“If you don’t understand who you are
and where you come from,
it’s hard to understand your place now.”
—actor John Turturro, quoted in
Parade magazine on February 15, 2015

In the previous six posts in this series “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Parts I-VI” I attempted to explain who I am by examining where I came from as a country boy born and raised in rural Arkansas.

In the last of these posts, Part VI, I presented some “false French” that I encountered in my years as a French teacher, translator, and interpreter.

Now in this last post in that seven-part series I offer some of my favorite French quotations collected over the years of my life and career. Due to ongoing health issues, this may be my last post for the foreseeable future.

Favorite French Sayings

Quand nous étions en Arkansas,
dix des Français qui m’accompagnaient
ont demandé un établissement sur la rivière Arkansas.

(“When we were in Arkansas,
ten of the Frenchmen who accompanied me
requested a settlement on the Arkansas River.”)
—Henri de Tonti,
Explaining establishment of Arkansas Post (1686),
Historical Collection of Louisiana, Vol. 1, p. 68

“I started out life as a cowboy in Arkansas
and came to Oklahoma as a French-English translator.
As our Yankee friends say, ‘Go figure!’”

—Jimmy Peacock

If you have followed my blog all through these three-and-a-half-plus years and more than a hundred-twenty-plus posts you may recognize the first quotation above which appeared in my earlier post titled “Arkansiana IV: Arkansas’ French Connection.”

Jimmy Peacock as a cowboy in the mid-1940s

Me as a cowboy in my birthplace of Selma,  Arkansas, in the mid-1940s (to magnify, click on the photo)

Jimmy Peacock dressed as a Frenchman in the mid-1960s

Me as a Frenchman at a French teachers’ institute in the mid-1960s (to magnify, click on the photo)

You may also have noted my explanation of my own personal connection to the French language in a post titled “How the Words in Italics Changed My Whole Life” and my love for French Louisiana that led to our disastrous honeymoon to Cajun Country and New Orleans in December 1962. (See my post titled “Our Honeymoon Was No Honeymoon for Mari.”)

As a result of my years of studying and teaching French I eventually became a French-English translator and interpreter for an international Christian organization in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Later, I became the U.S. representative and translator/interpreter for a traveling French evangelist.

Through all those years of exposure to the French language, I came across several French sayings that have stuck with me.

Here are just a few of my favorites. I must admit that now, almost four decades later, the origin of some of these French quotes is unknown or forgotten.

“Ce qui n’est pas clair n’est pas français.”
(“What is not clear is not French.”)
—Antoine de Rivarol
L’universalité de la langue française
(The Universality of the French Language)

“Chaque jour je fais deux choses que je déteste;
je me lève et je me couche.”
(“Every day I do two things that I hate:
I get up and I go to bed.”)

“Nul homme n’est un héros pour son valet de chambre.”
(“No man is a hero to his personal valet.”)
—Quoted by French evangelist Jean-Louis Jayet

“Aujourd’hui, ce qui ne vaut pas la peine à dire, on le chante.”
(“Today, what is not worth saying is being sung.”)

“Ne me dites pas que ce problème est difficile.
S’il n’était pas difficile, ce ne serait pas un problème.”
(“Don’t tell me that this problem is difficult.
If it were not difficult it would not be a problem.”)
—Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Foch

Le cœur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point.”
(“The heart has its reasons, that reason knows nothing about.”)
—Blaise Pascale

“L’homme n’est rien, l’oeuvre tout.”
(“Man is nothing, work is everything.”)
—Gustave Flaubert in letter to George Sand,
quoted by Sherlock Holmes in The Red-Headed League,
from “Literary Skills of Sherlock Holmes” by Ted Friedman.

“De la discussion jaillit la lumière.”
(“From discussion springs forth light.”)
(Provided the discussion is honest, accurate, and amiable!)
—Nicolas Boileau

“La France a perdu une bataille,
 la France n’a pas perdu la guerre . . . .
La France
 ne peut pas être la France sans grandeur.”
(“France has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war. . . .
France cannot be France without grandeur.”)
—Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle (to magnify, click on the photo)

“L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.”
(“Audacity, audacity, always audacity.”
or, “Dare, dare, always dare.”)
—Attributed to both Georges Danton of France
and Frederick II of Prussia,
quoted by Gen. George Patton in the movie Patton

Georges Danton

Georges Danton

Frederick II

Frederick II

George Patton

George Patton

And my favorite French quote,
the official slogan of the French-speaking
Canadian province of Quebec:
“Je me souviens.”
(“I Remember.”)

Forget the Past! How Can I Do That?

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing . . .”
—Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

The quote above about forgetting the past was the scripture passage for the daily devotional lesson from The Upper Room for February 21, the day I wrote this section of this post. Coincidentally, it was also the date on which I began work as a French-English translator at the Osborn Foundation in Tulsa in 1977, thus beginning my Oklahomian Exile.

Paradoxically, when I inserted that biblical quote I had already closed this section on my favorite French quotes with my own French self-quote about the past:

“Je déteste le présent et je crains l’avenir,
mais j’adore le passé.
C’est là où toute ma vie est allée
et où moi aussi j’irai bientôt!”
(“I hate the present
and I fear the future,
but I adore/worship the past.
That’s where all my life has gone
and where I too will soon go!”)
—Jimmy Peacock
(To hear this sentiment about the past
expressed in music, listen to 1950s crooner Eddie Fisher sing
“Turn Back the Hands of Time”)

On that note, as a “hopeless romantic and helpless neurotic French cowboy” I conclude this post and series with a link to a video of the inimitable French cabaret singer Edith Piaf performing “Non je ne regrette rien” (“No I regret nothing”) with French and English lyrics on screen. To read about Edith Piaf, click on her name; to hear the song with a totally different view of the past, click on its title.

Edith Piaf

Edith Piaf

On a lighter note, to watch an amusing minute-and-a-half take-off of this song from the popular computer-animated movie Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Wanted, click here.


All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
—Acts 2:4 NIV

Finally, in about 1983, after studying, teaching, translating, and interpreting French for more than twenty-five years, I was invited to come to France for an orientation visit with a French evangelist I represented at the time. It was the first and only time I ever set foot in any French-speaking country!

During that two-week visit I was interviewed on French radio. I still have a cassette recoding of that interview in which I gave my Christian testimony in French. (See my earlier post titled “My Religious Conversion.”)

Not bad for a “cowboy from Arkansas” (the son of a livestock dealer and the grandson of a country Southern Baptist preacher), an “exiled Arkie of the Covenant” whose only remaining contact with French is his daily Bible reading in the same French Bible he used to translate and interpret more than thirty years ago!

Jimmy Peacock holding his father's branding iron

Me holding my father’s branding iron

Rev. Willis Barrett, maternal grandfather of Jimmy Peacock and cofounder/pastor of the Selma Baptist church

Rev. Willis Barrett, my maternal grandfather and cofounder/pastor of the Selma Baptist church (to magnify, click on the photo)


The photo of Ferdinand Foch was taken from:

The photo of Charles de Gaulle was taken from:

The photo of Frenchman Georges Danton was taken from:

The photo of Frederick II of Prussia was taken from:

The photo of General George Patton from the movie Patton was taken from:

The link to the video of Eddie Fisher singing “Turn Back the Hands of Time” was taken from:

The photo of French cabaret singer Edith Piaf was taken from:

The YouTube video of Edith Piaf singing “Non je ne regrette rien” was taken from:

The YouTube video of “Non je ne regrette rien” from the movie Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Wanted was taken from:



“It was on this date in February 1977 (the year that King Elvis died, see Isaiah 6:1) that I accepted the invitation from international evangelist T.L. Osborn to ‘come to Tulsa and help me get the Gospel to the French world.’ Thirty-eight years later I am still here . . . in My Oklahomian Exile from the Holy Land (Arkansas).”
—Jimmy Peacock

“In Arkansas there is a mountain,
and a state park on top of it,
both named Petit Jean . . .
But it ain’t Petty and it ain’t Gene!”
—Jimmy Peacock

In an earlier post titled “Moments to Remember/Selma Methodist Church Update” I wrote about our McGehee, Arkansas, High School Class of 1956 senior trip to Petit Jean State Park, which sits atop a mountain named Petit Jean.

McGehee High School as it looked in 1956

McGehee High School as it looked in 1956 at the time of our senior class trip to Petit Jean State Park (to magnify, click on the photo )

In that post and in earlier ones about Arkansas’ “French Connection” (the title of a popular 1971 Hollywood movie) I examined the early French exploration and settlement of what is now the state of Arkansas, including the many French names that have been left behind in it as a result.

