The other morning Granny asked The Deer Hunter if he heard someone shooting way up in the middle of the night. He didn't hear it nor did Paul or I so I'm thinking Granny heard something she thought was a gunshot. Or then again, maybe we all slept through it leaving Granny to wonder about the shot.
Anyway, my mind latched onto the way Granny described the time she heard the gunshot: way up in the middle of the night.
I've said those very same words to describe the exact time one of the girls called out to me because they were sick at night or to describe the time of night that I heard an unusual noise.
Not to long ago my unusual noise was a towering pine tree out on the ridge that finally succumbed to the beetle damage and fell during the night. I kept thinking someone was doing something with a piece of tin I guess it was the tree settling and sliding down the steep side of the ridge. By morning I had forgotten about the noise until The Deer Hunter asked me "Did you hear that tree fall way up in the middle of the night?" See he says it too.
What exact time is way up in the middle of the night?
Even though I describe the time of night that way, it's still hard for me to say exactly when it is. For sure past midnight but before dawn is the best description I guess.
The phrase is so very typical of our lovely Appalachian language. Instead of saying during the night we feel the need to offer the information in a very descriptive detailed manner so that the listener knows exactly what we mean.