I love the North and I love the South and the East and West for that matter. I don't understand people who have to be all one or the other, and put down people from different parts of the country. I find it particularly humerous that those that have the most negative to say about the Midwest, couldn't fix a flat tire if they had too, or much else for that matter. They would be "city slickers" and viewed by ND natives as in need of some help,( and they'd be the first to help you out). What you know and how you speak is all about what you've been exposed to. Everywhere you live has good and bad. Some of my favorite memories about North Dakota is the dialects, accents and even more...the euphemisms and metaphors we use in funny ways. Some of my favorite sayings we used and still use at times are:
There's too many Chiefs and not enough Indians ( some would scream racist these days but...) Mom used this one a lot, to insinuate that theres to many bosses and not enough workers.
A bird in the hand is worth two the the bush
Dark as a sack of black cats
Dumb as a box of rocks
Whatever pulls your plow
Haven't seen her for a "month of Sundays"
He's a tall drink of water
Your barn doors open
Gotta talk to a man about a horse
Uglier than a mud fence
That's as scarce as hens' teeth
Slick as a whistle
I could run circles around her
Poor as a church mouse
Blind as a bat
Slept like a theif in a horsebarn(one I use all the time)
Don't get your shorts in a bind
She has him tied to her apron strings
Read between the lines
Turn the tables on them
Sick as a dog
Slower than molasses in January
Whet my whistle
He's got some "clodhoppers" on
Crazy as a loon
Drinks like a fish
Lies like a rug
Sharp as a tack
Down in the dumps
Quiet as a mouse
Don't go "Shootin' off your mouth"
Cut a rug
Naked as a jay bird
Worthless as tits on a Nun (that ones bad but gotta own it)
Uncomfortable as a whore in church
Snug as a bug in a rug
Kept us in stitches
Make hay while the sun shines
If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all
My sister's children all grew up here in Phoenix, so her Grand kids call us on our silly way of speaking. Nyah especially, Heather and Jim's oldest daughter. When she was only two years old, we went to Bismark for Shelbeys' wedding party and stopped at a gas station along the way. She asked her Grandma Marcy, "What are we doing here?" Marcy said, "Oh we're just stretching our legs". We all burst out laughing when we saw her little hands on the van, full out stretching like a runner, because she took it literally! Another time she noticed I had a skinned knee and ask, "what happened to your knee Pam"? And I said," Oh, I banged it on something...". She came back with, "no you didn't bang it, you bumped it"!
A lot of people from here probably think we are swamp people when we start spewing out all our silly sayings, but some are cleaver and colorful. We had a lot of humor in our surroundings. My Dad would come in from doing chores and say, "It's a nice morning this morning, but it were as nice a morning this morning as it was yesterday morning, it would be a really nice morning this morning"! Or whenever we sat down at the table to eat supper, my Dad would say, "The one who eats the fastest gets the most"!
One of my Uncles, Dewey Jarmin, was hilarious and always had a good story. When Clarence and Gordon Alvstad visited, they "kept us all in stitches" around the kitchen table and a pot of coffee. My Dad's cousin Elmer even in his nineties is full of jokes and silly commentary. I wrote this particular blog entry so I don't forget a lot of them, and to write them down for the kids. Oh and.... maybe bring a smile to some faces. Add to my list of you think of some, I'd love you to.
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