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Humor – Buffalo Native word womprehension


By Bill Frazer

The other day I met one the neighborhood ladies from up the street and we talked about Hurricane Harvey relief for Texas and Louisiana. I mentioned that a group out at King Corner was loading up a truck with items such as water and canned food. This truckload of relief supplies was being dispatched to Louisiana. The neighbor told me that the citizens of West Point should do sompun as well.
As I peddled my bike on down the street the thought arose that she said sompun instead of saying something. Now this lady was not a Buffalo raised, LaFayette schooled person like myself, but was one who had attended an upscale academic facility. Maybe the problem is that she attended the outhouse school in Tuscaloosa and never really learned proper English. I know that James Walter Allen thinks it is sompun that the University of Alabama can afford to pay their football players more than Auburn University does. It seems to pay off.

Another word used in early lint head neighborhoods came to mind as Democratic Monroe Smith told me that I was lollygagging if I did not support Al Gores’ mission to eliminate global warming. I guess our neighborhood has lollygagged around by not making any major relief effort to support the victims of the flood caused by global warming. Now lollygag is a typical cotton patch native expression as well. Lollygagging (putting off a task) is exactly what America did with the North Korea nuclear issue. The best example of national lollygagging is balancing the budget which has to be done and soon. A local example of lollygagging is penny pincher Bobby Jennings driving a 1982 pickup.

Caving in to all hoopla on TV commercials, I purchased my wife a new vacuum cleaner. Note that it was for my wife’s use. Well, the thing was not worth doodly squat. It was designed to enable the user to vacuum under furniture and chairs without having to move them. That thing wouldn’t suck up a peanut shell without clogging up the filter. What is the origin of the word doodly squat? This expression was common in early agricultural communities. It also led me to think of the song “Lay Down Your Head Tom Dooley.” It appears that Tom Dula was his actual name but we Southerners pronounced it as Dooley.

Hillary Clinton has just published a book explaining her views of why she lost the election. Some of her excuses are pretty lame (another county boy term). Joe Guntherberg says part of the problem was that she was too highfaultin and not appealing to the average Joe (get it -Joe). Now the word highfaultin is a country boy term and Joe being from a rural Tennessee environment would be well versed in its use. Highfaultin means someone who is fancy, pompous or pretentious. I guess that is probably the best description of all of one’s in-laws.

Another friend (name reserved) told me that if I did not support DACA I was going to hell in a hand basket. Now that is a phrase a Buffalo boy heard often. My Grandmother used to tell me if I didn’t carry out the slop jar for my Grandpa every morning that I was going to hell in a hand basket. Personally, I have never understood that phrase. What has a hand basket got to do with going to hell? Maybe it may have meant more if she had said going to hell in a cotton basket.

As time goes on the vocabulary changes as well as views of life. I can say with all sincerity that in some ways it was a better world in that rural Southern communities knew that GOD was in control and disrespect for the CREATOR was not an accepted way of life.