Grits, ‘Well, Lawdy, Lawdy’

Published 8:29 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Back in the early 1960s, Yellowstone National Park was as foreign to a gal from South Alabama as Israel is to young folks from the same region these days.

Travels had taken me to Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia, but not Atlanta. So when I arrived at the nation’s oldest national park, I was, as my granny used to say, like a big-eyed gal at the fair.

The park was kind of like a kibbutz in that you worked long and hard for a bed and a bite and, literally, a jingle in your pocket. Fifty dollars a month might not seem like a lot but it wasn’t the money that made me leave the comforts of home for the wilds of the West, it was the opportunity to broaden my horizons.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And, I did. From a size six to a nine in just a few months time.

Back in those days, the world wasn’t nearly as small as it is today. As Americans, we spoke the same language but each region had its dialect that was as foreign to one as it was to the other. However, the slow, Southern drawl kind of “took the cake,” so to speak. Upon hearing it, those who didn’t fall over with belly laughs found the “drawl” downright amusing.

But Southerners aren’t as dumb as folks from the other regions think we are. So, we, the YP girls, used the ‘drawl” to our advantage.

At Yellowstone, we had two modes of transportation. “Pat and Bob” or hitching a ride.

Most of the kids who worked at the park would hitch rides by standing on the roadside with signs that read: “YP Employees.” But not the GRITS (Girls Raised In The South). Ou   r signs read: “Alabama Girls, Going Your Way.”

Why, folks would stand their cars on their noses just to give us a ride.

And, we’d lay it on thick. The y’alls, sho-nuffs, I’ll swanees and hush yo’mouths. We’d throw in a few Lawdies, have mercies, Glory-bes and honey chil’s and we’d have them eating out of our hands.  Actually, eating at their expense.

They would do anything to keep us talking. They would have taken us all the way to the Pacific Ocean if we’d wanted to go that far.  We got off in Las Vegas.

We had a hanker to shake hands with the one armed bandit. We should have keep riding.