Yes Please, Y’all Do It…

By George Vickery

My young wife of twenty-five years, Kitty, learned to speak in Alabama where she was born, and then refined the language over the last umpteen years in South Carolina. I have observed that this encompasses much more than just saying “y’all” and getting two syllables out of “cat.”

Her favorite story about herself is when she was in training to be a Delta stewardess. Apparently she was the only real Southern belle in the class. When it was her turn to practice on the airplane intercom she would get as far as “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” and the class would break up laughing – including the instructor. “I flunked talking,” she laments.

I thought about this several Fridays ago when Kitty said she had to hurry to the Methodist Church Peach Festival before all the cobblers were “zooped” up. When she came home after fighting the crowds, she said she was as tired as a whistle. After supper (dinner is mid-day unless it is with the girls, then it’s lunch) we propped up in front of the TV. “Hand me the puncher,” she said. Actually I have forgotten what the damn thing is really called. Puncher sounds good to me.

During the commercial she punched the mute button and said she heard some amazing news (gossip). “This is faint material,” she said. If it really is good, she tells me I will faint and fall down. It seems the girls are all atwitter because of a certain busy bee who has gained enough pounds that her rear goes “jiggledy” when she walks.

Oh yes. We never say fat or chubby; we say that Agnes, bless her heart, is overweight. If she has gained real tonnage, bless her heart, she is heavy.

Kitty is never profane, unless you include such epithets as “Lands!” and “Foot!” and “Well, shut my mouth!” I once heard her Alabama maiden aunt say “My garden seed!” The closest she came to real cussing was when she was trying to enter her phone number as a voice command in a new car. She would say the last four digits, 2744, and the automated lady would repeat back to her, “Two seven zero zero.” After a number of unsuccessful tries I spoke the number and it was repeated properly. I had her speak it to me very slowly, “Two seven foa foa.” The lady in the phone heard Oh Oh, nor Four Four. The latter requires an R sound.

When she is listening to a really good story over the phone, you will hear her accentuate her attentiveness by saying, “Did” and “I mean.”

One of her favorite expressions almost got us in trouble when we were going through customs at JFK after arriving from Bangkok, the jewel capitol of the world. The agent was rummaging through the underwear section of her suitcase and she exclaimed, “Well, I do declare!” Of course she was wearing some jewelry that didn’t go abroad with us. I talked my way out of that one.

It takes Kitty a bit longer than other people to tell a story because most words have extra syllables. I mentioned “cat.” How about getting four out of “downtown?”

She gets all atwitter when I tell the tick story, but I’ll tell it anyway.

Well, the little rascal had buried his head in me in a tight spot up there north of my right knee. Kitty got the tweezers and plucked him out. The next day we drove to Amelia Island for a visit with our long-time friends, the Maddoxes. The following morning, which was to be a practice round for the member-guest, I was so dizzy I couldn’t see or walk straight.

They took me to the emergency room. The doctor was a new arrival from north of the M-D line. Kitty would never say Yankee; she calls them Northerners. The doctor dug around in some tender flesh up there, and retrieved the head of the tick.

“My wife told me she had gotten all of it,” I said to the Northerner doctor. He looked at Kitty and said something in “New Yorkese,” which she did not understand.

Kitty said, “I didn’t see anything under the skayun when I pulled it ayout.”

He looked at me. “Skayun?”

I had tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh. Kitty understood the problem and was trying to say it so that the doctor would understand. “Skan.” Skein.” “Skiyin.”

He still didn’t get it and turned to me again. “You got a tick skiing?”

About this writer

  • George Vickery George Vickery is the author of the novel Beyond September. He is retired and lives in DeBordieu with his wife Kitty, formerly Kitty Inabinet of Briarcliffe Acres and Columbia.

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4 Responses to “Yes Please, Y’all Do It…”

  1. This made me grin (two syllables) because some of my favorite friends are southern belles.

  2. myra Larsen says:

    I am a returned southern belle in Arkansas and I loved this story even though some of the words were completely new to me. And, I never said “y’all” even when I was a kid. Thanks for the smiles.
    BTW: It took me several months to hear the difference between the southern I and the western I sounds when I went away to college.

  3. Delaine Suggs says:

    My maden name is Delaine Davis and I worked with Ktty/BC Inabinet at Defender Industries. Yesterday a conversation triggered me talking about how wonderful Mr. Inabinet was and how wonder Kitty was. Something made me google her today and this website came up. I sooooo enjoyed ready this and I truly could see/hear Kitty talking. What a beutiful person inside and out and how lucky you are!

  4. Myra Langer Little says:

    I was Kitty and BC’s babysitter back in the 60’s
    Please tell her I said hello I’m sure she’s still beautiful and gracious

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