I don’t mind admitting it
Actually it’s something that I brag about quite frequently
Not only am “The” resident expert on everything “Southern” but I also can speak and understand every dialect of “Southern speak”.
From the Commonwealth of Virginia to the Great Republic of Texas and every place in between, I can understand them all.
Or so I thought…..
I learned recently that I do not speak nor understand “Hillbilly Speak”
I think we can all agree that there are different dialects throughout my beloved South.
The Deep South…..
Louisiana Cajun …..
New Orleans Creole…
The Texas “Drawl”…..
There are a wide variety of words, phrases and accents that you can only find across my great South. They are rich in tradition, culture and history and I pray they will remain so.
But recently I discovered that I am not the expert I confessed to be and I learned that lesson the hard way.
I was in the Commonwealth of Kentucky recently and although I have spent a great deal of time there and some of my dearest friends in the world live there, I hadn’t “really” spent too much time in the Appalachian region of the fair state.
Before I go on any further, it’s important to describe a rather interesting phenomenon that takes place across most of the South during the months of summer and early autumn.
Believe it or not there are long expansive rural highways throughout the South that designate certain periods of the year for (wait for it)….
That’s right, on some highways particularly Highway 127 there will be tables lined up side by side on both sides of the road for hundreds of miles. “Yes” I said, hundreds of miles.
The Highway 127 “Corridor Sale” runs from Alabama through Tennessee and Kentucky to the Ohio River.
What does this week long “event” entail you may ask?
People will drive around and look at and or purchase other peoples stuff they are discarding.
Metal lawn art of every kind and variety…
You name it and it’s probably on someone’s table somewhere between the Gulf Coast of Alabama to the Ohio River.
Last year while attempting to avoid the slow moving traffic, I saw a pickup truck with the tailgate down that had a sign that said “Beef Jerk-a-licious”.
“Yes” I am serious….
Yeah that’s I want to do, is purchase non-descript meat “like” products from the back of a pickup truck at a yard sale. I am sure it’s healthy, right?
EDITORS NOTE: “IF” in the event you were to decide to purchase said “Beef Jerk-a-licious”, here is a recommendation. Also pre-purchase some leaf bags, because you may be wearing them around your waist on the way home.
I’m just saying…
This “event” isn’t my “thing” so to speak, because I have enough “crap” of my own without driving around looking at other peoples crap, but whatever twirls your propeller.
As you might imagine the traffic is horrific as once bustling highways are ground to a halt by people driving bumper to bumper on both sides of the road rubber necking along looking for a this or that and a whatever.
My only interaction with this and other events like them is trying to find a detour around them so I can get to where I am going without any drastic delay.
I think you get the picture.
Like I stated earlier this isn’t my thing, I am more of a crawfish festival kind of guy.
So that takes us to last week….
I had taken my Black Lab “Doc” to see Doctor Bruce and the best veterinarian in the country for his periodic checkup and yearly shots. As a side note, I don’t have enough wonderful things to say about Doctor Bruce and his wonderful staff, they are my family and “Doc’s”.
While I was waiting for Doc to complete his visit, I overheard two older ladies in the waiting room of Doctor Bruce’s office talking about something I had never heard of in my entire life.
I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation.
It wasn’t just their accents, which I was unfamiliar with; it was what they were talking about.
I listened to them talk back and forth for more than twenty minutes and the questions were running through my mind that I wanted to ask them both.
It was killing me.
The topic of their exchange was quite frankly the damnedest thing I had ever heard.
I couldn’t even imagine “how” what they were discussing was even possible or how someone could find it the slightest bit enjoyable.
I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I just had to ask them
I politely interrupted their discussion with….
“Excuse me ladies but I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, but I have never heard of what you are talking about. What exactly is that?”
They both stopped talking and looked at me like I was a winged unicorn.
One of the ladies asked me…
“You ain’t never heard of Yard Sailing?”
What I wanted to say was “HELL No I haven’t Heard of YARD SAILING!”
There were other things I wanted to say and ask too…
How hard does the wind have to blow to make the boat move or sail?
What kind of sail do you need to mount in the boat?
How many people can the boat carry, I couldn’t imagine it would be too many…
How fast does thing boat actually go, is it at a snails pace?
My mind was spinning from their conversation
But instead I said “No ma’am I haven’t. I have no idea how that would even work.”
The two ladies exchanged a look between them and the other lady asked..
“What don’t you understand about Yard Sailing?”
Like I stated earlier, I had listened to their conversation for over twenty minutes so I had a lot of questions.
A LOT of questions….
“Well ma’am I can only assume that you have to use a John Boat, because I couldn’t imagine how a “V” Hull boat would work. But my question or questions are; do you have to cut the grass really close the day before and water it down before you start the event? Do you spray the bottom of the boat with PAM or do you use cooking oil?”
The elderly woman adjusted her horned rimmed glasses and looked at me like I farted loudly in the library during finals week and stated rather matter of factly
“What in the world are you talking about?”
Apparently I was hitting these two lovely ladies with too many questions at one time….
Sometimes it’s best to just slow it down and ask the pointed questions up front, so I asked them
“How fast do they go, I can’t imagine it’s too fast. Do you ever have races?”
They exchanged another confused and bewildered look between them and almost said in unison
“Are you crazy?”
I was mortified by their looks and their question
What I really wanted to tell them BOTH….
Am I crazy? Well I’m not the one trying to sail a damn john boat around in my yard!
But what I said instead….
“No ladies, I am just trying to understand how the whole yard sailing thing works.”
I felt obligated to add….
“Because I had never heard of it before today”
The spokeswoman of the pair adjusted her horned rimmed glasses yet again and spoke slowly
“It’s Yard Sailing, do you understand?”
Did these two elderly ladies think I was deaf?
“Ladies I understand what you are saying, its yard sailing I just want to know how it all works”
Speaking even slower the matronly lady said…
“It’s a yard sailing NOT sailing”
I don’t know if it was because she said those words ever slower or exactly what…
But it suddenly dawned on me, that I had just made a complete fool of myself.
They were saying Yard Sale-ING, NOT Yard SAILING….
I could feel my face turn the color of a University of Alabama home football jersey….
Its times like these it’s just best to be gracious and magnanimous so with that I said…
“Ladies, I’m sorry I clearly misunderstood what you were talking about.”
They giggled a bit at my ignorance and my embarrassment, which was fine with me.
I don’t mine being the brunt of a joke or people laughing at my stupidity.
Believe me, I do enough dumb things on a daily basis that I firmly believe someone should at least get some pleasure out of it.
But I just hated that I missed the whole translation of the phrase and the word usage.
Because to tell you the truth…
I was really looking forward to wearing my sports jacket with an ascot and a snappy captains hat while attending my first ever Kentucky Yard Sailing Regatta.