Sometimes there is no better or funnier way to say something than to repeat a phrase from the past. Whether that phase is one of wisdom and instruction, a humorous look at human behavior or both, they just bear repeating and thus become the very heart of a culture or a flag of distinction that sets a certain sect of the population apart from the general melding pot of American Life.
Southernisms—those little sayings in the South that capture moments of life—are an unforgettable snapshot of wisdom and humor and deserve to be kept alive. For those of you who are unsure about what a Southernism is, let me give you some examples that will hopefully tickle your funny-bone.
“Butter me up and call me a biscuit.”
“The engine’s runnin’ but nobody’s driving.”
“You look like you’ve been rode hard and put away wet.”
“You can’t ride two horses with one ass.”
“Lyin’ like a legless dog.”
I didn’t realize how much Southern I had in me until, I started writing the Weldon Brothers Series— about southern bad boys of Irish descent who grew up on a farm in Savannah Georgia, and my upcoming Southern Steam Series (See Covers Below). As I put the words on the page not only did Southernisms begin to color my story, but also a southern-rich view of home and family began to flavor the stories, adding both humor and heart.
Available now Books 1-3 of the Weldon Brothers Series
Here is a sample Southernism from my latest release Hard Irish Luck:
Rocky rounded the front of her pick-up and headed his way. “Let me help,” she said as he pulled out the clothes-filled overnight bag Jackson had given him, along with a pair of crutches. He wore a polo shirt and cargo shorts that he borrowed from Jackson, his jeans and shirt too bloodied and stained to wear.
“I got it,” Jared muttered. Even though he had an immobilizing boot strapped to his foot, Jackson still wanted Jared to keep weight off his foot until a radiologist read the x-ray—which wouldn’t happen until sometime tomorrow. It had been the final coffin-nail in Jared’s hero to the rescue illusions. Now he was an invalid on her doorstep.
Still, he wasn’t willing to call it quits. He knew if push came to shove there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do to assure her safety. It was the whole image thing that left him floundering.
“We have a problem.” Her hand on his stopped him in his stubborn-tracks. He shifted his balance, leaning back against the truck frame to stop and face her. Less than a foot away from him and just a few inches shy of his six-three, she nearly met him eye-level. The thought a making love to a woman who matched him so nicely physically, hit his hot button.
“What?” He didn’t pull his hand away, but forced himself to stay still and enjoy the heat of her touch despite the irritation in her gaze.
“If you can’t put common sense ahead of ego, then we’re going to go more than just toe-to-toe. Ask yourself, if the roles were reversed what would make sense. You carrying my bag up a few steps while I maneuvered on crutches, or I—”
“Be as stubborn as a blue-nosed mule and insist on doing it yourself.” A reluctant grin tugged on Jared’s lips. He liked the idea of going toe to toe, leg to leg, hip to hip, chest to chest, mouth to mouth, and everything else possible to her everything. In every way. “Are you calling me a blue-nosed mule?”
Rocky arched a brow, humor making her clover-green eyes even brighter. Jared smiled and slid his gaze slowly over her.
“Not at all. Myself.”
She took the bag from him and focused on his nose. “If the ring fits…”
“Ouch!” He tried to pretend outrage but ended up laughing. She did too, chasing the last bit of shadows that had been lingering in her expression since he’d met her. She glowed. It was a beautiful thing. The only look he could imagine as being better was ecstasy. He shook his head. “You’re a hard Irish woman, Roxanne McKenna.
Just as there are Southernisms, I know there are Northernisms and Westernisms as well. I’d love to hear about your favorite “isms.” Either comment them here or on my website at jenniferstgiles.com, or twitter them and include @jenniferstgiles #Southernisms . I’ll be giving away five copies of Hard Irish to those who make me laugh!
Meanwhile, down on the farm, I hope you get the chance to enjoy a taste of the south with the Weldon Series and Southern Steam Series.
Jennifer Saints, Jennifer St. Giles, JL Saint