Words Aren't Just WordsBy CALLIE FOREMAN,
It's funny how language changes within regions of our own country.
My neighbor from Wisconsin calls fountains bubblers. I would have had know idea what she was talking about had she not told me what the term meant. How can a fountain be a bubbler? She told me that some fountains just bubble and don't shoot up. So, they are referred to as bubblers.
Another friend told me that she heard our friend's son is dating a girl from up north who never ate a snowball. And she really freaked out over the cream. She thought it looked disgusting. She could not bring herself to eat one. I informed her that a person has not lived until they eat a strawberry snowball with cream on a hot summer day. What is the rest of our country missing? I then told her the guy needs to go buy her a sloppy gravy soaked poboy. Nothing could look more disgusting or taste better than that. And then they could top it off with a snowball.
Recently I was talking to my neighbor from Wisconsin about planning my son's LSU graduation party. I told her that I was having trouble getting the gardener lined up but the maid would be there that morning to help out with the house. She giggled. And each time I mentioned these terms she laughed.
I finally asked her why she kept laughing. She informed me that I sounded truly southern. When I asked her why, she said, "Maid? Gardener? Do you really call her a maid? You might as well just refer to her as The Help." I was kind of taken aback. I have never been a condescending person, or so I thought. She is on my speed dial as maid. It's not a bad word.
Yet, to some people from other regions and maybe even my own these terms have evolved while I have been hidden away in my southern background. It's not like she does my dishes, cooks my meals or even does my laundry. She cleans my house. And she will probably quit now that the boys are home for the summer.
I was discussing this with yet another friend as we shopped for my son's party. We were pulling up in front of the store when I informed her that I had to get out and move a buggy. She asked me once more what I called that thing I needed to move. I called it a buggy and asked her why she was asking me. She told me that she called it a buggy also but most people referred to it as a shopping cart.
I thought about this as we were shopping. I guess I do have some archaic form of language that has been lost in time, and I don't care. I like that I still talk like my 97 year old grandmother. Words aren't just words. They are marks of who we are and where we come from. I will always help an old lady with her Buggy while she is trying to maneuver her way through a crowded parking lot. Has that term changed? It is still a parking lot, right?
We were on our way home when an ambulance was coming up behind me in traffic. I had to pull over. I looked at my friend and said, "Did you notice when your father passed last month that everybody pulled over and waited in respect as we drove past them out there in the country?" She said she and all her sisters noticed. I told her, "Well, people don't do that everywhere anymore, but I will bet you that the ones who do still say the word Buggy!" She agreed.