Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Snipped these last night just before Mrs TWC rolled in from Surf City with the kids.
Longer ago than I care to admit, there was this girl named Dahlia from Jefferson Parish (how's that for a southern name? Dahlia, not Jefferson Parish). She was sweet and kind and TWC was a long way from home in Memphis, with it's stately brick homes and Beale Street. Not the 21st Century sanitized, touristy version. That Beale Street was breakneck gritty, seedy, desperate, a little dicey, and strictly off limits to Naval and Marine Corps personnel.
Dahlia was a friend of Glen's and he and I were roommates for a while. I swear to you it was weeks before I could understand a dam thing Glen said. He may as well have been from Mars or France. Although we continued to speak to one another, the bulk of our communication took the form of hand gestures, shrugs, and little stick drawings of guys with beer mugs in their hands next to a ? mark (the meaning being quite obvious). Hey, let's do something different tonight. Wanna go get some beer?
A few words on New Orleansese: in a city whose very name is pronounced in nearly 100 different ways by its citizens, all the way from the filigreed, nearly five-syllable "Nyoo Ahhlyins" to the monosyllabic grunt of "Nawln'", it takes a very sensitive ear, not to mention years of practice, to pinpoint the incredible binds the native speaker encounters, those specific words where the slow tongue gives up and makes a leap of faith. For those who have never heard it, you must begin by imagining Brooklynese on Quaaludes.
After a few weeks, I realized that Glen was speaking English. That was a pleasant turn of events because it meant we'd eventually drop the gestures and drawings and move on to regular conversation. That NOLA twang was infectious and between living with him and living in Memphis, TWC came back to Californicate with a pronounced Southern drawl.