We took a trip to Iowa for our granddaughter’s college graduation. Earlier in this spring, we attended another granddaughter’s master degree graduation. So proud of our grandchildren. All twelve of them.

We stopped on the way to visit with our former Tennessee neighbors. We purchased our house, built during the 1940s Manhattan Project, in 1970 and it still looks great.

Our friends, who lived across the street, now live in a lovely log cabin overlooking the Clinch River. We spent hours on their screened porch talking.  One evening we cooked hot dogs over their fire pit. It’s become a tradition whenever we visit them.

We had such fun reliving early marriage adventures and visiting the old neighborhood.

With their permission, I’m using their home as a setting in the final book of the PROMISES series, Promises to Keep, which will come out later this year.

What warmed my heart the most on our visit was all the southern-talk that popped up in conversations. Southerners do have a language of their own. Here are a few southern-isms with my translations:

Full as a tick

This was a new phrase for me. Seems if a tick drinks too much blood, it actually bursts. Not a particularly appetizing comment for the dinner table, in my opinion. I much prefer “stuffed like a turkey at Thanksgiving” that we say around here.

It all comes out in the wash

My mother used this one a lot. Mostly referring to an enormous stain I’d gotten on a favorite dress. Translated it means “Everything will be alright in the end.”

Scarce as hen’s teeth

 Loved this variation meaning something is rare. Clearly, chickens don’t have teeth. Personally, I am thankful chickens are toothless because those beaks can do enough damage on their own.

Thinking about all these isms, reminded me of this one. (I didn’t hear it on our trip.)

A whistling woman and a crowing hen never come to any good end

My grandmother said that every single time she caught me whistling. In her opinion, whistling was a male-only habit.  We all know hens don’t crow. Roosters do. Her point was to behave in a ladylike manner. Daddy always added this part whenever he caught me whistling: “If you want to be treated like a lady, you need to act like one.”