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.