Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Midwestern Expressions: “If you’re happy and you know it—-tickle me pink”

I'm a nut on regional accents and regional idioms and turns of phrase. My peregrinations around the globe have sharpened my ear. When I first left the USA in the 1970s, I didn't know I talked funny. Coming home after long absence, I get a real kick out of the special way my father and friends around me serve up their ideas in earthy language that bears the mark of this bread-basket region.

Here are some expressions that show a person is happy:
"If it suits you, it tickles me to death."
"I’m tickled pink."

My hobo and (later) second-hand bookstore-owning Uncle Willard Thompson used to say, "It's like getting money from home without writing for it."

Of a really lucky fellow?
Our old neighbor Ed Maupin said, "He's the kind of man that if he fell into the river, he’d come up with a pocketful of fish."

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  1. That's my goal...to be so lucky that if I fell into the river I'd come up with a pocketful of fish. What a way to fish! And the Mafia says, "swimming with the fishes" when....well, you know.

  2. Well, this post just TICKLES ME PINK! 🙂 HAHA!

    I've had so much fun living in the South for the last eight years; mainly because of the way people express themselves here. That's not to say my fellow Montanans don't have their own earthy language, but it's nothing like the South. Here are some good ones I've heard here:

    From a highway patrolmen that stopped me on my first day in Nashville: "Needja ta pull up off on the side of the road." (It was the "pull up off on" that threw me. I didn't know what he wanted me to do!)
    My sister-in-law from Wartburg, TN likes to say, "I'm meaner n'a striped snake!" (I'm guessing striped snakes must be pretty mean around here!)
    But my all time favorite, and I hear it every day: "Well, bless your heart!" (Who COULDN'T use a blessing on their heart anyway? I'm not one to turn it down!)

    But you know, Janet, you used a word in your post that "tickled" me the most - and it was just ONE word! "HOBO" No one uses that word anymore, and it's a great word. I'll bet Uncle Willard is a hoot n'a holler. 🙂
    Okay, I'm moving on to Cultural Curmudgeon's now. I love your blog. 🙂 Ang

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