Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Appalachian Word of the Week -- RINCH

Did your mama ever remind you to RINCH a piece of fruit before you ate it?

Do you know what it means? Or why she said it?

Since we grew a lot of our vegetables and fruits on the hill behind our house when I lived in Harlan County, I heard that word of warning often. I always wondered if my mom thought I was a bit deft and couldn't remember to RINCH the dirt off before I ate something fresh from the garden or whether she thought I was downright stupid and had to be reminded each time. Like when she reminded me to lock my door every, single, time we got in or out of the car.

In the mountains, we were instructed to RINCH everything.

Yes, I mean RINSE.

Pick a tomato without RINCHIN'
I never told my mom how many times I picked a ripe tomato and ate it on the spot without RINCHING it first. I swiped it on my shirt and hoped that would be good enough.

If she had known, she'd probably tell me that's exactly why I've had health problems. Wonder if she was right.

Carrots and onions were a different story, though. They had chunks of dirt hanging onto them. Thankfully, we had a spicket (spigot) outside for a quick RINCH.

RINCH your dish first
When I went to the kitchen to get a drink of water, Mom always reminded me to RINCH the glass first. I don't know if she thought dust had settled in it on the shelf or something else. Maybe it was because coal dust constantly filled the air and settled on everything. Or it could be the fear of a six-legged or eight-legged critter that had danced through the dishes and left germs behind from all those little feet.

Either way, I RINCH a dish even today before I use it for food or drink. Just in case.

RINCH the summer off your face
When we came inside after a hot summer day of playing and adventures, Mom always told us to RINCH the summer off our faces before dinner. Of course, she didn't tell us to RINCH our hands. That operation had to include some soap in the process.

It always felt good to RINCH off after a hot day. Get rid of the grime and salty taste of the sweat. Made you feel all clean and ready to start again.

Baptizing RINCHES you clean

Almost like getting baptized in a cool river. You go in all dirty from your life and come out RINCHED clean to start a new life with Jesus. Halleluah!

What things did you always have to RINCH when you were a kid? What things do you RINCH now?

I'd love to hear your stories.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Appalachian Word of the Week -- FLAHRS or FLARES

Spring is popping up in the mountains. Of course, in Atlanta, where I live now, spring comes about two weeks earlier than in my Kentucky mountains.

What joy it brings each year as the FLAHRS start popping out of the dirt and above the snow to add color, beauty, and hope after a frigid winter.

You know what FLAHRS are, right? Okay, some folks pronounce it FLARES and a few more citified people call them FLOWERS.

Granny used to come out onto the porch after a cold winter, sit in her rocking chair, breathe in a deep breath, and say, "Just look at them purdy FLAHRS popping up all over the place. Spring's sprung."

Robins hopped between sprouting grass clumps as they searched for juicy earthworms. Buds of green appeared on the bare limbs of the trees. Critters chased each other in their spring mating dances, promising a new batch of varmints to chase out of the garden.

But the FLAHRS were what I waited for each spring. The bright yellow of the daffodils and forsythia echoed the sunshine with their warmth.

Wild violets
My favorite spring FLAHRS have always been the wild violets. I'm not sure if it is the purple of the petals or the game of rooster we used to play with them that made them special. Did you play rooster? That's when you and a friend take a violet and interlock their heads; then you yank your violets by the stem. The one whose violet still has its head wins.

Other favorite spring FLAHRS included iris, peonies, and the FLAHRin' trees.

What are your favorite springtime FLAHRS?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Appalachian Word of the Week -- APPALACHIA

This week's word is not a word few people outside of Appalachia recognize. It's about a word few non-Appalachians know how to pronounce correctly.

This week, I was honored to record an interview for Speak UP! radio, a division of Christian Devotions Ministry. The interviewer, a Yankee, mispronounced APPALACHIA. I gave him a trick to pronouncing it correctly. Hopefully, he will never forget.

Now, most of us from the mountains know how it's pronounced. Just in case, I'll give you the trick.

APPALACHIA is pronounced as if you were telling someone, "Say it right or I'll throw an APPLE AT CHA.

Chun Li, street fighter
Now, isn't that easy? Of course, if you're saying APPALACHIAN, all you have to think is APPLE AT CHUN. I don't know who CHUN is, but if it's Chun Li in this photo, it might take more than one apple to stop her. The walls look like more than apples have been thrown at her already.

Is this how you say APPALACHIA?

If not, how do you say it? And who told you that was the way to pronounce it?

I mentioned above that I did an interview. If you'd like to hear a bit about my rearing and my struggles with chronic illness, I put the link for the radio show below. You can listen anytime.

Tune in to Speak UP! radio for an interview with Karen Bell

If you listen, I'd love to have your feedback. Tell me about your adventures and challenges growing up in APPALACHIA.

Or, tell me about the joys you remember.

I love hearing from you.