was verb past tense of be, used with both plural nouns and plural pronouns as its subject. [OED dates this usage from the 14th century; DARE labels this usage "especially South, Midland" in the U.S.]
1801 Meigs Journal 4 A Spectator even without knowing the Language would be convinced that matters was well arranged. 1866 Elijoy Minutes 110 [T]he meeting lasted 16 days & nights during which time there was 27 baptised & there was 48 Joined the church. 1939 Hall Coll. (Cataloochee NC) We went over and put us up a still, and we was a-making some awful good [liquor]. It was so good you could taste the gal's feet in it that hoed the corn it was made out of. 1939 Hall Coll. (Sugarlands TN) They'd bunch up if you was sick and come work your corn for you and make quiltings and roll logs and grubbings, one thing and another, and help you when you was sick and disabled or you couldn't help yourself, but they don't do that anymore. 1969 GSMNP-44:12 They come from Ireland. They was Scot Irish. 1973 GSMNP-76:15 You had to work the roads six days a [year] after you was twenty-one years old. 1974 GSMNP-50:1:23 We was poor folks and hired out [to] get enough money to buy cloth to make me a dress. They didn't have dresses made up in the stores then.
The was usage described in the dictionary entry is beyond common in my area of Appalachia right down to my house household and my own mouth.
There are two quotes from the dictionary that caught my eye:
1939 Hall Coll. (Cataloochee NC) We went over and put us up a still, and we was a-making some awful good [liquor]. It was so good you could taste the gal's feet in it that hoed the corn it was made out of.
1939 Hall Coll. (Sugarlands TN) They'd bunch up if you was sick and come work your corn for you and make quiltings and roll logs and grubbings, one thing and another, and help you when you was sick and disabled or you couldn't help yourself, but they don't do that anymore.
p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing tomorrow Saturday March 25 at 6:00 p.m. at the Martins Creek Community Center.
The poem above is from Mommy Goose Rhymes from the Mountains written by Mike Norris.
I think Mike captured spring in Appalachia perfectly. You think it's warm, but the chill wind makes you quickly realize it's not!
Yesterday was the official first day of Spring. I feel like I'm so behind in my gardening endeavors that I may never catch up. I'm secretly hoping the cold weather stays just a little bit longer so that I can have more time to do what needs to be done before Old Man Winter is gone for good.
p.s. Rhymes from the Mountains CD is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Music, and a bunch more places online. Check it out on iTunes and listen to samples of the tracks here:
If you have the book without the CD, it's really not complete, as the song, narration, and 40-plus minute conversation with Minnie are a key part of the project. (And physical CDs can be ordered from Amazon.)
Bookstore versions of the book may be ordered many places online, but Amazon and The University Press of Ky [it's the university press of the whole state, not just UK] are two good sources.
p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing Saturday March 25 at 6:00 p.m. at the Martins Creek Community Center.
Chatter - 2004 Georgia
stub up verb phrase To become sullen.
1975 Chalmers Better 66 But should you contrary him, he may sull or stub up. 1999 Montgomery File, all stubbed up = become stubborn, uncopperative (55-year-old woman, Jefferson Co TN).
Chatter is the sweetest girl you ever seen! I'm sure I've told you, when she was just a toddler I started telling her she had a sweet gift. But let me tell you the girl can stub up like nobody you ever seen. Once she sets her mind to something there is no dissuading her.
When I was young Pap was always telling me not to stub up nor be so toucheous about things.
p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing TODAY Friday March 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Ranger's Elementary's Gospel Bluegrass & Barbecue. Tickets are on sale now $7.00 prepaid at the door they will be $10.00. Starts at 5:00 p.m.
miller noun A small moth having powdery scales on its wings and often attracted to light.
1883 Zeigler and Grosscup Heart of Alleghanies 115 Here, in the still waters under a bridging log, or in some hole amid the exposed water-sunk roots of the rhododendron, lie the king trout, during the middle of the day, on the watch for stray worms, or sill gnats, and millers which flit above, then drop in the waters, with as much wisdom and facility as they hover around and burn up in the candle flame. c1950 (in 2000 Oakley Roamin Man 74) I have a phebby bird that bilt its nest on the porch and my garden is near so the bird ketches all the bugs and millers that lay eggs on the garden stuff. 1986 Pederson et al. LAGS 12 of 42 (28.6%) of LAGS speakers using term were from E. Tenn. 1998 Montgomery Coll. (known to eight consultants). [so called from the resemblance of the powedery scales on the wings to the dust that accumulates at a ghrinding mll; OED miller1 2 1681 ->]
I grew up using the word miller to describe a moth. I don't think I ever heard Granny or Pap say anything but miller. It was only after I was an adult that I realized most folks say moth instead of miller.
