I Don't Understand Your Texan Words!!

I've had some funny confusion as a true-blue Yankee living in Texas. I moved here from Chicago when I was 31. Talk about culture shock! Adjusting to the Texas-friendly thing (which is very real, by the way) was a challenge. I had to adapt to the fact that every parting takes at least 20 minutes. And people strike up long, friendly, sometimes deeply personal conversations everywhere; there are no strangers in TX. The food was a challenge; I grew up knowing that brisket was a trash meat, not the reason for weekly social gatherings. But the most consistently confusing was the language barrier, even though technically we all spoke the same one.

One example is how everything is bigger in Texas. Mostly, it is. The storms are scarier, fiercer, and the lightning seems massive. Even the hail storms are impressive, and happen enough to cause yearly "Hail Sales" at car dealership. The hail is always pretty big, too. My Yankee hail storms are just a little bit of sleet down here! I noticed how fond Texans are of colloquialisms, too. Everything is a "deal", and "Bless her heart" can be used as a skewer more often than not. A heavy rain is a "frog strangler" and "Whale Hail"
describes the bigger hail storms. Well, I thought so, anyway, til I told my neighbor we had baseball-sized whale hail the prior night. He stared at me blankly, there was an extended, awkward, puzzled silence, and then my husband started laughing. Seems I misunderstood; every time I saw someone gazing at the hailstones and damage they caused, they were actually saying "Well, hell!". ...huh .... Yeah, well.... hell, who knew?! Y'ALL talk funny!

Then there was the Pig Milk. My husband's family are true Texans and Sunday dinners consisted of items like the aforementioned brisket, barbecued salmon, frito pie, fried pie (excuse me, "frodd pa"), congealed salad --- gods, I never knew what odd dish I was going to see next. I was willing & tried them all, but one Sunday I actually felt my stomach turn over when we sat down to Sunday dinner and my mom-in-law announced she had some nice, fresh pig milk to drink. No. NO. I just can't do it; I don't want to taste it and I don't want to even THINK about how it was gathered. Yeeeuchh!! Everyone was bewildered when I turned pale and began some anticipatory gagging, but the milk carton they put on the table looked normal-- well, as long as you ignores the picture of a pig where the cow (in my world) should be. I stiffened my spine, picked up the glass and carefully tasted. Conversation halted when I exclaimed in surprise, "It tastes just like cow's milk.". The now familiar awkward pause followed as everyone stared at me, then my husband -- always the first to figure me out -- started laughing ao hard he shot milk out his nose. "HONEY! It isn't milk from a pig!! It's milk from Piggly-Wiggly!!!" ..... Oh..... Ohhhhhhh! ...... huh ......

Yep, culture shock. But at least my new Texas family loves me. Either that, or they really enjoy my reliable ability to be comic relief. Brisket, anyone?

SleepyMom SleepyMom
41-45, F
3 Responses Feb 17, 2010

That was hilarious, especially the part about Whale Hail (well hell). Those accents are tough LOL<br />
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Excellent story. Educational as well as entertaining. Great Job!!!<br />
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I used to work for a military family who moved to GA and the wife told me that they have their pictures (of themselves) made not taken. She said it took her a while to get used to the lingo and she's used to moving every 2-3 years.

Speaking as a former Chicagoan, I LOVE Texans. (sorry I made fun of y'all growing up. You have to understand, the only Texans we knew were the wannabees y'all kicked out -- you know, bright blue creased jeans tucked (!!) into unscuffed sparkly boots, shiny big belt buckles that spell "I luv TX" in rhinestones, aqua cowboy hats -- you know, a**holes!)

Having also lived in Canada for three years, I could certainly talk "aboat" that, too!