I remember when I was in the Air Force, people would ask me where I was from. I would tell them… born in Mountain Home, Arkansas, raised in Ozark County, Missouri, and lived on the Missouri & Arkansas Stateline. The next set of questions would entail…do you have electricity, running water, or toilet paper? I’ll admit it; the closest thing that many have seen in the past about the Ozarks was the show The Beverly Hillbillies or Al Capp’s Dogpatch comics. I’m not completely upset their perspective; we are a bit redneck in our ways. All the same, I would tell them their perspective was a little bit warped.
When I was a kid and someone would say they were from “Up North” or from “Chicago,” many a redneck’s eyes would roll up in their head or a gentle sigh of, “Yelp.” would ensue. Then we would look at our friends and give a nod in knowing the foreigner wouldn’t understand because they were from “Up North.” As I grew up, I realized not all Yankees were arrogant and egotistical. Ah…mmm…I’m married to one and happily converted. Actually, this point was needful in seeing the first strand of my family, The Wayland Family, came to Arkansas in 1815. Other migrations ensued to the Ozarks in 1840, 1859, & 1876. Needless to say, the family tree probably forked in a few areas and needed refreshing.
In the past, the Ozarks did play a part by its’ sheer remoteness in harboring some unsavory elements. Case in point…Moonshining. Moonshine and its’ industry in the Ozarks has given this profession a few peculiar names over the years. The Ozarks was known as the "Moonshine District" containing "Blind Tigers” or “Blind Pigs.” The trails & paths commuting this clear and liquid gold, “White Lightenin'” were known as the "Mountain Dew Express.” I have more articles which I will be posting in the future concerning moonshine in Baxter, Marion, Boone, and Ozark Counties.
As in some of my blogs, I like go over colloquial speech & dialect written in an original Ozark vernacular. People may say articles like these enforce bad stereotypes, but it is still part of our Ozark’s History.
- Fur kaze. - For cause…or…Because.
- Don't yu try tu fool us. - Don’t you try to fool us.
- Yu air revenoo , that ' s what yu air. - You are a revenue officer, that’s what you are.
- Wo 'lowed yu war revenoo. We allowed/thought you was a revenue officer.
- 'nd we' uns war reddy fur yu.’ – And we was ready for you.
- 'nd Zeke 'll take yu safe out tu-morrow. – And Zeke will take you safely out tomorrow.
- 'Hyar 's the road to Yellville; keep in the middle of it and ye’ll soon get there. – Here’s the road to Yellville; keep in the middle of it and you’ll get there soon.
Here are a few words or phrases not often heard in our day.
- Sulphur – Old English form of the spelling of “Sulfur.”
- Simon-pure “Rackensack” native - A sarcastic or mocking nickname for someone from Arkansas & their traditional folk manners or customs.
- I demurred to this proposition. - I objected or balked at this proposition.
With all I have said, I have retrieved another portion of newsprint with a snapshot of the Ozarks’ History & Lore.