Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Natives

Virtually every day since I've been here, in this state of Virginia, I have been introduced to new, Southern ways of speaking. Namely, new phrases or pronounciations. And I am delighted by each and every introduction. Coming from Boston, I am not one to talk, but the way the speak down here just tickles me. I find myself referring to the people who are from here as "they," as if they are a different species. In my own mind, I am an anthropologist, Margaret Mead, if you will, discovering this Southern Land and its Peoples. In the past few weeks, I have learned one new word and one new phrase of significant note. Interestly, they have been spoken by the same person! This one person is from North Carolina and, to me, has a very heavy accent. I love to be around her. It's not just her accent that I love, it's all of her Southernisms. When I have babies, I plan on surrounding them with people like her, so they can pick up all her ways. The accent, the politeness, the style. It's just amazing.

So anyway, here are the word and the phrase.

Word: Toboggan. It's a hat! A winter hat! From what I understand, it is closer to a beanie than a thick skiing hat. Like when someone knits you a hat, such as these, which Sandy has recently knitted for Jason and me (Jason is very serious about his toboggan in this picture):

My Baby and Our Toboggans!

I will use it in a sentence: It'll be cold outside, so bring your mittens and toboggan!

And the phrase: A gracious plenty! A friggin gracious plenty! It's amazing. It means, enough, like "that's enough." Let's say, for example, that I was scooping some peas onto your plate, and I've scooped enough for your liking. You would tell me, "That's a gracious plenty." How much do you love that?!


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