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In which our heroine sets foot in West Virginia

Wortroot farm house


If I'd known I was going to fall in love that day for the first time in my life, I would have taken the attendant trials and tribulations in stride. But I didn't know, so I spent far too many minutes considering whether my parents would buy me a ticket back home to Seattle if I called up and begged.  The remainder of my stay in the West Virginia airport was devoted to figuring out how to get to Kentucky, which meant trying to break through the Appalachian language barrier.


Wortroot yardYou'd think that, since I mastered Spanish in high school and picked up a smattering of French from Canadian visitors, I would have had travel within the U.S. covered.  You also would have been wrong.  Stopping by the information desk at the airport felt like a Peanuts cartoon—you know, one of those scenes where the teacher is talking and all you hear is "wa wa wa, wa wa, wa wa."  The ancient attendant's excessive head-shaking seemed ominous, though, so I decided to try my luck elsewhere.

Welcome sign

I didn't remember my new smartphone (and the airport's free wireless) until the nice lady at McDonald's laughed at me for suggesting bus or train service to the Pikeville area.  She, at least, seemed to speak English, albeit with a mountain twang—perhaps the problem at the information desk had merely been the old guy's lack of teeth?—and she Front yardwas quite ready to give me driving directions to Kentucky.  Until, that is, I mentioned my lack of wheels.  Then the lady started to look concerned and to call me "sugar," so I made up some excuse about having family who could come and pick me up after all, then retreated to a waiting area to figure out Plan B.

Now, before you take my parents to task for stranding me in no-bus-service West Virginia, let me speak in their defense.  Actually, I probably should back up about a week and explain what a suburban girl like me was doing stranded in an Appalachian airport....

I hope you enjoyed this first installment of Forsythia's adventure.  Stay tuned for another chunk of her story tomorrow, or download the entire ebook of Watermelon Summer here.


This post is part of our Watermelon Summer lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:


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Change the title back?
Comment by Errol Tue Dec 17 14:21:12 2013
Daddy --- Naw, that's just the name of the community, which is why I used it in the photo caption.
Comment by anna Tue Dec 17 17:30:16 2013

Oh my! When I met my wife ("waaf") who was from Wise county, I never knew that my knowledge of the southern dialect learned in Georgia would be of SO LITTLE help!

Oh the things I have learned ("learnt") since. When ordering a hot dog, you will get chili on it, unless you order a "weenie bun". And hot dog chili is not to be confused with actual chili. Then there was the time my wife asked if we wanted something called "Kiddles" Huh? She went on to repeat the word a few times. I was still confused. Then she exclaimed "Kiddles! You know, like saucepans!" at which point I said "You mean pots!"

Then over Thanksgiving, I heard a new one. "Spleener!" and this my friends was from a nurse at Norton hospital...... used in a sentence "I got a spleener in my ahhh!" Translation? "I had a SPLINTER in my eye"

And in Appalachia, you don't go to "School" you go to "Skoo" Used in a sentacnce- "Git yore azz to skoo boy!"

That my friends is our lesson in southwest VA/Eastern KY dialect for the day!

Comment by Eric Tue Dec 17 19:33:00 2013

A girl named Forsythia?! During their growing up years I was always threatening to change my daughters' names to Forsythia, Amaryllis and Lobelia. I love their real names but always wished I'd gone with my heart and used these lovely flower names. How lovely to finally meet a Forsythia.

I read your blog daily and truly enjoy it. Thanks.

Comment by Beverly Tue Dec 17 22:17:44 2013

Eric --- Ha! I should put you in the extras section of the book. :-)

Beverley --- Mom told me that if my brother (her firstborn) had been a girl, he would have been Forsythia, so I figured I'd run with it. I'm glad that by the time I came along, flower names weren't as popular.

Comment by anna Wed Dec 18 08:38:31 2013

I would have guessed something biblical, so that's a surprise. That gave me an interesting and surprising moment of being glad I was born a boy.

Nice use of my old pics!

Comment by joeyh.name Wed Dec 18 12:03:36 2013
I love the first installment. I can't wait to hear more. I am going to have to get the book. I live in the Ozarks. I went to school in Kansas City. I met my future husband up there. I had a dear friend from Southeast Missouri. I am from the Southwest. I have my beautiful Ozark Hills accent. He had his gorgeous Kentuckian/Missouri accent. My future husband said listening to us was like being in another world. He said it was like listening to a language nobody could ever understand. Your excerpt you so graciously shared reminded me of that. Thanks for bringing up memories that made me smile.
Comment by DeeAnn Thu Dec 19 02:01:10 2013

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime