As I mentioned recently, this column got started nearly 36 years ago when I wrote a letter to the editor in response to his call for defi- nitions of a dozen or so terms of common hillbilly slang language.
Even though I was still in my 30s for the first 10 years the column ran in the newspaper, readers usually thought that I was much older because I apparently came off as an old man decades before I commenced accumulating grandchildren of my own.
I often received letters in the mail from readers who told me that I sounded “ just like their grandfather used to talk before he passed away.” These letters were usually from people who were, even then, 30 years or more years older than me. Of course there was no such thing as email in those days. A postage stamp cost 16 cents and a postcard, complete with postage, cost a dime.
The reason I know this is because I was looking for something else the other day and ran across a shoebox crammed with correspondence that my wife had saved because she throws nothing away. Most often she can’t tell you where it is, but if I’m looking for something, she will say, “It’s here somewhere. Have you looked in the basement?” The only reason I’ve gone to our basement since the turn of the century is to change the HVAC filter. There’s a ton of stuff down there, but it’s dangerous to go looking because one never knows when a hidden mousetrap will painfully catch one’s pinky or one will inadvertently grab hold of a rat snake that has taken up residence in a box of books.
For several years in the ‘80s, the kids and I, to beat the boredom of no school, snow days, ran what we called the great garden seed catalogue scam. The way it worked was, I invited readers to send me two postage stamps in return, for which, I would see to it that they received at least 30 or more free catalogues in the mail. Some of those requests are still among us.
We simply put all the respondents on a mailing list and sent it to dozens of companies that offered free catalogues.
We started the project in the spring of ’83 and became bored with it about 1990, as I recall. By that time we were also making arrangements for readers to get catalogues for risqué lingerie, fish bait, household products, barn siding and you name it. If a company advertised in the classifieds of any major magazine that it offered free catalogues, we sent it our mailing list. Several companies even sent us checks in the mail to pay us for our trouble because we had started getting scam participants by the hundreds and the thing had grown from fun into work that defeated the original purpose.
Well shoot, I’ve gotten completely off the subject, because, so far I’ve generated a list of at least six column ideas in the process of attempting to beat the deadline for this one and now I am hopelessly late for The Mountain Eagle. What I started out planning to do was run my own list of hillbilly terms of slang language and/or dialect and invite current readers to tell what they mean because many, if not most, of the first readers of Points East have long since passed on over to the other side.
So here’s what we are going
to do. From the list below, please
send me an email or snail mail
response telling me what the following terms mean and use each
in a sentence:
hard (used as a verb)
tard (rhymes with hard)
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get back to me asap. I will wait a couple of weeks to revisit this column, whereupon I will publish the names of anyone who gets them all correct. I figure that some folks, who have been reading the column for 35 years, have never been bothered with computers and email so I’m giving them time to respond by U.S. mail, if they can afford a stamp these days, which seems a small price to pay to get your name in the paper without being on the obituary page or in trouble with the law.
My address is: Ike Adams, 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.