Alabama, Alabama, We will aye be true to thee …

Alabama is hard, y’all. It just is. It’s hard to be from here. It can be hard to live here. And sometimes — ok, a lot of the time — it’s hard to defend her. These last few weeks have been especially trying for those of us who were born and bred here, who love…

Ada’s Rice Dressing

In the mid 1890s, my great grandfather, Andrew Joseph Rowell, Jr., was a young man in need of gainful employ. He had heard that there were jobs at a logging camp in Chicora, Miss., which was not too far away. Joby, as he was known to his family, traveled up there to sign on and…

Don’t beat a dead horse

Daisy Ann. That was the name of my horse. She was a bay — reddish-brown with shiny black feet, mane, and tail. She was giant. Baw* let me name her. We’d ride Daisy Ann through the woods, and Baw would pull off a branch of huckleberries for me to eat while we rode. On we’d…

I haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays!

“Come here and let me hug your neck!” That’s what you’re are apt to hear in the south when you meet someone you haven’t seen in a while. Why the neck, I wonder sometimes. I guess because it’s more intimate than a shoulder hug or a side hug. Friendlier. Warmer. We southerners are social people,…

I don’t give a tinker’s damn

Think with me back to third grade. I’m sitting in the fourth desk in the first row by the blackboard in Mrs. Hurst’s class at Rosa A. Lott Elementary. That’s the year we started learning grammar. Mrs. Hurst taught us about synonyms and antonyms, metaphor and simile, and my favorite, the homonym. As we all…

All the rage in Natchez

Did you ever wonder how an idiom comes into being? I’m fixing to tell you. I’ve always said that the fashionable, popular thing was “all the rage in Natchez.” I said it because Mama always said it. And Granny always said it. And I never gave much thought to why Natchez. With all due respect…

Open up a can of whoop-ass

It’s Iron Bowl Saturday. For those of you who have been living under a rock (or in the great, frozen north) and don’t know what that means, the Iron Bowl is the die-hard football rivalry game between the University of Alabama and Auburn University, and it will be played today. Since 1893, once a year…

You’re as dumb as a sack of hammers

When Sonny was in grammar school they taught him that “stupid” was a bad word. I agree. You absolutely should not walk up to someone and say “You’re stupid.” But there are times when situations, actions, and, yes, other people just are not smart. So here’s what you can say to avoid using that horrible,…

I’m so hungry my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut

The big day is here. A time to gather with family and friends, break bread together, and count our many blessings. And maybe learn a few new sayings. Here’s how my Thanksgiving Day will probably go — idiom by idiom. When I cook, like this year, I have to get up before the chickens, which…

Busy as a one-armed paper hanger

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Christmas is hot on its heels. There is only one word to describe this time of year and that word is “busy.” Now you can be just plain old busy, which will barely warrant a sympathetic nod from your friends, or you can be: Busy as a bee! The doctor in Citronelle…