Y’all-a-back, Grrrls.

I have yet another embarrassing admission to make about myself. Regular readers know that I’ve been kicked out of a McDonald’s in St. Louis (solidarity, Brother Kevin!), been mistaken for a purveyor of sex toys and crapped the bed at the Waldorf Astoria. But this one really hurts to admit.

Both of my parents are Yankees.

Yup, they met when my dad was the 1st mate on a weekend cruise aboard the excursion sailboat, the Stormalong, that sailed out of West Islip, Long Island. My mom was the daughter of an Episcopalian minister living in East Islip and they “encountered” each other on the deck of that boat and the rest is history.

So despite the fact that I am adopted (long post to come on some future date), in the old nurture/nature debate, you’d have to say I was reared Yankee. But I think I’ve embraced my southerness as much as can be expected. I’ve lived in Nashville my entire life except for four years when I was held prisoner of war in California and Connecticut.

But today I offer a short treatise on one of my favorite parts of Dixiedom, the word “Y’all.”

No word separates us from other regions as “y’all.” (I will not be dragged in to the midwestern “coke vs. pop” argument, B. and Coble.) It just rolls off the tongue and is so useful in so many situations. It can be singular or plural, which on occasion has gotten me in trouble during forays to the northern tundra.

Me: Do y’all sell electric razors here?
WalMart employee in Baraboo, Wisconsin looking nervously around as if I had handed her a robbery note: Well, yes sir. We all sell razors. Would you like to buy one from me or should I get another cashier or a manager?

It takes the edge off of any phrase by making even the angriest thing sound sweet. “I’m gonna go back to my truck and get my ax handle and whup every last one of y’all.”

And nothing warms my heart as hearing one of my favorite bloggers address the blogosphere as “y’all.” When Ivy posted a picture of her daughter, Megs, and said “Y’all, I have the most beautiful daughter ever,” I melted before I even saw her precious picture.

That’s right, cynical smart-ass CeeElCee has a softer side. And now you know how to get to it.

Now if y’all will excuse me, I have to drive to Johnson City and give a speech and then work in Knoxville on the way home tomorrow.

I hope I don’t crap the hotel bed.


6 Responses to Y’all-a-back, Grrrls.

  1. SistaSmiff says:

    Oftentimes when Mr. Smiff is on the road and I try to call him, he doesn’t have his phone on. When this occurs, I text message the Canadian Banjo Guy and say “Tell Smitt-Ass to cut his phone on.” Canadian Banjo Guy thinks saying “CUT” something on as opposed to saying “TURN” it on is quite amusing.

  2. jag says:

    Kudos, CLC.

    Y’all was my first concession to the southern way when we moved from PA to GA. Now it’s part of my everyday language, and SO much easier to say than ‘you guys’.

    Oh, and if you ever do get into the pop/coke debate, I want in. It’s still pop, even here.

  3. My Grandfather asserted that y’all was anything but backwoods, that it, in fact, dates back to the bible.

    “Drink ye all of this” Doesn’t mean “you drink all the wine” it means “All y’all have some wine.”

  4. saraclark says:

    You can adopt your culture as well, as long as you whole heartedly do it. Using Y’all all the time as a commitment and not just for show is usually the measurement used to prove it. I think you’re Southern and also Nashville enough to count.

    But what are you fixin to do now? I rekon you’ll let me know when y’all get around to it. I’ll go cut the phone on for your call.

  5. Kathy T. says:

    I fought ya’ll my entire life. As an Air Force brat, I tried to speak midwestern so as to “blend” in with the locals. But I’ve decided if ya’ll is okay with Webster’s Dictionary, it’s okay with me!

  6. ceeelcee says:

    Brittney said I’m not from around these parts?! I was born in Nashville at Baptist. I spent `85-89 out of town, but I’m an almost life-long Nashvillager.

    I forgot to mention how much I prefer the plural “all y’all” over “youse guyz.”

    Jag, do you really know native Nashvillians who call it “pop?” This I gotta see.

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