Monday, October 02, 2006

Favorite things, and more Southern sayings

Readers are continuing to share their favorite things that they’d miss if they moved away from the Charlotte area, as well as some of their favorite Southern expressions.

“The one store I’d miss (if I moved away) would be the amazing Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia (401 Cox Road),” writes Jan Mahannah of Gastonia. “With its selection of millions of yards of reasonably priced fabric, it is truly unique. It was the first store I visited when we were considering moving here. Mary Jo’s has been the fabric source for countless dresses for holidays..., proms and for wedding gowns for my three daughters.”

Adrian DeVore of Charlotte’s Scaleybark Road wrote with a shout-out to Park Road Books (in Park Road shopping center at Park and Woodlawn roads), Carpe Diem (1535 Elizabeth Ave.), Volare Ristorante (545 Providence Road) and The Wine Shop (Dilworth location, 2442 Park Road).

Meanwhile, Chris and Kelly Williams did move away – to Amelia Island, Fla. “We miss Bubba's Barbecue (4400 Sunset Road), SouthPark mall (4400 Sharon Road), and our friends. We don't miss Charlotte traffic at all and North Carolina's road construction inabilities,” they e-mailed.

And here are two more examples of Southern sayings:
Beth Shoffner of Hickory said her Midwestern friends were amused by her expression “getting gussied up” (i.e. to get dressed in your best finery).

“It wasn’t long after we returned to North Carolina (from living in the Midwest) that an article in the food section of the Observer had a large headline that was something like, ‘Gussy Up Your Potatoes.’ Needless to say, I clipped the article and sent it to Iowa!” she wrote.

Jere Baxter of Charlotte shares: "One of my favorite Southern responses to 'How cold is it?' has always been, 'Colder than a bad marriage.'"

And Charles Hodge of Charlotte, a Gastonia native, shared an amusing story from when he first met his New Jersey-born wife Pamela.

“We were having one of those early-on, get-to-know-you chats.... After one of her very amusing and clever comments, I made the innocent and complimentary (I thought) remark: ‘You are a mess!’ Well! From the way she reacted to this, you would've thought I had paid her the highest insult one could give a Jersey country girl!

“I tried to explain that calling someone a ‘mess’ around here was an endearing term for one who is a lovable, humorous and mischievous kind of character.... Now this has become one of our favorite family stories we like to tell.”

Thanks to everyone for the great examples – and keep them coming!
I’m still collecting examples of the best advice for helping newcomers get settled here. Please e-mail me at and include your name and contact information.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I moved to Connecticut for a few years, I found myself missing BoJangle's and Phat Burrito. I visited both often, right out of the airport sometimes, when I made visits back home. I introduced my co-workers up there to Cheerwine and Goody's headache powder, with many requests for more.

I also missed talking local issues. A couple North Carolinins and I banded together in New Hampshire when volunteering for the primaries up there a couple years ago. We had a blast catching up on things and commenting how 'hearty' the New Hampshire people were for putting up with the zero degree weather at the time.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Cato said...

I'd miss the used book store in Plaza-Midwood, Brodt Sheet Music nearby on Commonwealth, and the public library system (maybe the most unappreciated jewel of the city). That, and always being within a couple of miles of a Bojangles.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am afraid I have to take issue with or elaborate on something in your last blog about Southern wrote

--Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

Well, red eye gravy is not just a breakfast food. If you never had a dinner that consisted of country ham, red eye gravy and biscuits I have to question your true southerness. ;-)

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Favorite saying:

"Hey y'all whatch this"

What a redneck says to his friends just before he does something seriously stupid that usually ends up with some sort of bodily harm.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....and yes, the "wHatch" was intentional

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wilmington native David Brinkley, when announcing the next segment to follow after a commercial break on his "This Week" television news interview program on ABC, would say, after a brief pause:

"In a moment."

But I had a girlfriend from New England who could have saved David a half second of air time because she would always say:

"In a bit."

Of course, up there in Massachusetts and Connecticut, they ask, "Want a soda?" while down South we usually ask: "How about a (Coke, Pepsi, Cheerwine)"? or other specific beverage.

Then, comparing the Southeast with the Northeast, you will hear someone from Hartford or Poughkeepsie say: "Look-it, the important thing to remember is..."
But in the Carolinas, someone might say, "But wait, the main thing to remember is..."

And here in Raleigh, there are a couple of prevalent localisms that I haven't heard that much even in the rest of North Carolina:

1. Putting "Hey!" at the beginning of a sentence to try to command the listener's attention: "Hey! This novel by Dot Jackson I'm reading--you should read it, okay?" Or, "Hey! That Sean Penn movie is the one you really need to see." Sometimes when Raleighites want the floor, they will just say: "Hey..." even when they haven't yet decided what else they want to say, so when you come to Raleigh to try to get something done in state government, just remember that.

2. Substituting "it is" or "it isn't" for "there is" or "there are": "It's not a lot going on down at the Legislature today." "It's not a lot people out on Hillsborough Street tonight."

Well, as Al Gore said: "It's time for me to go."

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my favorite southern sayings is used when dealing with a difficult people like some of the bloggers. "You never want to rassle a pig, because your clothes will get torn, you'll get dirty, and the pig likes it.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:37 PM  

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