One time I heard somebody say they had a miller fly up their nose and one of The Deer Hunter's friends said a miller flew in his ear and about drove him crazy fluttering around till he got to the doctor and let him pull it out.
weak trembles noun Tremor, general weakness of the body; anxiety.
1913 Kephart Our Sthn High 227-28 But old Uncle Neddy Cyarter went to jump one of his own teeth out, one time, and missed the nail and mashed his nose with the hammer. He had the weak trembles. 1943 Justus Bluebird 21 When the old man went to the woods or the field to work for a good while he always took along a bite to eat, not because he got hungry, he said, but to keep his stomach from getting the "weak trembles" as he called them. 1952 Wilson Folk Speech NC 605 have the weak trembles = to be worried. 1984 Wilder You All Spoken 205 = weak and wobbly because of hunger or apprehension. 1990 Cavender Folk Medical Lex 33 = a feeling of general weakness associated with mild trembles of the body. 1994-97 Montgomery Coll. (known to ten consultants).
I had the weak trembles at work one day last week. I felt like I could barely hold my head up, I was slightly dizzy, and sick at my stomach. My spell of weak trembles lasted much longer than usual and by dinner I had convinced myself I must be getting the flu. But I wasn't. After I eat a substantial meal and drank a coke instead of my usual glass of water I felt much better.
Typically a saltine cracker or biscuit and a sip of coke is enough to bring me right out of the weak trembles. How about you?
p.s. TODAY Thursday March 2, 2017 6:30 p.m. Don Casada will be presenting a history of the Bryson City Cemetery and stories of some of those who are buried there at the monthly meeting of The Swain County Historical and Genealogical Society meeting, everyone is welcome. Many of these people as well as the cemetery itself have played a significant role in the history and development of WNC. Info about the preservation and maintenance of the cemetery by Friends of the Bryson City Cemetery will also be included—Swain County Business Education Center 45 East Ridge Drive, Bryson City 28713 Conversation and Refreshments Following. All are welcome—No admission charge
It's time for this month's Appalachian Vocabulary Test.
I'm sharing a few videos to let you hear some of the words. To start the videos, click on them and then to stop them click on them again.
1. Homeplace: a farm or homestead where one's ancestors settled and built a home and where family members have lived for one or more generations. "He still thinks he's working the land on his old homeplace, even though he's been bed fast in a nursing home for years."
2. Hockey: feces. "Oh bull hockey! I forgot to go by the bank now I'll have to turn right around and go back to town."
3. Heathen: heathern. "I told you to quit running around screaming like a bunch of heatherns! If you keep it up I'm going to call your daddy!"
4. Heap sight: very much. "I hope our garden does a heap sight better than it did last year."
5. Hindside first: backwards "It won't fit!" "Yes it will if you put it in hindside first."
All of this month's words are still common in my area of Appalachia, although I don't hear the word hockey used near as much as I did when I was a kid. Please leave me a comment and let me know how you did on the test.
p.s. On Thursday March 2, 2017 6:30 p.m. Don Casada will be presenting a history of the Bryson City Cemetery and stories of some of those who are buried there. Many of these people as well as the cemetery itself have played a significant role in the history and development of WNC. Info about the preservation and maintenance of the cemetery by Friends of the Bryson City Cemetery will also be included—Swain County Business Education Center 45 East Ridge Drive, Bryson City 28713 Conversation and Refreshments Following. All are welcome—No admission charge
Photos courtesy of the Cherokee County Historical Museum
high sheriff noun A sheriff, the chief law enforcement officer of a county, in contrast to deputy sheriffs, constables, and other officers. Cf short sheriff.