Petit Jean is one of them, though, of course as has so often happens, the original French pronunciation (“p’tee ZHAW(N)”) has been anglicized into “Petty Gene.” (To read more on this subject of the French vestiges in my native state, including its very name, visit the posts titled: “Arkansiana I: The Name of Arkansas,” “Arkansiana II: Pronunciation of Arkansas,” “Arkansiana III: Change the Name of Arkansas,” and “Arkansiana IV: Arkansas’ French Connection.”)

Petit Jean State Park (to magnify, click on the photo)

Petit Jean State Park

Now in this new post (the next to final one in the series titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . .”) I would like to continue that theme. As such I will offer several other examples of misunderstanding, mispronunciation, and misuse of French terms and phrases in general among the American public. These are especially evident among TV news and sports announcers who might be expected to know better—or at least to take the time to look them up before mangling them beyond recognition by any real French speaker.

(Note: The correct pronunciations of the French terms and phrases in this post are actually only Americanized approximations since French has an entirely different set of sounds from English, sounds that can only be accurately represented in print by phonetic symbols. In this post, emphasis on syllables is indicated by ALL CAPS. Generally, in spoken French, syllables tend to begin with a consonant and end with a vowel, to be broken and pronounced equally, with emphasis on the final syllable of each word, phrase, and sentence, e.g., “Canada” pronounced in French “Cah-nah-DAH” rather than the English “CAN-uh-duh.”)

Mangled French Terms and Phrases

“Most Americans’ use of French words and phrases
is not just anglicized French, it is ‘manglicized’ French!”
—Jimmy Peacock

“Monsieur Hercule Poirot est blessé,
mais il fait toujours son travail à son bureau.”

(“Mr. Hercule Poirot is injured,
but he continues his work at his desk.”)
—Sample for French mispronunciation/misuse

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot

David Suchet as Monsieur Hercule Poirot

One of the most obvious misunderstandings by speakers of American English is that the final consonant in French is NEVER pronounced. Thus, French terms such as “Monsieur” are incorrectly pronounced “Muh-SIEU” when in reality the final “r” is pronounced in French “Muh-SIEUR.” This rule applies to many French words that end in “-eur” or “-ieur.”

On that subject, of course there is the French word all Americans use for “Miss”—”Mademoiselle”— which they pronounce as “MAM-zelle” when it is actually “Mad-mwah-ZELLE,” literally “my young lady.”

One bit of pretense that grates on my ear, nerves, and soul is the pronunciation of the French Quarter in New Orleans which was originally called the “vieux carré” (meaning literally, the “old square”). People who want to try to show off their knowledge of New Orleans French names will invariably mispronounce this term “VIEW kuhray,” when in actuality it is “vyuh cah-REH.”

Vieux Carre in New Orleans

The French Quarter in New Orleans

And then there is the NBA sports announcer who pronounces the last name of a pro basketball player named “Sucre” (which incidentally should be spelled “Sucré”) as “SHOO-gray”when it is neither “Shoo” nor “gray.” Instead it should be pronounced “Sue-CRAY.” (Incidentally, if the name is actually “Sucre,” then it should be pronounced “SUE-cruh” but still not “SHOO-gray.”)

Speaking of accents in French, which are of great importance in that language, the same type of “false French” occurs in writing.

In a recent syndicated religious devotional in the local newspaper on the subject of respecting the differences in people, the writer ended by noting, “As the French say, ‘Viva la difference.'”

The only problem is that expression is NOT French, it is “Spanglish.” The word “Viva” is Spanish, and the word “difference” is English!

The actual French phrase should have been “Vive la différence.”

Again, the question is: Before using such a French term, why did the writer (and the sports announcer above) not take the time and effort to first make sure it was correct?

Another example of false French is the mispronunciation of terms such as “masseur/masseuse” (“male/female massager”), pronounced in French “mah-SIR/mah-SIRZ,” which are NOT pronounced “mah-sewer/mah-soose”! Likewise, the terms “chanteur/chanteuse” (“male/female singer”) should not be pronounced “shan-tewer/shan-toose”!

Quelle horreur!

Then there is the false idea that French terms such as “poireau” (the French word for “pear”) and French names (such as “Hercule Poirot” in the quote above) are pronounced “PAW-row,” when in truth they are properly pronounced “pwah-ROW.” Another example is the name of the Bahamian-American movie actor named Sydney Poitier whose last name is NOT pronounced “POE-ti-aye,” but rather “pwah-ti-AYE.”

Actor Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier

Another is the false impression that in order to make the final “oh” sound on a French word, it has to end with “eau” and a final “x.” For example, I saw a TV ad for Louisiana State University which showed a sign reading “Geaux Tigers!” (“Go Tigers!”)

That is real cute and clever . . . except that the normally silent “x” at the end of a French word ending in “eau” (pronounced “oh”) simply indicates that the term is plural!

For example, take the common term “beau,” which is pronounced correctly in both French and English as “boh.” To add an “x” to the end of that French word “beau” so that it becomes “beaux” simply changes it to plural, as in the common French term “beaux arts,” which means “fine arts” and is pronounced “boh-ZAR.” (Note: The final “x” in such terms is pronounced only in front of a following word beginning with a vowel; otherwise, the final “x” is silent, as in “beaux regards,” pronounced “bo ruh-GAR”).

Yet in spite of this explanation it seems that any American (even in French-speaking Louisiana) who attempts to create a French word ending in “eau” (i.e., the “oh” sound) will automatically and incorrectly add an “x” to the end.

“Say it ain’t seaux, Jeaux!”

(To understand my double “pun” here in imitation of this practice of false French, click here to learn the origin and significance of the famous “Black Sox” baseball phrase: “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”)

Also consider the common French term “tête-à-tête” which is almost always incorrectly pronounced “tet-ah-TAY.” It is correctly pronounced “tet-ah-TET”— “head to head”—same word “tête” for “head” on each end!

Also there is the common but totally inaccurate attempt to pronounce the popular French show term “Cirque du Soleil” (“Circus of the Sun”) as “SURK-diew-so-lay” when it is actually more like “seerk-du-so-LAY-yuh.”

Then there is the French term so often both mispronounced and misused: “coup de grâce” which is almost always pronounced incorrectly as “koo-duh-GRAH” when it is actually “koo-duh-GRAHSE.” And it doesn’t mean a “death blow” per se since in this case the French word “grâce” means “grace” or “mercy.” It is thus the “mercy blow” given to put a poor suffering soul out if its misery.

And, of course, there is the common American term “chaise lounge” (a long, reclining chair usually mispronounced as “chase lounge”). That example of false French (or “manglicized French”) occurred because of both misspelling and mispronunciation. The actual French term is “chaise longue” (meaning “long chair” and pronounced “shez LOWNG”).

In that same opening quote above about Mr. Poirot working at his desk, there is an excellent example of another type of false French: what the French themselves call “faux amis” (pronounced “foe-zah-ME”), which literally means “false friends.” (Note the use of the final “x” again to indicate that the term is plural.) These are words in French that look like they are the same as English but are not: for example, the French word “travail” (pronounced “trah-VYE-yuh”) means not “travail” or “travel” but “work.”

Here is another set of false friends: The French word “la prune” (pronounced “la PREWne”) does not mean “prune” but “plum”; and the French word for “prune” is “le pruneau” (pronounced “luh prew-NO”). Of course, by now you know that the plural form of “le pruneau” would be . . . you guessed it, “les pruneaux” (pronounced “lay prew-NO”)!

Another false friend is the French term “blessé” (pronounced “bless-AYE”), which does not mean “blessed” but rather “injured” or “wounded.”

Finally, a third example of a false friend is the French word “raisin” (pronounced something like “ray-ZAI(N),” which does not mean “raisin” but “grape.” The French word for “raisin” is “raisin sec” (pronounced “ray-zai(n) SEK”), meaning literally “grape dry” or “dried grape.”

Though I could list hundreds of other examples of false French terms, phrases, pronunciations, and meanings, there is the universal American misconception that the final “r” in all French terms ending in “-oir” is silent. That is NOT true.

Here are examples of such terms with their English mispronunciations and their correct French pronunciations: “boudoir” (English: “BOOD-wah”/French: “boo-DWAHR”); “memoir” (English: “MEM-wah”; French: “mem-WAHR”); “armoire” (English: “ARM-wah”; French: “arm-WAHR”).

