Sunday, June 11, 2006

Habits and Speech

Lee was generally a very positive person and upbeat about life's circumstances. He was liked by most people in the community and very popular in Winston-Salem where he knew many professional people, retailers, and shoppers who frequented his parking lot. He was an entertaining character who was fun to be around. His frequent antics caused people to laugh as he laughed with them.

Lee decorated his speech with lots of words like shit, damn, bitch, son-of-bitch, hell, ass, etc. He used these words as nouns, adjectives and adverbs. I noticed people who talked this way were usually men. It was a common practice among some men during that era to use such language. I tried to determine if men spoke that way because they didn't know more appropriate words or if they were trying to get laughter or startled reactions from listeners or young people in their midst. I concluded that both reasons explained this type word usage.

Anyway, today few men curse like they did in that previous generation. However, I notice more women of today speaking curse words which is different from the past. Certainly, it was rare for women to speak that way in mixed company.

Above, Lee is sitting on the front porch of Waller's Store in Dozier, a popular place to visit neighbors, gossip, and drink soda or eat Nabs, sardines, cheese, or salted peanuts.

Lee chewed tobacco, but didn't smoke or consume alcoholic beverages. His distinguishing characteristic was a large wad of tobacco inside his cheek and dark saliva pooled in his mouth. Sometimes he could not speak until he moved to the edge of the porch to expectorate and produce a large splash onto the ground.

Lee worked hard but knew how to rest, relax and gather his thoughts about what to do next. I imagine he is resting and planning in the picture below. He may have been making plans to go to the Yadkin River where he enjoyed fishing. I'll describe the way he knotted line to hooks and cleaned catfish with only one hand in a later post.

Return here Tuesday, June 13 for the next chapter about my Uncle Lee.

Have a good day!


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