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.”