And on that subject, despite what you may hear on the old movies channels, the infamous 1940s “film noir” (literally “black film”) genre is not pronounced “film nwah” but rather “feelm-NWAHR.”

Again, the examples are legion, but “voilà” (pronounced not as in English “WAH-lah” but as in French “vwah-LAH”) those that I have chosen!

The others will have to await a future post. Until then: “au revoir” (pronounced correctly not as “AH-vwah” or “OH-vwah” but as “oh–ruh-VWAHR.”)

“Until we see each another again.”

Addenda and Conclusion

“Pralines have an interesting history. Their origin may be traced to France in the 1600s to the grand manor house of the French diplomat Cesar compte du Plessis-Praslin.”
—Barry Fugatt, “Pecan pralines help beat the winter blues,”
Tulsa World, December 27, 2014

On a related subject, Mari and I were married on December 27, 1962, after which we spent our honeymoon in Cajun Country and New Orleans. (See my earlier post titled “Our Honeymoon Was No Honeymoon for Mari.”)

Coincidentally, on the day of our fifty-second wedding anniversary, December 27, 2014, Barry Fugatt, a native of Louisiana and the Tulsa World garden editor, published a column in which he cleared the air once and for all about the proper pronunciation of both the words “praline” and “pecan”!

Pecan pralines

Pecan pralines

First, Fugatt noted the source of pralines (in the opening quote above) as a certain French nobleman named Cesar compte du Plessis-Praslin. I can assure you that name would be pronounced in French something like: “Say-ZAR kawnte du Ples-SEE—Prahz-LAI(N).”

The source of the English word “praline” is that last name “Prahz-LAI(N).” Although French nasals are almost impossible to represent in writing in English, the fact is that as Fugatt notes the proper pronunciation “prah-leen” is closer to the French than the popular but totally inaccurate pronunciation “pray-leen”:

“And while on the subject of pralines, please allow an old Southerner to weigh in on a contentious subject. The proper pronunciation for the fabulous French confection is: ‘Prah-leen,’ with a long ‘aaah’ sound. Only Yankees, or folks with poor speech modulation, use the shrill sounding pronunciation, ‘Pray-leen.’

“And if I may be allowed another small insight—no offense intended—the proper name for the nut from which the confection takes its name is rightly pronounced: ‘Puh-kahn’ and not ‘Pee-can.’ Sons and daughters of the South can hardly endure hearing the confection called ‘pee-can pray-leen.’ It has all the melodic charm of finger nails being scraped along a blackboard.”

Amen, mon ami de Louisiane! (pronounced in French: “Ah-men, mow-nah-mi duh Lwee-ZYAHNE!”)

Speaking of French and Country, on January 2, 2014, I saw an article on AOL about the death of Donna Douglas, a native of Louisiana, who played Elly May Clampett on the highly popular 1960s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies about a country family from the Ozark Mountains.

The Beverly Hillbillies

The Beverly Hillbillies

It so happens that I met Donna back in about 1983 at Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where she was a student after her TV career. I was there to interpret for a French evangelist for whom I served as American representative. The Rhema contact person asked us if we wanted to meet Donna Douglas.

Of course, I said yes. The French evangelist did not know who Donna was, but I explained to him in French that she was a hugely popular American TV star.

When we met her, Donna was very soft-spoken, sweet, and beautiful—just like Elly May.

Donna Douglas

Donna Douglas in 1967

When she learned that I was from Arkansas she asked me, “Did y’all eat grits?”

I said jokingly, “Why, if it hadn’t been for the weevils in the grits we wouldn’t have had any protein in our diet at all!”

She thought that was funny.

Note: The final post in this series, titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Part VII,” will conclude the series with a few of my favorite French quotes. To that list I have added a link to a French song performed by Edith Piaf and an amusing take-off of it from the recent kids’ movie Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Wanted.


All French-English words, meanings, and pronunciations were verified by Cassells’ French-English English-French Dictionary and the Visual Bilingual French-English Dictionary.

The photo of the McGehee High School building (no longer standing) was taken from the 1956 MHS yearbook.

The photo of Petit Jean State Park was taken from a travel brochure published by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

The photo of the French Quarter, the vieux carré, in New Orleans was taken from:

The photo of actor David Suchet as fictional Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was taken from:

The photo of actor Sidney Poitier was taken from:

The quote from Barry Fugatt’s article on pecan pralines was taken from “Pecan pralines help beat the winter blues,” which appeared in the Tulsa World on Saturday, December 27, 2014.

The photo of pecan pralines was taken from:

The Wikipedia article about the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies and the photo of the titleboard of it were taken from:

The Wikipedia article about Donna Douglas and the photo of her in 1967 were taken from:


“Hate to burst your bubble, sweetheart, but a Stetson
and a pair of Tony Lamas [Western boots] doesn’t make a man a cowboy.”
― Victoria VaneSlow Hand, taken from
“Quotes about Cowboys”

In the preceding posts, “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Parts III and IV,” I offered quizzes on the subject of Country-Western terms, grade-B TV and movie cowboys, old Country-Western songs, and John Wayne Western movies.

Now in this fifth post in the series I test your knowledge of some popular 1950s and 60s weekly TV Westerns not included in the quizzes above, which turned out to be a more daunting and time-consuming task than I had envisioned.

I had planned to include in this post samples of some commonly mispronounced and misused French words and phrases that grate on my ears, my nerves, and my soul! That segment will now appear in my next two posts along with some of my favorite French quotations that I picked up over my decades as a “French cowboy” teacher, translator, and interpreter.

The “Dusty Dozen”:
A Quiz on Popular 1950s and 60s TV Westerns

“Riverboat, ring your bell,
Fare thee well Annabel.
Luck is the lady that he loves the best.
Natchez to New Orleans,
Livin’ on jacks and queens,
________ is a legend of the West.”
Theme song of one of the
most popular 1950s-60s TV Westerns
(See the answers section.)

Now here is a twelve-point quiz on some of the most popular 1950s and 60s TV Westerns. (Hint: Jot down your answers to each of the questions.)

