Once upon a time….
Once while on vacation on a southern barrier island we found ourselves in that comfortable lull of conversation with another vacationing family. We are a family of five and the family had two boys and we were enjoying watching our kids all interact and play. There are many personality differences in my oldest and middle child. Lennon is outgoing and makes friends instantly with people. He doesn’t care to bond with male, female, older, younger, whatever. Drew is my middle child and doesn’t interact with others in what is considered a normal way. She has her reasons and I accept them as long as she’s friendly.
Back to the throwback, Lennon had played with these two boys for almost an hour and it was apparent to us that the boys were having trouble with our accent. They consistently came to their parents to interrupt what Lennon had said and we watched the parents struggle to act as though it were a joke and that they understood us, which they clearly did not. Either they didn’t understand us or they were both hard of hearing.
Finally we heard one of the young men say, “Gee! You sure are country!” Lennon was so confused and said, “What does tha t mean?” The kids parents began to apologize and we replied by laughing and saying, “That’s a compliment!” But Lennon came to us and asked what it meant. He was about ten years old at the time. I said, “he means you talk differently than he’s used to hearing, like you’re from the country. You have an accent.” Lennon looked horrified, “They can smell it on us?!?!”
Now, maybe you aren’t familiar with an south eastern KY accent. To my knowledge I don’t have an accent. In fact, most people here would claim I try to, “Talk fancy” or “above my raisin'”. But contrary to my belief of not having a strong accent I’m yet to go anywhere further than an hour away and not have someone ask me to repeat something or ask me where I’m from. I really like to throw it out strong in that case and say, “Why? I’m from right h-yur!” Just to see their confused expression. I have had one case where a young man from Texas thought I was also from Texas and when I said, “no. KY. Appalachia.” He responded with, “Well it sounds like home to me!”
Indeed it does sound like home.