Days Gone Bye – What Wuz That Word?

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 5, 2024

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By Tom Boggs

English words have had some giving and taking over the years, and I reckon computers have accounted for a heap of those changes. Shucks, hardware meant something like a hammer or nails you got at Ben Gardner’s or Selby Hardware or one of the Braswell stores in Demopolis, and a chip was a piece of wood cut with an ax. I don’t think software was even a word a’tall.

My daddy had me to mow the grass, and now folks smoke it. Hey, if you talked about a ten-cent store you knew you could actually buy something for a dime. 

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You ‘member what “saucered and blowed” meant? My Great Aunt Hazel could drink the hottest coffee I ever did witness, but she taught me how to cool off my cup by pouring some in the saucer and blowing on it.  

Seems like whatever happened, folks were just gon address the issue with, “I Swannie.” Headlines: “The Japs just bombed Pearl Harbor.” Reaction:  Well, I swannie.” Joe Bob’s hound just had a litter of puppies.  “I Swannie.”

What was that Daddy told us boys he’s gon do if we didn’t straighten up? “Boy, I’ll tan yore hide.” And what was the bucket called we filled up out at the coal pile, and brought in to the fireplace? You get an A if you remember it was a coal scuttle.  “Gracious Sakes Alive!”  Don’t forget that ‘un. 

“How y’all doing?” That’s what you asked even if you were addressing only one person. Well, most of the time that fellow would simply sum up his situation with “Tolerable.”

I never was real sure what Ma meant when Billy or I got sick, and she told us not to “flounce” around. Reckon it meant stay quiet ‘til the mumps, two or three kinds of measles, or chicken pox got gone. Say, when did they quit giving those smallpox vaccinations before chullun started to school? Just think. A whole generation or two who don’t get to sport one of those little round vaccination scars on their upper arm. 

We’ve had all kinds of strains of flu. Football season of 1957, near ‘bout whole teams came down with Asiatic Flu. Latest illness from over around Asia has been COVID 19 right from China. 

You know a word I always liked, and still do?  “Mosey.” I reckon that just means sorta easing along, clearing your mind, and not worrying about a dang thing. 

How y’all doing with the metric system? Well, I don’t reckon I’m likely to try to figure out how many meters something is away from me when I can simply report that it’s about the length of a football field, and be completely understood. 

You recollect the radio and TV commercial, LSMFT? Simple acronym for Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco.  Talking ‘bout acronyms. I was way down in a bunker in Central Europe back during the Cold War, and this Brit kept using DILLIGAF. He finally explained that stood for”Do I look like I give a flip? That Englishman didn’t seem to be upset about anything. Just mosied on along with no cares. 

Hey, bet some of y’all know what red eye gravy is. Some don’t. That’s grease from fried country ham, along with a dollop of black coffee and boiling water. Pass me some, and I’ll spread it out over my biscuit, and start on that mess ‘o greens. 

I “disremember” a bunch of other old words, but I bet you got a “passel” of ‘em in yore brains. Everything from a thingumajig to a rigamarole, including a hullabaloo or two ‘til you cover the whole kit an’ caboodle.