  1. This popular series ran from 1957 to 1962 and featured not only the theme song (see above and in the answers section) but also three Western gamblers, cousins by the names of Bret, Bart, and later their English cousin Beau. Question: What is the name of the series and who played Bret, Bart, and Beau?
  1. This Western TV series, shown from 1957 to 1963, featured Richard Boone as an itinerant hired gun who quoted literary sources and spoke several languages. The opening of each episode featured a specially designed business card with the title on it. It also had a popular theme song which began with the name of the gunman. What was the name of the show and its gunslinger star?
  1. Shown from 1955 to 1963 this series featured a very tall and muscular cowboy whose first name was that of a Western Native-American tribe. According to an online source, “After the Civil war adventurer ___________ roamed the west looking for fights, women and bad guys to beat up. His job changed from episode to episode.” Name the title of the show, the Western hero portrayed in it, and the actor who played him.
  1. This series, which ran from 1955 to 1961, was loosely based on the life and adventures of a famous Western lawman who supposedly “cleaned up the country, the old wild west country, [and] made law and order prevail.” Known for his nappy dress, his flat-topped hat, and his long-barreled Buntline pistols, he was played by ruggedly handsome Hugh O’Brian (whom some of my country relatives used to think looked like me when I was forty years younger!). What was the name of the TV series and the famous lawman whose life it depicted?
  1. This series, featuring popular movie star Steve McQueen, ran from 1958 to 1961. According to the Internet, it is about “a Civil War veteran with a sawed-off rifle as a holstered weapon [who] makes a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s.” McQueen was perhaps best known for his long and successful movie career in which he starred in such Western classics as The Magnificent Seven and other action movies like The Great Escape and Bullitt with that now-famous car chase scene. What was the name of this Western TV series and the bounty hunter portrayed in it?
  1. Set in a geographical/topographical location in California that provided its name, this Western series (1965-69) was somewhat different from the others of its day in that its lead character was a strong female played by veteran movie actress Barbara Stanwyck. In this capacity Stanwyck ruled and reigned over a family which included characters played by Lee Majors (later to gain fame as The Six-Million-Dollar Man and The Fall Guy and as the husband of famous and iconic model-actress Farrah Fawsett) and Linda Evans (who went on to garner further TV fame in a highly popular “1980 prime time soap opera” titled Dynasty.) What were the names of that Western series and its female head of household?
  1. In contrast to the matriarchal Western family in the preceding series, this series was definitely male-dominate with deep-voiced Canadian actor Lorne Greene playing Ben Cartwright, the head of the Cartwright clan, which consisted of three grown sons. (As someone has noted, it was interesting to see a fifty-year-old man who headed a family of three forty-year-old sons.) Sporting a name related to a huge fortune or good luck, in keeping with its Nevada location, this series “ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series.” What was the name of this series, the names of three Cartwright “boys,” and the names of the three actors who portrayed them?
  1. This Western series originally ran from 1952-1961, prompting Wikipedia to note that it ran twenty years and was thus “the United States’ longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes.” Set in and around Dodge City, Kansas, its principal characters were the resident U.S. marshal, his two sidekick deputies (played in different roles by two different actors for different periods), his “love interest” as the owner-manager of the most frequented saloon in town, and the gruff but loveable local medical doctor. Name the enormously popular series, the fictional marshal, his two sidekick-deputies, his long-suffering “girlfriend,” her dearly beloved saloon, and the dedicated medico—plus the names of the actors who played them.
  1. According to Wikipedia, the next American Western TV series “showed a fictionalized account of the life of real-life marshal/gambler/dandy ___ _________. The title character was played by Gene Barry and the half-hour black-and-white shows ran on NBC from 1958 to 1961.” In real life, the dapper character portrayed in this series went on to become (of all things) a New York newspaper sports writer while the actor who played him went on to appear in a TV show titled Burke’s Law. That later series ran on ABC from 1963 to 1965 and was revived on CBS in the 1990s. Can you name the title of the Western show and the actual character whose life it supposedly portrayed?
  1. According to Wikipedia, this Western series ran on NBC from 1957 to 1962 and then on ABC from 1962 to 1965, eight years in all. The series initially starred veteran movie supporting actor Ward Bond (a longtime friend of John Wayne’s who appeared in several of Wayne’s Western movies). After Bond’s death he was replaced by John McIntire. The scout in the show was played by Robert Horton who was later replaced by actor and horse rancher Robert Fuller. What was the name of the series?
  1. Again according to Wikipedia, this immensely popular Western starred James Drury and Doug McClure and famed character actor Lee J. Cobb. Loosely based on a 1902 novel by Owen Wister, it aired on NBC from 1962 to 1971 for a total of 249 episodes. The first TV Western show to run ninety minutes instead of the usual one hour or half-hour, it lasted nine seasons, making it the third-longest-running TV Western. What was it called and what were the names of the characters played by Drury, McClure, and Cobb?
  1. Finally, but definitely not least, according to Wikipedia this last classic Western “starring Eric Fleming and _____ _________ aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes. . . . . Spanning seven and a half years, [it] was the fifth-longest-running American television Western.” Its star, who played an irascible cowboy character named Rowdy Yates, went on to become a legendary Western movie actor who also made some memorable hard-nosed detective movies. Can you guess the name of the show, the curious name of the character played by Eric Fleming, and the now legendary name of the tough Western actor who played Rowdy Yates? Go ahead and try! “Make my day!”

Answers to “Dusty Dozen” Quiz

Following are the answers to the “Dusty Dozen” quiz on popular 1950s and 1960s Western TV shows:

  1. Answers: Maverick: James Garner as Bret, Jack Kelly as Bart, and Roger Moore as Beau. (To hear the show’s theme song on YouTube, click here.) (Incidentally, James Garner, the native Oklahoman who played the original and lead character named Bret Maverick on TV, later starred in a 1994 movie by the same title as the TV series playing Marshall Zane Cooper with Bret Maverick being played by Mel Gibson.)

    James Garner as Bret Maverick

    James Garner as Bret Maverick

  2. Answers: Have Gun-Will Travel. Paladin(To hear the show’s theme song on YouTube, click here.)

    Richard Boone as Palladin

    Richard Boone as Paladin

  3. Answers: Cheyenne: Cheyenne Brodie, Clint Walker.  (To hear his theme song on YouTube, click here.)

    Clint Walker as Cheyenne Brodie

    Clint Walker as Cheyenne Brodie

  4. Answers: The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp.  (To hear his theme song on YouTube, click here.)

    Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp

    Hugh O’Brian as Wyatt Earp

  5. Answers: Wanted: Dead or Alive: Josh Randall.

    Steve McQueen as Josh Randall

    Steve McQueen as Josh Randall

  6. Answers: The Big Valley: Victoria Barkley.

    The cast of the TV Western "The Big Valley"

    The cast of the TV Western series The Big Valley

  7. Answers: Bonanza: Pernell Roberts as Adam, Dan Blocker as Hoss, and Michael Landon as Little Joe.

    The TV screen titleboard of the Western series "Bonanza"

    The TV screen titleboard of the Western series Bonanza

  8. Answers: Gunsmoke: U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon played by James Arness; Chester Goode played by Dennis Weaver and Festus Haggen played by Ken Curtis; Miss Kitty Russell played by Amanda Blake (the red-haired proprietress of the Longbranch Saloon); and loveable old “Doc” (Dr. Galen Adams) played by Milburn Stone.

    The TV screen titleboard of the Western series "Gunsmoke"

    The TV screen titleboard of the Western series Gunsmoke

  9. Answer: Bat Masterson.

    Gene Barry as the Western TV lawman Bat Masterson

    Gene Barry as the TV Western lawman Bat Masterson

  10. Answer: Wagon Train.

    The lead characters in the TV Western series "Wagon Train"

    Robert Horton and Ward Bond as lead characters in the TV Western Wagon Train

  11. Answers: The Virginian: The name of the Virginian played by James Drury was never revealed in the nine years of the show; the character played by Doug McClure was called simply Trampas; and the character played by Lee J. Cobb was Judge Garth.

    The TV screen titleboard for the Western series "The Virginian"

    The TV screen titleboard for the Western series titled The Virginian

  12. Answers: Rawhide: Gil Favor, Clint Eastwood. (To view a two-minute video with scenes from the show and its famous theme song, click here. To view a two-minute video clip featuring a likeness and the voice of Clint Eastwood as “the spirit of the West” in the popular computer-generated kids’ movie Rango, click here. It is the source of one of my favorite quotes: “No man can walk out on his own story.” That’s why I keep writing and blogging about my own story at age seventy-six when that story is nearing its end with as yet no decisive conclusion or discernible purpose.)

    Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates in the TV Western "Rawhide"

    Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates in the TV series Rawhide


More Western Songs

“A time to be reaping
A time to be sowing
The green leaves of summer
Are calling me home.”

—The Brothers Four,
“The Green Leaves of Summer” from the 1960 movie
The Alamo with John Wayne
(To hear this song sung by the Brothers Four, click here.)
(To hear the complete 15-minute
soundtrack to The Alamo film, click here.)

My last post featured several quizzes about old Western TV shows and movies. It also had one quiz about 1950s and 60s Western songs. Here are five others that I have thought of since that time. These five do not include the one quoted above from the 1960 John Wayne movie titled The Alamo, which Mari and I first saw at the drive-in theater in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, before our marriage and while we were attending summer school at our alma mater of Ouachita Baptist College.

See if you can identify each of these five Western songs by inserting the missing words in their lyrics and providing their titles.

  1. “Give me land, lots of land,
    Under starry skies above,
    Don’t ___________ me in.”
  2. “The stars at night
    Are big and bright,
    Deep in the heart of __________.”
  3. “Across the alley from the Alamo,
    Lived a pinto pony and a ________.”
  4. “Away, I’m bound away,
    Across the wide _______________.”
  5. “Out in the West Texas town of ___ ____
    I fell in love with a Mexican girl.”

Answers to Five Western Songs Quiz

Here are the answers to the five Western songs with blanks for the missing words as verified and quoted from Wikipedia.

  1. “Don’t fence me in” from the song of the same title. (To view a three-and-a-half-minute video of this song performed by Roy Rogers with Trigger dancing to the tune, click here.)
  2. “Deep in the Heart of Texas” from the song of the same title. (To view the lyrics to this song, click here.)
  3. “Navajo,” from the song “Across the Alley from the Alamo.” (To view the lyrics to this song, click here.)
  4. “Across the Wide Missouri” from the song “Oh, Shenandoah.” (To hear this song sung by The Kingston Trio, click here.)
  5. “El Paso” from the song of the same title. (To read about this song, click here. To listen to it sung by Marty Robbins on YouTube video, click here.)

Two More Addenda

By an amazing coincidence, while I was making up this post during the last week or so of December, my wife pointed out to me a “Southern Journal” entry on the same subject of old 1950s and 60s Western TV shows that appeared in the January 2015 issue of Southern Living magazine.

