Godbey: People are the best entertainment

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

By Jack Godbey

Columnist

I have always found that people’s actions and conversations are far more entertaining that an episode of “As the World Turns” has ever been. Sadly, many of the things I’ve heard may be more at home on “The Jerry Springer Show” than a soap opera.

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I enjoy the things that make us different and unique. Regular readers of this column know that I am entertained by the way people talk and how it differs from area to area. I was speaking to a gentleman that was from another country that stated that although he spoke several languages, English seemed to trip him up the most. It’s no wonder since there are words that are spelled the same but with different meanings and depending on what part of the country you’re from, we may have an entirely different set of words that are only understood by people in that area.

Besides weird language, we also have foods that folks in our own country have never heard of much less another country. Where else will you find every meat known to man breaded and deep fried? Don’t forget that every dish is served with a side of grits. I’ll have to admit that I’m not much for grits. I’m not entirely sure that I know what a grit is, and I’m not willing to find out.

When I was growing up, my mother would make a pot of white rice and would then drown it in butter and sugar. To me, this was what rice was supposed to taste like. Imagine my surprise when years later, I ordered rice at a “southern” restaurant only to find that it wasn’t sweet at all. This place didn’t have butter sandwiches, fried green tomatoes, or biscuits and syrup. It was quite clear they knew nothing about southern cooking.

I have written before about strange southern sayings and when I thought about my childhood, I remembered some gems that would leave someone trying to learn the English language crying in their corn flakes. When I ate too many bologna sandwiches and outgrew my school clothes, my mother would say, “Well I swanee”. What in the world is a swanee? If you ask a southerner if they can help you move, they say, “I might could”. I’m never sure if that means they are going to show up or not.

I’ve heard that when someone gets angry, they are, “Madder than a wet hen”. I’ve seen some angry hens in my day but none of them were wet. Except that time, I sprayed one with the water hose but that’s another story. The person might then, “Throw a hissy fit”. If you don’t know what a hissy is, then you’re not alone but it’s usually clear when someone is throwing one.

I’ve heard people say that a girl is, “Pretty as a peach”. So, she’s orange with fuzz on her face? Seems strange to me. Many times, I’ve asked someone what they were up too, and they say, “Just piddling.” Where does one go to learn the art of piddling?

Someone once said that I was “getting too big for my britches.” Well, thanks to the invention of macaroni and cheese, I’ve been too big for my britches since I was 5. Nothing new.

I heard someone say that they were, “Barking up the wrong tree”. Even if you’re barking up the right tree, you still may be committed if you are barking up trees at all. That’s not normal behavior.

There are so many of these southern expressions that I could list “ ’Til the cows come home.” Since no one has any idea when that actually is, I’ll just end it right here.