I think I could write a whole book on funny Southern sayings.
Besides being introduced to barbecue, sweet tea, and pimiento cheese, learning to understand the accent and the funny Southern sayings was a real trip after I ended up transplanted to Paducah, KY in 2007.
Quite a change for someone who spent most of their life in the northeastern United States.
Right off the bat, in my orientation at Western Baptist Hospital, a young man told me he had a new job in the bowler room.
What the heck was a bowler room? Bowling at Western Baptist? The hospital has a bowling alley? Another orientee took pity on me and filled me in: the job was in the boiler room.
Another time I could swear a nurse told me she had paint cans for breakfast. Come to find out it was pancakes.
Talk about funny Southern sayings and the Southern accent.
Soon after moving to KY, my husband and I took my MIL to her hometown of Albany, Kentucky for a visit. Albany is in the middle of the Kentucky southern border with Tennessee. We met some distant relatives who were all talking about a fire:
“Have you been to the fire yet?”
“Nope, going to the fire tomorrow.”
“Yep, went to the fire two days ago. It was great.”
Finally, totally flummoxed, I asked “Where is this fire and why does everybody want to go?”
Come to find out it was, maybe you guessed it? The fair. The County Fair.
This was the same visit when the relatives discussed Uncle Purry.
Poor guy, I thought, what a weird name. It got even stranger when they talked about Uncle Purry going on the furry. Have you figured it out yet? It’s Uncle Perry. And he was going on the ferry. I am not making this up!
One of my favorite funny Southern sayings came from my late father-in-law. “She can talk the hind end off a mule.”
And my MIL would speak about varmints.
You know, those troublesome wild animals that live in the country. Before that, the only person I ever heard use the word varmint was Yosemite Sam.
I started keeping a log of all the funny Southern sayings I heard, from patients, neighbors, and co-workers alike. One of my favorites is “She was as out of place as a turd in a punch bowl.”
I also kept a list of all the funny Southern names.
Do you know how many female Southern names end in-ine? As in Pearline, Earline,etc. I even had a patient named Girline. (Southern names are a whole other blog post. Stay tuned.)
So when I started writing my soon to-be-released contemporary cowboy romance, On the Trail of Love, I pulled out that document and used as many of those funny Southern sayings as I could. I gave most of them to my main male character, Henry Blake.
I even came up with a few of my own.
For example, one line in the story: “Eddie was more stubborn than a two-headed mule.” That’s pretty stubborn!
Now, I will say that most of these funny Southern sayings came from older folks. I don’t actually hear a lot of younger people speaking this way anymore. And it’s shame, because it’s so colorful and so unique.
So, after living in Kentucky for thirteen years, On the Trail of Love is my love letter to my adopted hometown of Paducah. Love y’all!