During dinner with Dad last night, the subject of my Mother’s peculiar phrases came up once again. I wrote a blog some time ago about some of her favorite formulations like “John Brown”, “draw back a nub”, and “I swannee.” But I have a few more today, and one of them I would like the readers help in determining its origin.
My Mom often used the phrase, “getting up in the pictures.” It referred to one of us usually, since according to Mom, Dunnevants were always doing it. The best I can tell, to “get up in the pictures” meant to become hysterically overdramatic. Perhaps “pictures” was her term for movies, and to get up in the pictures referred to becoming like actors in a movie, being all dramatic.
“Yes Paula, we ARE having liver and onions for dinner, and if you don’t like it, don’t eat it, but don’t even think about getting up in the pictures with me!”
The thing is, none of us have ever heard anyone else use the term. We asked Dad if before he met Mom had he ever heard the expression. He said, “no.” A google search reveals nothing. Could this be an original expression made up by my mother? If any of you out there have used this phrase or heard it used elsewhere, please let me know.
Another favorite phrase of Mom’s was, “duck dying fit.” Again, keeping with the theme of hysterical drama, it referred to someone losing their composure, or throwing a temper tantrum.
“I swannee! They will spend any amount of money on a barbeque in the fellowship hall, but you ask those worthless deacons to approve a thousand more dollars for Lottie Moon and they have a duck dying fit!”
Its odd how many of Mom’s formulations had to do with people in various stages of dramatic meltdowns. Perhaps this gives you some idea of what life was like growing up in the Dunnevant home.
Mom also constantly used the term, “fixin-to.”( please…drop that annoying G) It meant “preparing to”, or “getting ready to.” Whenever she referred to her home in Buckingham, she would say, “Momanemms”
“I’m fixin-to start packing so we can head over to Momanemms for supper.”
For years I thought that the Dixon farm was named “Momanemms.”
Although Mom only had a high school education, and despite her colorful country vocabulary, I don’t want to leave the impression that she lacked intelligence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mom was extremely well-read and had an insatiable appetite for knowledge about the world. She was an amazing story teller and entirely self taught know-it-all. I would give any amount of money to hear just one more.