Friday, March 23, 2007

Conversing [CCR]

The fine folks down at the local hospital here got another chance to look on the inside and see what was happening. I was fortunate to be getting an x-ray due to my tendency to break ribs. One must assume I enjoy pain based on my history of rib breaking, and here I was again. This time the technician was a young lady who most likely hadn’t performed too many x-rays since she was being closely guided and supervised.

But, as typical in my role as unintended but proud ambassador of home, the staff indulged in enjoyment of my Southern accent. It was almost like sitting for a sound check at a studio recording as they requested my recitation of various phrases. They were assuming we used those phrases. I could already see they didn’t understand the perfect vernacular of Northwest Alabama. My family upbringing caused me to politely submit to their requests and try to ignore their gleeful conversations in the other room. I am not sure if they realized the door wasn’t shut and the sound carried so well. I listened to their attempt at duplicating my drawl and began to wonder. In truth, they actually exaggerated my annunciation which led to defilement of perfection.

When the ladies returned I happily generated my own prose to help them understand we were talking about a well based traditional expression of the English language and my heritage. They, in turn, asked if I recognized their accent. I paused in deep thought for I hadn’t heard an accent. What can I say to not offend my caretakers? I blurted it faster than I could think. I didn’t hear an accent. To my surprise it was an acceptable answer. Folks, I don’t mind vanilla ice cream but double fudge chocolate ripple works well for me. I’ll stick to my accent.

It is somewhat interesting to watch my children grow as we have moved all across this great country. They’ve had many influences of various Southern dialects including Georgia and North Carolina. Then throw in a little bit of Illinois and Ohio. Add a dash of Alabama for spice. What have I done? I shudder to think about the final results for my youngest as my company is sure to relocate me again. For my oldest I must leave the final dressing to the wonderful folks at home. My daughter is headed to the University of North Alabama this fall and a deep dive into all the wonderful family and friends at home. I know she is in good hands.

My first trip to Boston over twenty years ago proved even more interesting. The staff at the hotel desk wouldn’t let me leave. With my knack for telling tales they got the full dose of my heritage. My first trip to England resulted in being called J. R. everywhere I went. Dallas was a hit show at the time. Folks, this is Northwest Alabama talking to you, not Texas.

My travels and my unintentional role of ambassador causes me to continue my obligatory demonstration of a real American dialect. And if the young ladies down at the hospital were entertained, then maybe I have fulfilled my duties. But I always advise to not let it end with the conversation. Drop on down to visit the fine folks back home in Alabama. They’ll offer you a slice of pecan pie and an ice cold glass of sweet tea. Then you’ll really understand the meaning of Southern hospitality. Sit a spell and tell me of your travels.