Do you remember these ‘funny’ words?

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2015

People had a “funny” way of talking back when I was growing up.

I remember a man in our community who was called “Ander” by all his family and friends. It wasn’t until I had reached my teens that I learned his name was Andrew. And when I went with my dad and granddad to gather fat wood for the fireplace, they often told me to make sure I pick up pure “litard.” While it was referred to by this name, it should have been called “light wood.”

“Old time talk” like this was common by most everybody in those days. You may have heard someone tell you to go “tirectly” home, meaning, of course, go “directly” home. I often heard those old folks say let me “hope” you out. “Hope” was commonly used for “help.”

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Two very common words , tire and fire, took on particularly different meanings for many. Fire was frequently called “foar” and tire was referred to “tar.” Even today, I still hear these two words used in that old-fashioned manner.

On those real cold mornings, when the fire was crackling in the fireplace, a cup of “Jove” was the best thing available for settling your nerves. “Jove,” of course was referred to as coffee. Java was another word also used for coffee.

One leaving a “beer joint” was a real big “bender” — heard frequently. Beer joint was a name given to a beer saloon and bender was known as a “drunk.”

A boy reaching his mid-teen years was sometimes called “between hay and grass,” meaning half grown. Some of the very old folks called a suspicious person a “bilk,” meaning one that cheats.

“Crowbait” was a term used for a poor quality horse. I heard a farmer use this term when his horse would not follow the rows when his cotton was first planted.
“Fetch” was very commonly used when someone wanted you to bring him something. And we are going to put that boy “through the mill,” meaning to gain experience the hard way.

I could go on and on writing about those old words. But, I also become annoyed with the use of some present day sayings.

“Only other” is a term I have written about several times. For those of you who are abreast of English you realize there is no such thing as only other. If you refer to someone as the “only other” man in the quartet, then he is the only man in the quartet. If you said he is the other man in the quartet, you are saying there are two men in the group.

Many so-called journalists, writers, authors and broadcasters apparently have never been formally schooled in this area, because they misuse this term on a regular basis. Other areas of misuse by these writers are improperly using noun and verb agreement and possessive pronouns. Hey, don’t let me get into an English lesson here as that would involve a full 101 basic course.

Moving on, I do not know how many of you enjoy watching golf on TV. I have really begun to like it.
One thing making it so attractive are the trees, shrubs and general settings. In this early golf season many of the matches are being held in California, Florida and Hawaii, where the weather is more suitable. Palms, ferns, and Palmetto trees are quite visible in these locations. California is noted for its beautiful eucalyptus trees.

I look forward to this weekend, when pine trees will be in the forefront at the Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Mesquite trees surround those Texas golf matches and magnolia trees catch your attention at those Mississippi matches.

When I think of golf, I am reminded of an occasion I worked flood insurance losses between Hattiesburg and Jackson Mississippi. Overflows from the Pearl River and Ross Barnett Reservoir caused much damage to that area of the state.

One of the flooded structures I worked was near the institution that Tiger Woods would be assigned for alleged sex addition. He spent time there in 2010. And, this great golfer is finding it very difficult to regain his form since then. He, apparently, is going to make another attempt at the Masters this weekend. I will be waiting to see if he can regain that form that ascended him to stardom.

Now, let’s take a look at some news from years gone by. I was working summers and weekends at WATM when Louisiana evangelist and Minister Jimmy Swaggart came by the station and preached on the air. I believe he was in the Atmore area to conduct a revival back then.

I remember sitting behind the control panel listening to him, but I was most impressed with his marvelous singing voice. He sat at our studio piano while he sang and preached. I remember his softly playing the piano throughout his entire sermon. Several cars pulled up to the station where “fans” greeted him at the conclusion of his service.

What a contrast there was between he and his musician cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley. I thought how I and the other WATM staff announcers (Jimmy Cruise, Sam Ford, Wayne Butts, Popping Off Paul and even Bruce “The Roost”) spun records of the latter two. Now, I think how well he has sustained himself over the years. Having been through much diversity, TV critics regard his current TV programs in a very positive manner.

For the life of me I cannot remember when he came to Atmore. But I do regard it as a very memorable occasion. (Tom Miniard told me Swaggart came to Atmore on two occasions).

Things have quiet on the return of Amtrak through Atmore. Still waiting for completion of studies and funding from surrounding states to hopefully get this passenger train “back on track.”

More next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at