The entry was written by Rick Bragg who, according to Southern Living “is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and author of several best-selling books, including Ava’s Man and Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story.”

Titled “Cowboys Are Her Weakness” the entry describes the author’s mother and her abiding love for certain of the TV Westerns described in this post, especially The Virginian.

Also by coincidence, on December 30 the Tulsa World published a long article with several photos titled “Western Collection: ‘Gunsmoke’ fan shows off mountain of memorabilia.'” Written by Jimmie Tramel, World Scene Writer, the article is based on an interview with a Tulsan named Mike Summers whose huge collection of Western memorabilia, especially from the long-running Western TV series Gunsmoke, includes the pistol carried by actor James Arness as U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, as well as his badge and the holster in which the Colt .45 was carried. The story of how Summers came into possession of these and many other valuable and irreplaceable items is quite interesting. To read the article, click here. 


Except for the opening quote about cowboys, the musical YouTube videos, and the two entries in the addenda section, all information about the Western movies and TV shows and actors was taken from personal memory verified, corrected, and augmented by the respective entries in Wikipedia.

The photo of James Garner as Bret Maverick was taken from:

The photo of Richard Boone as Paladin was taken from:

The photo of Clint Walker as Cheyenne Brodie was taken from:

The photo of Hugh O’Brian as Wyatt Earp was taken from:

The photo of Steve McQueen as Josh Randall was taken from:

The photo of the cast of The Big Valley was taken from:

The photo of the Bonanza titleboard was taken from:

The photo of the Gunsmoke titleboard with James Arness was taken from:

The photo of Gene Barry as Bat Masterson was taken from:

The photo of Robert Horton and Ward Bond from Wagon Train was taken from:

The photo of the titleboard from The Virginian with James Drury was taken from:

The photo of Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates from Rawhide was taken from:

The lyrics for the song “The Green Leaves of Summer” were taken from: http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-green-leaves-of-summer-lyrics-the-brothers-four.html

The Wikipedia information about the song “The Green Leaves of Summer” was taken from:

The video of the Brothers Four singing “The Green Leaves of Summer” was taken from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BRqA3DSmpc

The soundtrack to the movie The Alamo was taken from:

The Wikipedia information about the song “Don’t Fence Me In” was taken from:

The YouTube of Roy Rogers singing the song “Don’t Fence Me in” was taken from:

The Wikipedia information on the song “Deep In the Heart of Texas” was taken from:

The Wikipedia information on the song “Across the Alley from the Alamo” was taken from:

The Wikipedia information on the song “Oh, Shenandoah” was taken from:

The YouTube video of the Kingston Trio singing “Oh, Shenandoah” was taken from:

The Wikipedia information on the song “El Paso” was taken from:

The YouTube video of Marty Robbins singing “El Paso” was taken from:


“When a cowboy’s too old to set a bad example,
he hands out good advice.”
—Old West proverb, taken from
“Old West Wisdom, Old Sayings, and Famous Cowboy Quotes”

In my previous post I began a quiz titled “Twenty Telltale Signs That You Might Be Country-Western.” Since I only presented sixteen of those signs, here are numbers seventeen through twenty followed by a quiz on grade-B movie/TV cowboys, a quiz on old Country-Western songs, and concluding with a quiz on John Wayne Western movies.

You might be Country-Western if . . . (see answers section below)

  1. You know the meaning and derivation of each of these Western terms: Bronco, Cayuse, Corral, Hoosegow, Lariat, Mesa, Remuda, Sombrero, Vaquero, Yodel.

Quiz on Grade-B Movie/TV Cowboys 

“Winter must be cold for those who have no warm memories.”
—British actress Deborah Kerr in
classic movie An Affair to Remember

You might be Country-Western if . . . (see answers section below)

  1. You can identify each of the following cowboys and their horses, leading ladies, sidekicks, and theme songs (Hint: Jot down your answers):

18a. Called “The Singing Cowboy,” this Western actor who gained his fame in the 1930s was from Texas but also lived in Oklahoma where a small town was named after him. He was also known for singing the children’s holiday favorites “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Here Comes Santa Claus,” the last of which he wrote. He went on to become a tremendously successful businessman who owned a professional baseball team.

18b. Billed as “The King of the Cowboys,” this singer/actor, born Leonard Franklin Slye in Ohio in 1911, became famous primarily in the 1940s and 50s. Known for riding a famous Golden Palomino horse and doing riding and gun slinging tricks, he began his long and successful movie and TV career by singing with a Western band called the Sons of the Pioneers.

18c. A bit older than most of the Western heroes of his time, the veteran actor from Tulsa, Oklahoma, sported a full head of white hair, wore a black outfit and hat at a time when only the “bad guys” wore such attire, carried a pair of silver six-shooters, and rode a white horse.

18d. This icon of the Old West was known for his black mask, his white stead, his silver bullets, his “faithful Indian companion,” and his distinctive yell to his horse and his classical musical theme.

18e. Adored by both girls and boys this handsome dark cowboy had a French name, wore all black, rode a black horse, and was nicknamed for his bullwhip which he taught Harrison Ford how to use in the Indiana Jones movies.

18f. The only “Mexican” Saturday-matinee Western champion, this handsome young vaquero with a big sombrero had an older Mexican sidekick with whom he always ended each movie and TV show by calling each other’s name: “Oh, Pancho!” “Oh, C_______!”

18g. This all-American rough-looking red-haired cowboy became famous for the immensely popular kids’ pellet rifle named for him as featured in the perennial kids’ movie A Christmas Story and for his young Indian sidekick played by later TV actor Robert Blake.

18h. Billed as “The Arizona Cowboy,” this Western actor was indeed an authentic cowboy who rode a horse named Koko and was introduced to fans before his first movie by none other than “The King of the Cowboys.”

18i. This good-looking Western star also rode a black horse with a prominent wide breastplate across its front quarters and was known for later providing the voice of Mr. Ed, the talking horse on that popular TV show by that name.

18j. Tall, slim, stalwart, and tip-lipped, this Western actor wore a set of twin pistols turned backwards in their holsters and went by the nickname of “Wild Bill.”

Quiz on Old Country-Western Songs

“Tonight my thoughts are slidin’
down the trail of distant years.”
Roy Rogers, “The Cowboy Night Herd Song”

You might be Country-Western, if  . . . (see answers section below)

  1. You can fill in the missing words in the following old Country-Western songs (Hint: Jot down your answers):

19a. “As I walked out in the streets of _______.”

19b. “Just remember the _____ _____ ____ and the cowboy who loved you so true.”

19c. “Oh my darling, Oh my darling, Oh my darling ______________.”

19d. “Just drifting along with the tumbling ___________.”

19e. “__________ riders in the sky.”

19f. “I’m an old cowhand from the ______ __________.”

19g. “Come a ti-yi-________ ________ ___.”

19h. “I’m headin’ for the last _______.”

19i. “Git along little ________ . . . you know _______ will be your new home.”

19j. “I’ve got spurs that _______, ________, ______.”

19k. “He’s a rootin’, tootin’, son of a gun from Arizona, ________ cowboy Joe.”

19l. “Gimme Eastern trimming where women are women and you’re all mine in ______ ____ _____.”

19m. (And my father’s favorite Western song sung by Eddie Arnold) “He rides in the sun till his day’s work is done . . . singin’ his _______ call.”

John Wayne Movie Quiz

“All the screen actors behaved like real gentlemen. They didn’t drink, they didn’t smoke. When they knocked the bad guy down, they always stood with their fists up, waiting for the heavy to get back on his feet. I decided I was going to drag the bad guy to his feet and keep hitting him.” 
—John Wayne, from Brainy Quotes

John Wayne in 1965 studio photo

John Wayne in 1965 studio photo

You might be Country-Western if . . . (see answers section below)

  1. You know the names of the characters that John Wayne played in these famous Western movies (Hint: Jot down your answers):

20a. The Alamo

20b. Big Jake

20c. El Dorado

20d. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence

20e. Red River

20f. The Searchers

20g. True Grit

The John Ford trilogy:

20h. Fort Apache

20i. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

20j. Rio Grande


  1. Following are the meaning and derivation of some common cowboy terms (marked by source as M-W for Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and TFD for The Free Dictionary):

Bronco: “A wild horse from North America.” Source: Mexican Spanish, meaning literally “rough, wild.” First Known Use: 1850 (M-W).

Cayuse: “A small Native American pony used by cowboys.” Source: The name of a Native-American tribe in the Northwest United States (TFD).

