A Littleville Dictionary

 LV dictionary pages 001

Have I mentioned that Andrew and I love Littleville?  18 years in, and one child born here, we are so at home we’ve picked our cemetery.  When the kids became old enough, we would leave them for an hour or so on sun-spangled Saturday afternoons for a motorcycle date – a free and glorious ride down county roads that smelled of earth and looked like heaven.   Gradually our motorcycle dates took the same road every time – past the gun club and stone house, a wave at the turn to Dale and Christie’s, across the low bridge in the curve, through the four-way that got hit hard by the tornado, and up the gravel path to the hilltop cemetery marked with a wrought-iron sign.  It was a peaceful place to talk and wander.

Those dates are on hiatus for now because one Moto Guzzi motorcycle is worth a few months of college tuition.  But I am not complaining.  The memories are close to perfect.

Meanwhile, because I am Littlevillian enough to plan to be buried here, I feel qualified to compile a list of local terms and usages that newcomers need to know.

comeapart – noun;  meltdown, tantrum.  “Skylar had a comeapart at Walmart because I wouldn’t buy him a Minecraft Lego set.”

complete comeapart – noun; total and complete meltdown. “Skylar had a complete comeapart when I told him that because of his comeapart I was taking the batteries out of his RC Nano-Falcon helicopter and keeping them.”

ill – adjective; pronounced ‘eel’, in a bad humor, grouchy, bad tempered.  “Skylar was just ill, so we went on back to the house.”

ideal – noun; idea, plan, scheme.  “My ideal was to put the Christmas tree to the right of the window and decorate it in all Auburn.”
*This is so accepted a way to say ‘idea’ that a series of hardbound ‘how to’ craft books at the library is entitled ‘Christmas Ideals.’

squall – verb; cry loudly, vehemently, or with great emotion.  “I just squalled and squalled overThe Notebook.”

tickled – adjective; highly pleased, glad.  “We are so tickled that y’all have been part of the whole wedding weekend.”
*This word is perfectly acceptable for an adult man to use and lose none of his virile masculinity.  It’s endearing.  Usually preceded by ‘so,’ it is pronounced ‘sa tickled.’

carry – verb;  to take or bring a person by vehicle.  “I carried Misty to the drug store to get a humidifier for the baby.”
*This one takes a little getting used to because to the uninformed it seems that the speaker is bodily carrying Misty, when in reality it is a vehicular carry.

rotten – adjective; spoiled, bratty.  “He’s just rotten.”
*This adjective is reserved for male toddlers and is used by grandmothers and mothers.  With pride.

‘I don’t care to’I don’t mind.  Though it looks the opposite, this phrase signifies compliance and willingness.  “I don’t care to babysit.  What time?”

Decoration – noun; one of four Sundays in May in which descendants converge on the rural family church and change out the flowers on the graves of ancestors.  Dinner on the grounds and hymnsings accompany this warm reunion.  “Pastor Andrew,   we can’t have our covered dish that day.  It’s Decoration!!”

mash – verb; push, press.  “I mashed the button, but nothing happened!”  “Well, mash it again!”

proud – adjective; glad, happy.  “Thanks for carrying Mother to Belk’s for the Red Dot Special.”  “Oh, I was proud to do it.”

‘s – The possessive ‘s’ is added liberally to businesses whose names end in a consonant, i.e. Belk’s, Walmart’s, Kmart’s, Shogun’s, etc.  This makes perfect sense and needs no defense.

evening – noun; afternoon.  “We ‘ll go this evening around 3:00.”

set – verb; sit.  “My glasses were setting right on the counter by the Shopper’s Guide.”  “Don’t leave your dirty dishes setting in the break room.”

giveout – adjective; exhausted, done in, faint from hunger.  “I was giveout from ball.”

ball – noun; baseball, softball.  Pronounced ‘mbaw’, this word encompasses the whole of the sport from Park and Rec to high school, from tryouts to final series, to practices, travel ball, tourneys, the whole package.  It is never confused with any other ball sport.  ‘Ball’ refers to a season, to a life.  “This’ll be my last Girls’ Night because ball starts.”

the beach – noun; Gulf Shores, Alabama.  There are no other beaches.  “We’re off Monday, so we’re going to the beach.  We are taking Tyler’s little girlfriend.”

little girlfriend/little boyfriend – noun; teenaged girlfriend or boyfriend.  Under 20, one’s steady dating partner is referred to as ‘little’ no matter their size.  “Jaylyn’s little boyfriend is starting at center this year.  He’s precious.”

This partial list is offered with joy and humility and the knowledge that lifelong Littlevillians will be puzzled over it.  What, they will ask, is odd about these words, or worthy of note?

What indeed?

Of Circuses And Dust

193I realized the meaning of the term ‘three-ring circus’ for the first time when I went with Will’s kindergarten class to the circus in Birmingham.  Finally seated after an hour’s bus ride, a class-wide potty trip, and an obligatory purchase of a neon light-up sword so Will wouldn’t be the only one with nothing to wave when the lights went down, I turned to look down on the arena floor.

There were literally three rings, and in each ring mind-boggling stuff was happening.  In ring one a lion-tamer was sticking his head in the jaws of a maned king of the savannah.  In the middle ring a group of 8-year-old contortionists were folded backward on themselves and building a pyramid.  And in the third ring a motocross rider was circling the interior of a clear sphere faster than vision could follow.  We really just followed his fire-trail.  Around the edges were elephants and jugglers and dancers in gauzy leotards and souvenir hawkers.

Ahhhh, I said to myself.  A three-ring circus.  Too much to look at.  Got it.

Will is a junior, so that field trip was 12 years ago.  But I was reminded of it this weekend when I was praying earnestly for peace and forgiveness from the guilt of a cold hard heart, and it occurred to me that at the moment my heart was not my problem.  My head was.  My head was a three-ring circus.  There were lion-tamers and jugglers and elephants and contortionists and motocross riders running riot through my thoughts.  I had no peace and no ability to impose order on the circus.  There are moments in life when all we can do is sit very still and hope we look calm, graceful, ladylike, and serene.  That was me.  Containment is a good discipline.  It doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s a good start.

In the contained moment I was listening for the Lord.  He reminded me with wonderful practicality, “Child, you are dust, 49 year old dust.  Beloved and redeemed, but for now, still dust.”

I reasoned then that the circus was not due to the state of my heart, but to the state of my body which is frail and ever seeking to return to the ground from which it came. It is not alarming or even surprising that our peace suffers when our body does. It was His kindness to remind me, while I sat in self-imposed ladylike serenity during church, of the hormonal realities that can produce circuses.  I think I might have actually smiled up at Him.

Peace began to descend.  The surge diminished; the circus closed down and moved to another town.  Vision cleared, and I read:

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.’ Lamentations 3: 26

For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14

Thank You, Lord, that circuses move on.

Thank You that You remind me that my frame is dust and my spirit sometimes gets dusty too.

Thank You for helping this dust wait quietly for You.