Somebody on Reddit was making fun of Southern accents and all I could do was shake my head.
Because my mama is Southern and I am a Southern girl to my core. I grew up going to my mamaw’s almost every summer, listening to her and other relatives speak in that slow, Appalachian drawl that’s almost indecipherable to people who aren’t used to hearing ‘far’ for fire, ‘tar’ for tire and expressions like “Out the light” for “Turn off the damn light.”
My mother’s own accent lessened, I think, the more time she spent in Texas, over a thousand miles from her roots (or ruts, as Mamaw would’ve said). But those voices were sweet as sugar to me and still are. When my husband first met my aunt (Mom’s older sister), he needed me to translate as he didn’t understand much of what she said, her accent was that thick.
And every time I happen to have to fill out a form where my middle name (Mara) is required, I can’t help but hear my uncle (Mom’s brother) saying his own special nickname for me in that slow baritone drawl..Maree. It came out sounding like Murray.
I haven’t been back to those mountains since my mamaw died when my son was three years old. I don’t know if I could go back…the memories would be overwhelming, I think. But I’ll still find those mountains and those slurring voices the most beautiful things in the entire world.