Corral: “An enclosure for confining livestock.” Source: Spanish (TFD).

Hoosegow: “Jail.” Source: Spanish juzgado (M-W).

Lariat: “A rope for picketing grazing horses or mules.” Source: Spanish la reata (TFD).

Mesa: “A flat-topped elevation with one or more clifflike sides, common in the southwest.” Source: Spanish word for “table” (TFD).

Remuda: “A herd of horses from which ranch hands select their mounts.” Source: American Spanish (TFD).

Sombrero: “A large straw or felt hat with a broad brim and tall crown, worn especially in Mexico and the American Southwest.” Source: Spanish, perhaps from sombra, meaning “shade” (TFD).

Vaquero:  “Herdsman, cowboy.” Source: Spanish — First Known Use: 1826 (M-W).

Yodel: “To sing so that the voice fluctuates rapidly between
the normal chest voice and a falsetto.” Source: German jodeln, from German dialectal jo, meaning “an exclamation of delight” (TFD). (To hear Roy Rogers yodeling “The Cowboy Night Herd Song,” click here.)

18. Following are the identifications of the Grade-B Western movie/TV cowboys:

18a. Gene Autry, whose horse was named Champion, whose most popular female lead was Gail Davis (from my hometown of McGehee, Arkansas), whose theme song was “I’m Back in the Saddle Again,” and whose two most famous sidekicks were Pat Buttram (who later played Mr. Haney in the popular TV series Green Acres) and Frog Milhouse (also known as Smiley Burnette, who appeared in a popular TV series titled Petticoat Junction.)

Gene Autry, "The Singing Cowboy"

Gene Autry, “The Singing Cowboy”

18b. Roy Rogerswhose horse was named Trigger, whose dog was named Bullet, and whose female lead was Dale Evans whom he later married. His theme song was “Happy Trails to You,” and his most famous sidekicks were George “Gabby” Hayes, Andy Devine, and Pat Brady.

Roy Rogers with his leading lady and wife Dale Evans

Roy Rogers, “The King of the Cowboys,” with his leading lady and wife Dale Evans (to magnify, click on the photo)

18c. Hopalong Cassidy, a popular movie and TV hero whose horse was named Topper. One of the actors who appeared in seven “Hoppy” movies and later went on to become a Hollywood legend in his own right was Robert Mitchum.

18d. The Lone Rangerplayed on TV by Clayton Moore, whose horse was named Silver, whose “faithful Indian companion” was Tonto played by Jay Silverheels, whose cry was “Hiyo, Silver, away!” and whose classical theme song was “The William Tell Overture.”

The Lone Ranger and his horse Silver

The Lone Ranger and his horse Silver

18e. Lash LaRuethe Louisiana cowboy whose sidekick was Fuzzy Q. Jones played by Al St. John.

Lash LaRue in his black outfit and hat and carrying his famous bull whip

Lash LaRue in his black outfit and hat and carrying his famous bull whip

18f. The Cisco Kid, played by Duncan Renaldo who was actually not Mexican but was born Renault Renaldo Duncan in Romania. His sidekick Pancho was played by Leo Carrillo, twenty-four years his senior.

18g. Red Ryder, a comic book Western hero who was played in the movies by several different actors and whose young sidekick Little Beaver, a Native American boy, was also played by more than one actor. Another of the fictional characters in his movies was an older woman called simply “The Duchess.”

18h. Rex Allen, whose sidekicks included Buddy Ebsen (later to gain fame as poor-mountaineer-turned-millionaire Jed Clampett in the hugely popular TV series The Beverly Hillbillies), and Slim Pickens (who went on to appear in many movies, notably as the cowboy bomber pilot in Doctor Strangelove and in the comic Western Blazing Saddles).

Rex Allen, "The Arizona Cowboy"

Rex Allen, “The Arizona Cowboy”

18i. Allan “Rocky” Lane, whose horse was named Blackjack and who made eighty-two film and TV appearances, mostly in Westerns. His last roles were in voice-over acting as in the TV series of the talking horse named Mr. Ed.

18j. “Wild Bill” Elliotwho “took over the role for which he would be best remembered, that of Red Ryder in a series of sixteen movies about the famous comic strip cowboy and his young Indian companion Little Beaver (played in Elliott’s films by Bobby Blake). Elliott played the role for only two years, but would forever be associated with it. Elliott’s trademark was a pair of six guns worn butt-forward in their holsters.”

19. Following are the missing words from the old Country-Western songs (in italics):

19a. “As I walked out in the streets of Laredo.”

19b. “Just remember the Red River Valley and the cowboy who loved you so true.”

19c. “Oh my darling, Oh my darling, Oh my darling Clementine.”

19d. “Just drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweed.”

19e. “Ghost riders in the sky.”

19f. “I’m an old cowhand from the Rio Grande.”

19g. “Come a ti-yi-yippee-yippee-yay.

19h. “I’m headin’ for the last roundup.

19i. “Git along little dogie (pronounced “dough-gie,” a motherless or abandoned calf) . . . you know Wyoming will be your new home.”

19j. “I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle.”

19k. “He’s a rootin’, tootin’, son of a gun from Arizona, ragtime cowboy Joe.”

19l. “Gimme Eastern trimming where women are women and you’re all mine in buttons and bows.

19m. (And my father’s favorite Western song sung by Eddie Arnold) “He rides in the sun till his day’s work is done . . . singin’ his cattle call.”

20. Following are the answers to the John Wayne quiz on his name in various Western movies:

20a. The Alamo: Davy Crockett

20b. Big Jake: Jacob McCandles

20c. El Dorado: Cole Thornton (Do you recall his name in the classic John Ford film The Quiet Man with Wayne playing a Yankee returning to his home in Ireland? Answer: Sean Thornton.)

20d. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence: Tom Doniphon

20e. Red River: Thomas Dunson

20f. The Searchers: Ethan Edwards

20g. True Grit: U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn

The John Ford Trilogy:

20h. Fort Apache (1948): Captain Kirby York

20i. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949): Captain Nathan Bridles

20j. Rio Grande (1950): Colonel Kirby York


On Sunday, December 28, I went forward at church, put a dollar in the Joy Jar and said: “My joy is named Marion, and yesterday was our anniversary. But when we started dating I asked her, ‘Do you mind if I call you Mari?’ And she replied so sweetly, ‘Just as long as you call me.’ So now it has been fifty-two years, and I am still calling her . . . and all my Christmases have been merry, spelled ‘M-A-R-I'”! (See my previous posts titled “Mari: Anniversary Remembrances.”)

On December 21 Joe Dempsey published his “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.” This is how he described it: “This is our annual Christmas post. It was our first, and we’ve never found one better.” I agree. To read the story and view Joe’s photos of the lonesome cedar tree that stands in the center of it all as the only lasting memento of it, click here.


The photo of John Wayne was taken from:

The photo of Gene Autry was taken from:

The photo of Roy Rogers was taken from:

The photo of the Lone Ranger was taken from:

The photo of Lash LaRue was taken from:

The photo of Rex Allen was taken from:



Frank: “A reader asks, ‘Dear Ernie, why was the world
made to have so much pain and suffering?’”
Ernie: “So we could have lyrics for country and western music.”
—Frank and Ernest cartoon, Tulsa World, 08-13-96

In my preceding post titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Part II” I examined some of the Country-Western terms I learned as a child and youth while working in my father’s cattle business in the Ark-La-Miss region in the 1940s and early 50s.

Me holding my father's cattle brand

Me holding my father’s cattle brand, the old Circle P

In this post, the continuation of that series, I offer a brief introductory list of Country-Western language items and activities that indicate that you might be Country-Western. That list is followed by the first part of a longer section titled “Twenty Telltale Signs That You Might Be Country-Western,” which is continued in the next post, Part IV. I had meant for this third post to be the conclusion to the series; however, due to its length I had to separate it into new posts.

So the next post in this series, titled “You Might Be from the Country, If . . . Part IV,” will be published in two or three weeks. It will complete the twenty-question quiz on Country-Western terms and film and TV cowboy stars. The final post in the series, Part V, will be composed of another quiz on 1950s and 60s TV Westerns, a list of some false or mispronounced French terms, and some of my favorite French quotations that I collected during my career as a “French cowboy” teacher, translator, and interpreter.

Country-Western Language and Lifestyle

“Everybody wants to be a cowboy.”
—Director of Cowboys Who Care,
an organization that provides cowboy hats
to hospitalized children to help cheer them up

“In our family we were really earthy.
Why we bred cattle at the breakfast table!”