1939 Hall Coll. Gatlinburg TN My daddy was high sheriff. (Richard Reagan) 1956 Hall Coll. Jones Cove TN Grandfather come back up here to Jonesboro, Tennessee, and married in eighteen twenty-six. He was high sheriff there for a while. (Lewis Hopkins) 1958 Wood Words from Tenn 11 Here...it is usual to refer to the duly elected sheriff as the high sheriff. Not only does this pay homage to his ascendancy, but it also distinguishes him from deputy sheriffs, constables, etc. 1973 GSMNP-4:33 Well, he was just a sheriff of that section over there. He wasn't high sheriff. 1973 GSMNP-83:26 I was sworn in five time deputy sheriff, and I was a special deputy under [the] high sheriff of Sevier County two year.
Pap always referred to the sheriff of Clay and Cherokee County as the High Sheriff. I don't think I've ever heard anyone else use the term and probably won't now that Pap's gone.
A few years back Blind Pig Reader Devonia Cochran left a humorous comment about the term high sheriff.
True story : a ZILLION years ago, I attended a school board meeting. The best I can remember - which is faulty - there were a couple kids who had been in some mischief and I think maybe it involved "illegal substance" /not sure - early 70s. One of the school board members who genuinely cared, leaned forward and asked the student, "Son, will you tell the High Sheriff?" Oh Tipper, by the look on that kid's face, I don't think the student had ever heard of the Sheriff as being "high." LOL
Have you ever been around someone who used the same word or words in every sentence? Years ago, I was introduced to a man who at the end of every sentence said and what not. I remember being obsessed with listening to him. I wanted to see if just once he wouldn't say and what not. It never happened. He said the phrase at the end of every sentence just like clock work.
A few other habitual sayings I've heard:
- you know
- you know what I'm saying
- now it'n it
- ah or uh
- the thing is
I'm sure you've heard some of the ones I mentioned, but sometimes folks habitually say things that aren't so common.
When Pap was growing up, Old Man Bud Baker lived over in the next holler. Pap said everyone loved Bud because he was a lot of fun to be around. Bud's habitual saying was si hell. Pap said no matter what Bud was telling or talking about he always started it with si hell.
Pap said one day Bud came around telling "Si hell I killed a rattlesnake that was 5 foot long yesterday." Pap's father, Wade, said he didn't really believe there were rattlesnakes that big. Bud answered back "Si hell I know it was cause I measured it."
Another elder from Pap's childhood named George was fond of saying now I hell at the beginning of his sentences. Actually Pap said George's entire family took up the habit of saying now I hell.
George lived at the head of Pinelog and one day a trader came to see him about buying a milk cow. The trader asked if the cow was a good milker and George told him "Now I hell she gives a waste of milk." Taking George's comment to mean the cow gave to much milk to use the trader bought the cow.
Didn't take long for the trader to figure out the cow wasn't a good milker. He soon came around to ask about the cow's lack of milk. George said "Now I hell I told you she gives a waste of milk. She gives enough to cream your coffee but not enough to make gravy!"
L.C. who was Pap's best friend was known for saying I tell you what at the start of his sentences.
After listening to the recording of Luke Bauserman interviewing me it's pretty obvious I've picked up the habit of saying you know.
Do you have a habitual saying or know someone who does?
courting = dating
sparking = dating
sweet on = means you like someone
he-ing and she-ing = hugging and kissing
slip off = elope
serenade or shivaree = a loud noisy celebration
occurring after a wedding
courts like a stick of wood = a person who is awkward
jump the broom = get married
took up = 2 people who start courting or move in together
going steady = serious dating
struck on = means you like someone
going with = dating
get hitched = get married
When I was young someone was always asking me if I was courting yet.
Granny and Pap slipped off from Granny Gazzie and got married without her knowing it.
Along with courting and slip off I still hear: took up, jump the broom, he-ing and she-ing, going with, struck on, and sweet on in my part of Appalachia. The others have faded away.
For more about courting in Appalachia-visit Dave Tabler's Appalachian History site.
I'm sure I left some courting sayings out-if you think of one leave it in a comment!
mingledy adjective Mingled in color.
1997 Montgomery Coll. (Adams, Bush, Cardwell, Norris, Oliver, Weaver).
Chatter got the prettiest mingledy scarf you ever seen from a friend about this time last year. I don't kow how she kept it hid from me, but I've already worn it to work twice since I found it in her closet about a month ago.