The underbrush is black and charred
And half-burned logs are scattered
Like abandoned hopes and dreams.
I still look for you.
Brown leaves have covered over
The desolation left behind
By leaping flames and burning tinder.
And in the rhododendron thicket
At the feet of a blasted shrub,
New and tender life is growing,
Springing forth from a dying stalk.
Could it be that you are near?
We've been collecting some more country dialect, and some of these expressions we'd almost forgotten. We had an email from April Lopez, whose father was raised in Nicholas County. He used the phrase "briggity britches," and she asked several people (younger generation) in the Summersville area if they'd ever heard the word. They hadn't. Of course I have. It was one of the favorite insults we hurled at our siblings, along with "prissy cat" and "pooky-pile."
Actually "briggity britches" was used to describe someone who was a "little above their raisin'" or was "putting on airs." We would also say, "Boy, she's really putting on the dog!" I guess being pretentious was one of the worst faults to country people. It brings out the worst in our daughter Patty, which causes her to act "dumber than a sled track."
My late Cousin Hazel, who was one of the most delightful people you'd ever meet, had a collection of funny expressions. Cousin Phyllis invents them. She said that when she was young, she would fight at the "drop of a bucket." She once told her daughters, when they were trying to do a makeover on her, "that you can't make a silk sow out of a purses' ear!"
Cousin Hazel sent me some "skid talk" once. "She says one thing and out the other." "That's the best lunch I ever put in my whole mouth!" "I'm all up in a heaval." "My neighbor in Texas had short legs, and she said ready-to-wear slacks didn't fit her in the crouch."
Someone in the family made this statement when they had to go to a social gathering where they didn't know anyone, "I felt like a bird out of water!" I know that feeling. There are a lot of expressions that we used back in the years, but you don't hear much anymore. If we girls did a sloppy job of washing dishes, it was common to hear, "Get in there and lick your calf over!"
Someone who rattled on and on would be "talking to hear his head roar." If we didn't answer Daddy when he asked us something, he would say in exasperation, "Well-talk or shake a bush!" I am afraid most of these old expressions are dying out, although some of us still use them in everyday conversation.
We had an interesting letter from Bill Huffman who grew up in Gassaway, but now lives in South Carolina. His father was the last of the old hill doctors, and rode a horse to see his patients (before he got a jeep.) His Grandmother Huffman made salt rising bread, and he is anxious to obtain a good recipe of the best bread he has ever eaten.
God bless my readers who are so quick to respond. And -- thank you Marsha Winfree for the poem book! I lost your address.
Contact Alyce Faye Bragg at alycef...@citlink.net or write to 2556 Summers Fork Road, Ovapa, WV 25164.