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Joyce E Bowling

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Don't Bury the Past
by Joyce E Bowling   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, September 24, 2006
Posted: Sunday, September 24, 2006

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A brief description of one southerner's view on a favorite word...that continues to live from her past.

It is often said..."That we should forget the past, and move on with our future." This is true to an extent. As I sat here this morning browsing AuthersDen I read sincere poetry, heart felt stories, humerous blogs, and very interesting articles. I was reminded of my heritage through an article on southern phrases. One word that my grandfather spoke often instanlty sprang to mind.

 The word TRIG, yes that's right, trig. No I am not speaking about a trig that you secure a wheel with...the way my grandfather used this word was to describe our appearance. He implied that our appearance was not neat as Daniel Webster defines it. He simply meant that we dressed in a sloppy or tacky manner. For years we were under the impression that if one were described as Triggy that they were tacky and messy, until we searched for the word and found the true definition at a young age. We never disputed our grandfather's word or idea, but simply played along out of respect.

During college I took a class about the history of the english language, we were asked to research a word that had been misunderstood or misused during our youth, or a word that reminded us of our heritage. Quickly I chose the word Trig. After presenting my research, Dr. Smith replied, "Now then Joyce, how do you think that the word trig became so misunderstood in the southeastern part of Kentucky?" I thought carefully for a quick moment and explained..."Well, I think that many years ago a traveling salesman passed through our area. Well, you know how salesmen are, they are always giving compliments so one will buy thier product, right. He agreed. I think that he probably was on the outskirts of town, or as we call it down here "up one of the many hollers" that exist still today, he must've given the compliment such as this..."My you sure look triggy today!" He was implying that the southerner looked neat, tidy, and presentable, or fashionable. I assume the southerner misunderstood the compliment and instead felt as though he or she were being insulted, made fun of as we might say...and the rest is history.

Dr. Smith smiled as I presented the scenereo...and then spoke these words..."That is all very possible." From Dr. Smith this was a compliment well taken. I decided then and there to keep my heritage and past alive.

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Reviewed by Richard Orey 3/8/2007
I love words with history, Joyce.
I once caused quite a stir by putting a small sign on my office door right next to the courtroom: "Draggle-tails will please check in with the bailiff before entering."

"Draggle" is to make wet or dirty by dragging, and a "draggle-tail" is defined as a "slattern."

It seems in early American times, sidewalks were scarce, especially in small towns and villages in the West. Ladies, of course, wore dresses that had tails that reached and "dragged" on the muddy streets. Naturally, a streetwalker or prostitute would be doing lots of walking on the dirty streets, dragging the tail of her dress behind her. So, you could instantly tell a streetwalker (or draggle-tail) from a respectable lady by how filthy the bottom of her dress appeared.

I was pursuaded to removed my sign after only a couple of days. But those days were filled with lots of laughs and turning of pages in dictionaries.

No, I won't bury the past. It's filled with lots of great memories.
Thanks for bringing it all back to me.
Reviewed by Loretta Scott 1/6/2007
This is true Joyce, for we shall not dwell in the past, but try to better and a make a difference in the future. A nice write.
Blessings, Loretta
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