Monday, September 04, 2006

PO-TAE-TOS……..or TATERS ??


In 1978 I moved to North Carolina from New York State with my husband and three children. Everything in my life changed with that move. I had to adjust to a completely different way of life and it took time and an opening of the mind. This was definitely a gentler, softer way of living and I’m ashamed to say that I missed the competition and the rush of life that we had left behind.

One of the areas of challenge was the language. I had a terrible time trying to understand what the native North Carolinians were saying. A simple name, such as Bill, became Bee-ull and “get up with” meant that I would “meet you at a specified time”.

Now it is 28 years later and I am happy to say that my immersion into the South is complete. I have found that people are people wherever I go and that some of the best of them are right here where I live. Simply put: I love it here.

No wonder that I got a big chuckle out of an NPR interview a few years back. The author, a Southerner, had written a book about the different dialects of the South. She related this story:

Seems that a young man left his small town in North Carolina to go North and make his fortune. He did well and came back a few years later driving a Lexus and flashing his bank-roll. He went back to the small family-run restaurant that he had frequented in the past and in a distinct and pompous tone he ordered “PO-TAE-TOS and TO-MAE-TOES”. He ate with relish and then asked for the bill. The owner was very annoyed with his pretensions and decided to charge him top dollar for his food. The young man took one look at the bill and shouted with rage, “This much for TATERs and MATERs?”

Proof of the old adage: “You can take the man out of the South but you can’t take the South out of the man.”

8 Comments:

Anonymous John said...

I come from the south...Sarf Lundun...and when I visit the US all anyone says to me is ..."beg pardon ?" :-)

8:55 AM  
Blogger saz said...

I wondered how you ended up in the South! For some reason I thought you just recently moved there.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Keep tuned, Saz, more will be revealed!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Maya's Granny said...

I lived in Texas and New Mexico when I was in Junior High, in the mid-50s. Then we moved back to California, but I had picked up some of the vocabulary. Imagine my confusion when my geometry teacher told me to reckon a page of math problems! When I, unable to believe that he really wanted me to guess about math, asked what he meant by reckon, he first offered calculate and then figure. I cheated, and did the mathmatical operations.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Great story....lol
I'm afraid even after 19 years in Florida, I still retain my Bostonian accent....I still pak my ca in the Havad Yad.
Some accents just won't go away...lol
And I even lived outside Cincinnati as a young child for 6 years. The biggest thing was the other kids called a soft drink "pop" and I called it "tonic." They thought I was nuts of course wanting "hair tonic."

5:41 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

Ginnie.. I have always lived in the south. Georgia and 9 years in Tennessee. I have a southern accent but it is not deep south, I guess it is because I have lived in urban Atlanta so long.

I love all the different accents around this big country of ours. I like to guess what part of the US someone is from by listening to them speak.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Connie and Rob said...

My dad was born and raised in Tennessee and moved to Missouri. He is 93 and still has his southern ways about him.

Take care,
Connie

12:58 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

To all of you...aren't we a wonderful and varied lot?? I love the way the "blogger-world" brings us together.

1:19 AM  

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