Did you just say ‘yonder’?

Sometimes I am such a bad Southerner. I mean, sure I reckon and ya’ll and wouldn’t touch soda or pop but occasionally, even I am lost amongst my people.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the hardest time understanding why the grandmother of a friend of mine would have a room with a cannon in it. My friend kept repeating herself so I was sure that she’d said “cannon room” but what did that have to do with vegetables anyway?

Whatever they were doing with the vegetables, they were doing in the cannon room. I pictured the cannons at my high school — the squat, black replicas of forgotten weapons that offered no protection against our school’s rivals who painted them purple every autumn.

I wondered if my friend’s grandmother had something similar. But likely as not, it was a real cannon. I’ve got enough redneck blood in the family to know better than to question the reality of Southern expressions. “Hog’s jowl” is not slang for something else, you know. She could be one of those Civil War recreationists who’s got her own working cannon in the garage just waiting for the Battle of South Pegram to recur.

Whatever it was, I’d already had her repeat it enough to be rude and there was no doubt that my friend was telling me about her grandmother’s cannon room. I just decided to roll with it. Like when you learn a foreign language, you learn not to try to understand every word in conversation just the gist of it. The story rolled on and my friend talked about how her grandmother always had plenty of preserves. And that was when it hit me.

“Did you say ‘canning room’?”

She rolled her eyes as most people do when their accent is questioned and said in her best sorry-mr.-smarty-pants voice, “Sorry, canning room.”

She obviously thought I was trying to be snobby or something, but really, all I could wonder was why they don’t call it “jarrin'”.

It reminds me of the time when several friends of mine had a very emotional conversation outside a rock club. Anyone who says that men are not sensitive has obviously never discussed tooth decay with a young man from Portland, Tennessee.

Our friend was telling us about his awful day. He’d gotten two feelings that day.

What feelings? we wondered, concerned for our pal. Why only two?

We questioned and he elaborated, repeating himself. That morning, he’d gone to the dentist and gotten two feelings.