Bless your heart

People in many regions of the country have their distinctive dialects and colloquialisms. One man’s dinner is another’s supper. Y’all and youse are the same people. I might drive on a frontage road while you prefer access roads.

The Deep South, where I live, has its own rich vocabulary, and a southern drawl is unmistakable. I never heard “road” pronounced with two syllables until I moved to Mississippi. People mean well when they call me “Mr. Clay” but it still brings to mind a Beverly Hills hairdresser.

“Bless your heart” was common in my Texas youth, especially among older generations and people who had grown up in the country. It’s a Mississippi thing, too, and the only regionalism I’ve taken to. “Bless your heart” is a useful way to express a range of insults through a smile:

“Did you hear about Shirley in bookkeeping? She backed her car over the statue of St. Pancratius when she was trying to drop off a King Cake for Father Brian.”
“She did the same thing last year, bless her heart. I thought Father was going to put up a rail.”

“My wife’s sister’s middle boy isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. He keeps trying to milk the billy goat.”
“Bless his heart. Well, maybe he can get work at the feed co-op.”

“Marybeth Agnew won Petunia Princess again. I don’t think they’ve ever had one that old.”
“She’s well-spackled, you have to give her that, bless her heart.”

“I’m voting Trump. He’s what this country needs.”
“Bless your heart.”