Using language as a tool
My father was a genius at fitting the language to suit his purpose.
Once when he brought home a new car that Mama didn’t think we could afford, she sought the counsel of Daddy’s brother, my uncle John, who ran a grocery store in Cumberland Gap. Armed with Uncle John’s opinion that agreed with hers, of course, she met Daddy head-on with, “John says you don’t need a new car.”
To which Daddy replied, “Now Lizzie, you tell John, I don’t tell him how to sell Clabber Girl Baking Powder and I don’t need him to tell me when to buy a new car.”
Growing up in a part of the country where we learned to use the language as a tool, we have fine-tuned our way of talking that has served us well over the years. Take this example I found in Allan Trout’s “Greetings From Old Kentucky.”
The story goes that Uncle Lon was safely past three score and ten. He said his good health was due to a toddy every morning before breakfast. Aunt Emma got after him for taking so much toddy and Uncle Lon told her it was to ward off a cold.
She got after him the next summer for the same thing and he told her he took it to settle his nerves.
Another time he took on some TVA linemen who were stringing up poles that ran through his farm. He told them to stop it, that he had given them the right-of-way but had no notion they would take so much land out of cultivation.
The crew paid no attention to Uncle Lon’s objection. The next day he took his old 1897 pump gun from above the bedroom door and walked out to the field. “I told you to stop stringing them guy wires,” Uncle Lon said.
“Now Mr. Lon, you can’t buck Uncle Sam,” the foreman said.
“I’m not trying to buck Uncle Sam,” Lon told them as he raised and pointed the gun. “I can’t see a durned inch beyond the men I’m talking to. You’re the ones I’m telling to stop stringing them guy wires.” The men stopped it.
The following is a literal statement a farmer said about a new hired hand.
“I declare, he’s such an idiot that if there was just one cow pile in a ten-acre field, he’d be sure to put his foot in it.”
EGG BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
Unlike many breakfast casserole recipes, this Egg Breakfast Casserole with Biscuits does not need to be prepared ahead of time. That means that you can make this easy casserole on a whim in the morning. This hearty casserole would even make a great option if your family enjoys eating breakfast for dinner.
1 pound pork sausage, plain or sage
1 tube refrigerated “Grand”-style biscuits
2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar,
mozzarella, or a combination)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk (skim, 2%, or whole)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, crumble the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes until lightly browned.
While the sausage cooks, place the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, pressing and pinching them to form a crust with no holes and slightly reaching up the sides of the pan.
Drain any accumulated fat from the cooked sausage and sprinkle it over the biscuits. Top with the cheese(s). In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and then add the milk and spices. Gently pour into the dish and bake about 30 minutes until browned around the edges and set in the center.
Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.