—Vivian Peacock

As noted by my mother above, in my family our cowboy language was like our lifestyle . . . earthy.  Based on that “down-to-earth” lifestyle and language I came up with the following test.

You might be Country-Western if you have ever . . .

  1. Milked a cow, branded a steer, or castrated a calf.
  2. Candled eggs (to see if they are fertile and will produce baby chicks) or wrung a chicken’s neck.
  3. Churned butter in an old-fashioned churn.

    Old-fashioned butter church

    Old-fashioned butter churn (to magnify, click on the photo)

  4. Scalded a hog to remove the hairs from its skin and then used that skin to make “cracklin’s” (pork rinds).
  5. Bailed hay.
  6. Picked cotton.

    Picking cotton on a 1930s Arkansas plantation

    Picking cotton on an Arkansas plantation in the 1930s (to magnify, click on the photo)

  7. Plowed behind a horse or mule.
  8. Chopped heater wood (from such a wood heater I still bear large burn marks on the backs of my thighs from backing up too close to it) and/or kitchen stove wood (from which I still bear a scar under my right eye caused by a wayward falling jagged piece).
  9. Used an old-fashioned “heat up on the stove” flat iron to press clothes.

    An antique iron

    Antique flat iron for heating on a wood-burning stove and using to press clothes (to magnify, click on the photo)

  10. Used an outdated Sears Roebuck catalog for toilet paper in an outdoor privy.

    An outdoor toilet

    An outdoor privy equipped with a Sears Roebuck catalog for toilet paper (to magnify, click on the photo)

To that earthy language/lifestyle list I have added the following “signs” section on it.

Twenty Telltale Signs that
You Might Be Country-Western

 “I see by your outfit
that you are a cowboy . . .”

—traditional Western song

“I was feeling real good and manly. Until a real cowboy walked by
and told me that I had my hat on backwards.”
—Michael Biehn, quoted in
Celebrity Cipher, Tulsa World 12/1/14

You might be Country-Western if . . . (see answers section below):

  1. You know the origin and meaning of the term “quarter horse.” (See photo in answers section below.)
  2. You know what the parents of a mule are called and what the offspring of a mule is called.
  3. You know why the saying, “sweat like a hog” is inaccurate.
  4. You know what the offspring of a goose is called and what a guinea is. (See photo in answers section below.)
  5. You know what a stile is and have ever used one. (See photo in answers section below.)
  6. You can name another type of hay besides alfalfa.
  7. You know what a Georgia stock and a singletree are. (See photos in answers section below.)
  8. You know what a year-old calf is called and what book and movie bore this same title . . . and the name of their author.
  9. You know what a cow chews and how many stomachs she has.
  10. You know what the meat from a cow, a calf, a sheep, and a pig is called and why each is different from the name of the animal.
  11. You know the difference in the way cattle and hogs are marked for ownership.
  12. You know how to judge the age of a cow or horse.
  13. You know how to determine whether a cow is pregnant or not.
  14. You know what a colt, mare, and stallion are and what they are each called in thoroughbred horse racing.
  15. You know how long the period of the Western cattle drives like those from Texas to Kansas lasted and can name at least one famous trail.
  16. You know how to tell whether a saddle shown in movies and TV shows about the time of the Western cattle drives is authentic to the period or not. (See photo in answers section below.)

Below are the answers to the first sixteen questions in this quiz. The rest of the twenty questions and answers will appear in the following post.


1. A quarter horse is a horse that is especially bred to run at top speed for the distance of a quarter mile or less. (For more, click here, and see photo below.)

A quarter horse

A quarter horse (to magnify, click on the photo)

  1. The parents of a mule are a horse and a donkey. There is no offspring of a mule because as hybreds, mules cannot reproduce. (For more, click here.)
  2. The expression “sweat like a hog” is inaccurate because hogs have few sweat glands, which is why they wallow in mud to try to keep cool. (For the origin of this term “sweat like a hog,” click here.)
  3. The offspring of a goose is a gosling. (For more, click here.) A guinea is a barnyard fowl something like a “fancy chicken.” (For more, click here and see the photo below). When Mari’s father was overseas during WWII he informed his family where he was located by writing in a coded and censored letter that he was “where we found that nest of eggs.” His family then knew that he was in New Guinea.

    A Guinea fowl

    A Guinea fowl (to magnify, click on the photo)

  4. According to Wikipedia, “a stile is a structure which provides people a passage through or over a fence or boundary via stepsladders, or narrow gaps.” (See photo below.)

    A stile over a fence

    A stile over a fence

  5. Another kind of commonly known hay besides alfalfa is lespedeza. (For other types, click here.)
  6. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a Georgia stock is “a plow beam with handles and a standard to which a moldboard, shovels, teeth, or sweeps are attached.” (When I say that I am of “Georgia stock,” I am referring not only to my rural upbringing but also to the fact that my rural ancestors migrated to Arkansas from Georgia. See photo below.) Mother Earth News: Glossary of Terms for Plowing with Horses defines a singletree as “the pivoted or swinging bar to which the traces of a draft animal’s harness are fixed. Also called ‘swingletree’ or ‘whippletree.’” (See photo below.)

    A Georgia stock plow

    A Georgia stock plow

A singletree, part of the harness for a draft animal

A singletree as part of the harness for a draft animal (to magnify, click on the photo)

To read more on this subject, click here.

  1. A year-old calf is called a yearling (but pronounced “yerlin’ in SEARK), which according to Wikipedia was the title of “a 1938 [year of my birth] novel written by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.” It was adapted into a movie in 1946 starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman. (For more, click here.)
  2. A cow chews a cud and has four stomachs. (For more, click here.)
  3. The meat from a cow, a calf, a sheep, and a pig are called respectively: beef, veal, mutton, and pork. The reason the names of the animals vary from the names of the meat taken from them goes back to the time after the 1066 invasion of Saxon (Germanic) England by the Normans (Vikings turned French) from Western France. Since the Normans were the ruling class for several hundred years, both languages, Saxon and Norman, existed at the same time. When the Saxon serfs slaughtered the animals they called by the names they knew them in their Germanic language, the meat they served up to their Norman lords was called by French names: boeuf, veau, mouton, and porc.
  4. Cattle are marked for ownership by branding their hides with a red-hot iron. (See my earlier post titled “My Father’s Brand and Seal.”) Hogs are marked for ownership by making distinctive cuts in their ears (hence the expression about funds being “earmarked” for certain special uses).
  5. The age of a cow is determined the same way as the age of a horse, by examining the animal’s teeth for degree of wear. (I saw my father perform this simple procedure hundreds of times, and he was seldom wrong in his estimate.) Thus the expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” (i.e., in order to determine its age and value.)
  6. In the days of my childhood and youth a simple way of determining whether a cow was pregnant was by bumping a fist against her stomach and feeling for the rebounding fetus. (Again, I saw my father perform this procedure hundreds of times, and he was seldom wrong.)
  7. In thoroughbred horse racing the common terms colt, mare, and stallion are called: foal, dam, and sire. (For more, click here.)
  8. According to Wikipedia, the Western cattle drives from the ranges of Texas to the railheads in Kansas lasted only about twenty years, from 1866 to 1886, much less than the amount of time these famous drives have been portrayed in modern Western films and TV shows. One of the most famous and best known of these drives was the Chisholm Trail. Another was the Goodnight-Loving Trail. (For more and other drives, click here.)
  9. You can tell that a saddle shown in Western movies and TV shows is authentic to the time of the cattle drives from Texas to Kansas and other railhead locations by the cantle (back rest) of the saddle. If it is high, then it is true to the period. If it lies flat against the top of the saddle, it is a modern saddle. (See photo below.)

    A high-cantle trail saddle

    A modern version of a high cantle trail saddle


While preparing this post I received this message from my longtime friend and McGehee (Desha County) High School classmate Pat Scavo who (like me) has Selma (Drew County) roots:

Dr. Curtis Merrell, one of Drew County’s leading historical preservation representatives, has passed away. He was instrumental in the college’s being able to obtain the land with the Taylor house and cemetery [featured in a couple of my previous blog posts on Arkansas Delta plantations], which has been united with the AR Historic Preservation. Just as his dream of saving the pre-Civil War, two-story log house has come about, we lost him. It will be a great loss for historic preservation in Drew County.

