Posted 10-22-2003 at 08:56:00
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We have a friend of the family, Wesley, who is one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet. I visited him yesterday and he was as pleasant as ever.
My only problem with him is that I only understand about every other third word that comes out of his mouth, which makes for an interesting conversation, but being as good natured as he is, he either pretends not to notice when I give him a dumb answer or when my end of the conversation peters off into nothing more than an occasional ...'uh huh.'
I've heard thick Florida cracker lingo before and granted some of it is hard to understand, but this guy puts a slant on it that to me, is the equivalent of something you might hear the bushmen in Australia speak, complete with the occasional little clicks that may or may not come from a loose set of dentures.
"Yeah....we tohg medn redam to the slklk inffn osssr. It was gghlot lleernim (click) meedin, ya know?"
Followed by 'heh...heh...heh.'
I just nod and grin stupidly, hoping there wouldn't be a quiz. We can usually get along fairly well as he tends to point and gesture enough that you can get a rough idea of what he's talking about. Unless he asks me a direct question.
"Hey, dijuall knnedsi putthn ferttyli mwddon yet?"
I don't know if it's the wad of chewing tobacco crammed in his cheek that affects his speech (cause I've never seen him without it) or if he just talks that way normally.
I settled for a nervous giggle and a....
"No, not yet."
"Oh WELL, ya better do that! (click) unllesssnn ssererta waasn too late ya know?''
"Dog! Whatdi freekn (LOUD click) sssnsngh ttohg gogorrn iisstb!!??" He was yelling at one of his dogs about something.
I swear to God the dog just grinned and said...
He was too confused to even wag his tail properly, so he just gave it a few quick jerks to show that his heart was in the right place.
The most remarkable thing about this visit was the interaction between this man and his wife.
"Honey! Brang me thhdgs seetl rrerecccif iifn ssssallleera please?"
A few minutes later his wife appeared with a fresh pouch of Red Man and I just stared in admiration as they had a short conversation of which I could understand exactly half.
I guess my confusion showed because his wife winked at me and smiled. I was in complete awe of her, and can only hope that with continued exposure and enough time spent trying, one day I may be able to speak the lingo as well. I am not optimistic though. I have been trying to learn Spanish for years and there's a lot of people who can speak that. This woman is the only person I know of for sure that is fluent in Wesleyspeak, and she's had thirty years to work on it.