Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Accent (02/21/13)
TITLE: Her Way of Talking
By Mildred Sheldon
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The saying, “I’ve never met a stranger I didn’t like,” describes Lizzie to a tee. If she is standing in line, she can start a conversation with a complete stranger with such ease and grace. She has a bubbly personality with a twinkle in her eye. Lizzie loves life, and complaining is not in her nature. If I asked how she’s doing her answer is always the same. “I’m doin jiist grreat.”
Sometimes she’ll scrunch up her face clinching her teeth followed by a moan so soft I can barely hear it, and I know she is in pain. If I press her about it; her pat reply is, “Good ole arth-er-ritis is jiist givin me greef,” Then she’ll carry on as if nothing is wrong, but I know different.
Lizzie sounds like someone from the deep south, but every once in a while she will use a word that’s way out in left field. The other day when she spilled something on the floor, she hollered, “Oh buggers, what a bloody mess.” At that remark I threw my head back laughing uproariously. Lizzie started laughing, and threw a roll of paper towels at me and said between giggles, “Cleaner up goose.”
I have to listen very closely when we are talking, because some of her words sound similar. For example tire and tower come out as tire and I grin all the while, chuckling inwardly at her way of talking.
We worked in a fast food chain, and the boss would always put her on the register at lunch time. The regulars loved her accent, and they’d ask her to say anything, and Lizzie would always reply. “What duh ya want me ta say?” It amazed me how that would trigger a conversation.
Whenever she said certain words like out or water the customers loved it. They loved to tease Lizzie because of her accent, and she would take it all in stride. One customer with a chuckle in his voice asked, “Hey, Lizzie, how do you spell that? Do you put an ae in front of out, and do you put a ‘d’ where the ‘t’ is in water.”
Giggling all the while with a twinkle in her eye Lizzie responded, “Nay-uh.”
The camaraderie of those customers with Lizzie made dining an enjoyable moment in time. The lines moved quickly and Lizzie was exceptional at her job. Lizzie carried on a conversation while punching buttons, made eye contact with customers at the same time, and made that job look easy. I asked Lizzie how she came to have such a unique accent and she told me it’s a mishmash of various languages all mixed together, and of that I must agree.
After retiring, Lizzie and her husband moved out of state. I miss my dear friend, but we still keep in touch. I’ll call her just so I can hear that melodious slow southern drawl that makes Lizzie so very special.
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