Posts Tagged ‘south’

Living in the woods, you can’t help but notice everyone who comes and goes, mainly because hardly anyone comes and goes out here in the woods. I’ve gotten acquainted with Thea the post woman, Will the UPS man, and Ellery the meter man. Each one has a few interesting quirks I’ve noticed, Thea wears a mask to keep out the dust and fumes, and won‘t get out of her truck because of our dogs, friendly as they may be, she repeatedly honks the horn for me to come out and get the package from her, usually sometime around noon. Will plays guitar, loves cookies, writes a note on our packages when they’re small enough to leave in the mail box, and doesn’t like coyotes any more than I do because a pack of them attacked his dog.

Then there’s Ellery, he looks like Santa in farmer overalls, he has a white beard and usually wears red, though he doesn’t give the dogs treats like the old meter man did, and he was named after Ellery Queen the mystery writer, because I asked him once. The only thing that’s really mysterious about Ellery is that I can’t understand anything he says. He’s got most of his teeth, and isn’t a tippler, so it’s not a physical impairment or a speech impediment. I’m the one who feels impaired and impeded because I can’t comprehend him.

I’m fairly good at dialects and after living in the south for more than six years, I can almost get every word from every conversation, not so with Ellery, we’ve had more than a dozen ten minute conversations and I think I’ve understood about a dozen words from each. I get that one word out of many and I’ll latch onto it like leech on a catfish and try to use it as a key to unlock the rest of the conversation. This doesn’t work very well, but it’s really the best I can do without an interpreter.

This is what I know about Ellery thus far; he likes tulips, he has a son and a daughter and he taught them to read the stars so they’d never get lost, his son is a hunter and is good at tracking animals, and the daughter is small in stature. That’s all I’ve gleaned in all these months.

I have his cadence down but this doesn’t help me get any more out of our conversations. I nod and say, “Oh, I see.” a lot, even if I don’t know what it is that I’m seeing. It seems like he’s got such a strong drawn out drawl that it connects all the words together into one long roller coaster of indecipherable sound. If he was a Pentecostal I’d figure that he was speaking in tongues, but he doesn’t carry a snake and doesn’t seem like the overemotional type. Yet, I like Ellery, he seems like a nice guy. He usually laughs – that I can understand – and usually has a smile on his face. I guess that’s all that really counts, but still I wonder what wonderful tidbits of old country man knowledge that I’m missing along the way. One thing I do know, he certainly lives up to his mysterious namesake, only not so much a “Whodunnit,” more of a “Whatdidyousay.”


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