Does every family have its own language…or was it just mine? Maybe it’s a Southern thing, but we had quite a few sayings that you just don’t hear every day. We also used all of the regular Southern throw-aways (‘Bless yore heart’, ‘Sugar’, and the lesser known ‘I swanny’), but there are some others that were staples in our house.
Here’s a good one…it’s my personal favorite and one that I still use all the time. If I’m bringing you a surprise, but it’s not quite enough to really be called a present (we rarely said ‘gift’)…then I’d call that a sersey (pronounced SIR-SEE). I’ve actually seen this one online a few times, but it’s rare, and it seems to have actually originated in my hometown, at the college my mom’s first cousin attended. I figure that’s close enough for me to claim it for my family.
Another one that I really like…if you said to my grandmother, ‘Tid, are you being serious?’ she would reply with, ‘Honor bright!‘ This one is mentioned online as meaning On my honor, but it is actually quite versatile, and can also be used as a question:
TAMMY: “And then I got married a SECOND time!”
INNOCENT FAMILY MEMBER: “Honor bright?”
…or instead of a cuss word:
TAMMY: “But Grandmama, I promise I didn’t mean to explode that glass bowl all over the kitchen!”
TID (in utter frustration): “Honor…BRIGHT, Tammy!!!”
Even though the phrase exists outside of my family, I still think my grandmama had a special claim on it…she used it well and, by God, she meant it.
Then there’s one that is hard to even describe, and it’s undeniably all ours. My mama will sometimes just randomly call one of us ‘Epampinonimous’. I’m not sure if she thought that one up or if it originally came from her daddy, but she still uses it from time to time. It’s sort of a term of endearment and seems to be synonymous with ‘honey’ or ‘sugar’, but it is also used when she’s lost track of which one of us she’s fussing at or picking on. It’s quite the mouthful coming from that little lady!
This one is a great one to close with…Meat disease. Yep, you read it right. Now, this term is definitely all our own, and it really speaks to the delicate intestinal balance that the women in my family have always shared. Let’s just say that you really didn’t want to have it, and a lot of things besides meat could be the cause. It may have originally started with a lack of tolerance for red meat, but over the years it took on a mythical status that can only be likened to having the vapors or dropsy, requiring much doting and recuperation (we unfortunately didn’t have a fainting couch). I think my mother’s cousin Linda also gets credit for this one (uh huh…the same one who went to the infamous ‘Sersey School’), so I guess I owe her a big thank you for…well, at least for sersey!