Of pigskins and down-home dialect

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Now, where was I? Oh yes, I was telling you about my moment of glory in football.

We were leading somebody, might have been Gordo, about 85 to 0 with five minutes left in the game.  “All right, Sanders. Go in.” I was a right end, 6-2, 150 pounds.

We kicked off. Some boy got the ball and came running around my way. Nobody else was anywhere around, so I had to try to tackle him, and I somehow managed to wrap around him and get him down.

On the very next play, they fumbled, and I dived in head “fo-mos” and somehow came up the ball. The ref had to pry it from my hands. But that was it. Billy Joe came back in. My moment in the sun was over.

But that was just for the game. All through the week, we were battered and slammed about and generally abused. And we ran and ran and ran. And the coach had a sadistic streak. Tom Taggart was the biggest man and the toughest one on the team. At the end of regular practice and running, craving to get to the water fountain, he’d give Tom the ball and send him running down the field, and we were supposed to run eagerly out and tackle him.

It was well known that I was the slowest man on the team. Yet, somehow, I’d find myself out in front of everybody. Rumble, rumble, Smash. Oh, me.

And then there was that two-mile trek home. It was a fairly busy road, but, amazingly, there would never be a car or truck going that way. Never.

I’m glad I went out, as we said, for football. I at least know what they’re going through all week long.

And, in a touching and loving tribute, not a dry eye in the stadium, they retired my seat on the bench.

Down-home dialect

Now I want to talk to you about Frontier Country language.

If you live in places like Auburn/Opelika, you’re not living in typical Alabama. That’s not good or bad, just fact. The Academia atmosphere prevails here. It does not over much of Alabama.

For those adventurous enough to travel to places like, say, Frontier Country, a small dictionary would be helpful. Let me translate in advance  some of the words you’ll need:

Bard (v.) Past tense of getting a neighbor to lend you something. For instance: There was too much hay for my wagon, so I bard his.

Tar (n.) Those round rubber things you put on wheels, as in: That left back tar blew out, and I had to get a new one.

Tard (adj.) I tell you, I’m tard of shelling all these peas.

Perch (n.) Any kind of bream.

White Perch (n.) crappie.

Trout (n.) Bass

Eastern Chain Pickerel  (n.) Jack.

Battry (n.) Something that supplies power ‘til it runs down, often without warning. Example: Sorry to wake you up at midnight, sir, but my girl and I were parked down yonder and listening to the radio, and we ran the battry down. I wonder if you could maybe….

Prostrate (n.) Something that men have that often gives them trouble. For example: I’ve been having trouble with my prostrate. – Often mentioned at coffee clubs and wherever men meet. By the way, I happened to know a good prostrate doctor …

Testerone (n.) Something you take to relieve a bunch of problems, according to T.V. ads.

Highland moccasin (n.) A poisonous snake, sometimes known as copperhead or rattlesnake pilot – the idea being that if you  see one, there’s a rattler nearby.

Lamper eel (n.) A deadly eel-like creature, identified by its legs. Eels don’t have any. Deadly poisonous.

Grinnel (n.) A primitive fish also  known as a mudfish or dogfish or what the hell is that thing?

Mountain Lion (n.) Large member of the cat family that does not exist in Alabama, as they keep telling us; yet there continue to be sightings reports. Also known as panther, cougar, puma, “painter” … all the exact same animal.

That should be enough to kind of help you get started  as you come in contact with more and more Frontier Country people. We’re really quite nice, once you get to know us.

Of course, if it’s warsh day (that means wash day), we might be a little testy.

Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at bobbypsanders@netscape.com.

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