Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Heavens to Betsy!


For Christmas, a couple of friends gifted me the cutest adult coloring book, full of "Southern Sayins & Sass." I can't tell you how addictively therapeutic it has been to sharpen up my colored pencils and go to town in this little book. I have also thoroughly enjoyed reliving so many Southern sayings this coloring book has brought back into memory. These are phrases that I just don't hear as often in North Carolina as I did growing up back in small town Georgia, but they are as charming as ever.


Naturally, I started with the granddaddy of them all. North or South, near or far, we all know about the different nuances of having your heart blessed. I was pleased, however, to discover that my new coloring book delved into some other phrases you might have just forgotten about. Now, hold your hissy fit and don't get your knickers in a knot, I know you didn't just fall off the turnip truck. Butter my butt and call me a biscuit, here are some of my favorites:

If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. This one isn't just Southern, y'all, it's universal. Keep Mama happy no matter what it takes, or you will live to regret the consequences. It's not so much a saying as it is a warning, so heed this little bit of wisdom, I beg of you. Love you, Mom. Mean it.

Slicker than a greased pig at a county fair. I don't know much about county fairs, to be honest. I grew up in a small town that had carnivals, which admittedly lack the fanfare and pomp that county fairs possess. Riding the Tilt-a-Whirl in the Wendy's parking lot just does not compete on the same level as seeing a life-size cow sculpted from home churned butter. In my single trip to the Anderson County fair in college, I'm afraid I didn't see any pigs, greased or otherwise, although I did get to see Rascal Flats give a free concert while sitting comfortably on a bale of hay. A quick Google search brings up tons of greased pig competitions, taking places at county fairs near and far, whereby the competitors and the pigs are all greased, and each participant tries to grab themselves a greased pig and hold on the longest to win what I can only fathom is a tremendous prize. Plus bragging rights, which we all know are priceless.

Naked as a jaybird. If you're not familiar with this one, it's a genteel term used to describe someone who is stark naked. As it turns out, in the 19th century, a "jaybird" wasn't a bird at all, but a nickname for a hick or a bumpkin. Naked as a jaybird means someone is as vulnerable as those naive folks would have been, although I would rather be naive in public than naked, given the option. I suppose no matter what, it's better than being so ugly you'd scare the buzzard off a gut pile.

Southern cooking makes you good looking. I'm afraid I'm going to have to beg to differ on this one. I am a product of the South, I love good Southern cooking, and hence I have been on a diet since the ripe old age of six. Macaroni and cheese, chicken and dumplings, all those ooey gooey casseroles, fried okra, fried chicken, fried green tomatoes (notice a pattern forming here?)...all these things are delicious, and they will make you happy--they may even make you want to "smack your mama"--but pretty they do not necessarily do. Unless your idea of beauty is fluffy, pudgy, round things, in which case Southern cooking will absolutely do the trick.

This one is (highly) debatable. Pass the biscuits, just in case.

Going to hell in a handbasket. I did a little research on this one, because it happens to be one of my favorites. While no one really knows where this catchy little phrase originated, one theory is that it comes from the use of handbaskets to catch heads in the guillotining method of punishment. Those heads were caught in baskets and their previous owner was thought to have gone straight to hell. However it came to be, I find it colorful and it conjures images of hell fire and fury combined with accessorizing, and I am a fan.

Party 'til the cows come home. If you haven't noticed, cows don't to much in a hurry. This one means to party for a long, unhurried amount of time, presumably until those cows get done grazing and come home early in the morning to be milked. You didn't know farm life was such a good time, now did you?

Wicked chickens lay deviled eggs. You know not to put them all in one basket, but what about those deviled eggs? First and foremost, as a Southerner, this one makes me hungry for my mama's deviled eggs. Sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard, Duke's mayonnaise, and top them with a sprinkle of paprika (you know, for color). Wait, I'm getting off course here. I do believe what this saying is that you reap what you sow. Don't expect a wicked chicken to lay you a saintly golden egg; if you believe that, well, you're dumb enough to throw yourself on the ground and miss.

Well, sugar my foot, all this talk has got me, as my coloring book would say, plumb tuckered out. I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park to have shared some of these with you, and I'm hoping I've explained some of these little ditties without leaving you as lost as last year's Easter egg. I think I'll get out that box of colored pencils and see what other catchy phrases I can get into: in other words, I'm fixing to color up a storm, y'all.