Taylor house on the Hollywood Plantation

Taylor house on the Hollywood Plantation (to magnify, click on the photo)

According to his obituary Dr. Merrill was also instrumental in establishing the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance which works to restore and preserve this historic stream. To read his full obituary, click here. To read my earlier post on Bayou Bartholomew, click here.

Bayou Bartholomew, "longest bayou in the world," which passes between Selma and McGehee, Arkansas

Bayou Bartholomew, “longest bayou in the world,” which passes between my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas, and my hometown of McGehee, Arkansas (to magnify, click on the photo)

To view a twenty-minute video of the history of the Taylor house and the Hollywood Plantation, click here.

On the subject of Arkansas Delta Plantations, here is a photo of a Delta cotton boll Christmas tree sent to me by my longtime friend and McGehee High School classmate Pat Scavo. The source of the photo is found in the sources section below.

Cotton boll Christmas tree

Cotton boll Christmas tree (to magnify, click on the photo)

Incidentally, Mari and I have two cotton boll Christmas ornaments on our tree plus a special Christmas tree decoration with the symbol of Lakeport Plantation featuring a stylized cotton boll on it (see photo below).

Lakeport Plantation Christmas tree ornament

Lakeport Plantation Christmas ornament with symbol of cotton boll on it (to magnify, click on the photo)

Merry Christmas, y’all!


The photo of an old-fashioned butter churn was taken from:

The photo of the cotton pickers on an Arkansas plantation of the 1930s was taken from: A Photographic Legacy by I. Wilmer Counts Jr., copyright © 1979 by I. Wilmer Counts Jr., Bloomington, Indiana.

The photo of an antique flat iron was taken from: http://www.featurepics.com/FI/Thumb300/20070823/Antique-Clothes-Iron-426043.jpg

The photo of an outdoor toilet was taken from:

The photo of a quarter horse was taken from:

The photo of a guinea fowl was taken from:

The photo of a stile over a fence was taken from:

The photo of a Georgia stock plow was taken from:

The photo of a singletree was taken from:

The photo of a high cantle trail saddle was taken from:

The photo of the Taylor house on the Hollywood Plantation was provided by Taylor Prewitt.

The photo of the cotton boll Christmas tree was taken from:

The photo of the Lakeport Christmas tree ornament was taken from an email offer from Lakeport in 2011. For more information, visit the Lakeport Web site at: http://lakeport.astate.edu/


“Some folks stroll down memory lane, others stride, but you, my friend, build an interstate highway into your past along which you send a conquering army to take permanent possession of what others consider the lost and faded moments of their lives. All your friends and I are the fortunate beneficiaries of that conquest.”
—Paul Talmadge, in personal email to Jimmy Peacock,
dated September 22, 2014

The previous post on this blog was titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Part I.” In that post I noted that I was marking my seventy-sixth birthday on November 23 by publishing two posts on Southeast Arkansas terms I heard and used as a child in my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas.

Jimmy Peacock on his seventy-sixth birthday

Me on my seventy-sixth birthday with Arkansas-shaped cookies in place of the traditional birthday cake (to magnify, click on the photo)

Jimmy Peacock's Arkansas-shaped birthday cookies with a smal white heart at  the location of his hometown of McGehee

My Arkansas-shaped birthday cookies with a small white heart at the location of our hometown of McGehee; my birthplace of Selma is just to the west of McGehee (to magnify, click on the photo)

I then provided a glossary of such terms illustrated by personal photos and other representative online images. At the end of that post I listed several other online sources of examples and tests of Southern speech and culture. In response to that post Paul Talmadge wrote to me on November 24, Your catalogue of southernisms is amazing!”

However, I soon discovered that the material I still had on hand would require two new posts and not just one, as originally planned.

In this post, the second in the series of three, I offer an examination of some of the terms I learned while growing up on my father’s ranch and working in his cattle business during the 1940s and 50s. My apprentice cowboy days ended with his untimely death at the McGehee Livestock Auction on May 25, 1954, while he was working in the ring and I was penning cattle in the back of the barn. He was forty-nine years old, and I was fifteen. (I discussed this subject in my earlier post titled, “My Father’s Brand and [Corporate] Seal.”)

Arthur Peacock (in white hat) in the ring of the McGehee Livestock Auction

My father (on the right in the white hat) in the ring of the McGehee Livestock Auction where he died on May 25, 1954 (to magnify, click on the photo)

Terms I Heard in My Father’s Cattle Business

“Are there any words I should know besides ‘Howdy,’
‘Yup’ and ‘Whoa’ if I wanna speak cowboy?”

–Dennis the Menace in cartoon,
Tulsa World, 11/29/14

As I have often noted, I was born in 1938 on my father’s ranch in rural Selma, Arkansas. As such, I often worked with cattle and traveled the Ark-La-Miss area with Daddy and my two older brothers visiting livestock auctions. Besides the McGehee Livestock Auction, in which Daddy was a half-owner with auctioneer C.B. Walker, some of the other weekly auctions we visited regularly were located in: Monticello, Eudora, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Greenville, Mississippi; and Delhi, Louisiana.

Here is just a small sample of some of the Western terms (and local pronunciations) I heard during my childhood and early adulthood in the course of Daddy’s cattle business.

bit: part of a Western bridle held in the horse’s mouth, as when I was told by my father that I needed to “take the bit in my mouth” in order to finish a hard task. (For other parts of a Western bridle, click here.)

breastplate and martingale: parts of the gear of a Western bridle and saddle. (The term “breastplate” is defined by Wikipedia as “a piece of riding equipment used on horses . . . to keep the saddle or harness from sliding back.” A “martingale” is defined by Wikipedia as “any of several designs of tack that are used on horses to control head carriage.” See the photos of a “breastplate” and a “martingale” below.)

Western horse breastplate

Western horse breastplate (to magnify, click on the photo)

Western horse martingale, running from under his chin down between his front legs

Western horse martingale, the strap running from below the horse’s chin down between his front legs (to magnify, click on the photo)

calf: the offspring of a cow, pronounced “caife” in SEARK, as when my mother would tell me about a poorly done piece of work: “I think you need to go back and lick your calf over again.” When I was too weak or timid she told me, “You need to get some bull in your neck!”

drugstore cowboy: what we called a “dude” who wore Western clothes such as hats and boots but who had never owned any cattle or even lived or worked on a ranch or farm. (Incidentally, I still own two Western hats and three pairs of Western boots which I call my “Proust boots,” named after the French author Marcel Proust who described the power of the taste of a small cake called a “petite Madeleine” to evoke unconscious memories and associations from his childhood, as I am doing in this entire blog! See the quote on recalling unconscious memories in the addenda to this post.)

dude: what we called an outsider, especially a “citified” character who knew nothing of Western dialect and lifestyle.

girt: what we called the girth or cinch on a Western saddle, terms which are defined by Wikipedia as “a piece of equipment used to keep the saddle in place on a horse or other animal.” (To view the standard parts of a Western saddle, click here.)

Girth (the wide belt running under the horse's belly) on a Western saddle

Girth (the wide strap under the horse’s belly) on a Western saddle (to magnify, click on the photo)

lope: a certain gait of a horse. (This term is defined by the Merriam-Webster as “an easy natural gait of a horse resembling a canter.” “Canter,” a term that was never used in my SEARK Western upbringing, is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a 3-beat gait resembling but smoother and slower than the gallop.”)

muley: term used to describe hornless or polled cattle. (This term is defined by Merriam-Webster as “of Celtic origin; akin to Irish & Scottish Gaelic maol bald, hornless, Welsh moel First Known Use: 1840.”)

Red polled cow

Red muley or polled cow (to magnify, click on the photo)

rowel: the round spiked part of a Western riding spur. (For more information on the parts of a spur, click here.)

Western spurs with large rowels

Western spurs with large silver rowels (to magnify, click on the photo)

tack: Western horse gear. (This term is defined by Wikipedia as “a piece of equipment or accessory equipped on horses in the course of their use as domesticated animals. Saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, bits, harnesses, martingales, and breastplates are all forms of horse tack.”)

Distinguishing between Western Animals/Terms

“You don’t have to be an expert judge of horseflesh
to be able to tell a jackass from a thoroughbred!”
(Unfortunately, too many of those people we have
to deal with these days are no thoroughbreds!)
—Jimmy Peacock

On the subject of livestock, you might have been raised on a farm or ranch if . . .

. . . you can recognize by sight—or even distinguish blindfolded by smell—the droppings of:

cattle (and even distinguish between the droppings of cattle and calves)

. . . you can name at least five breeds of barnyard animals such as:

horses (example, Clydesdale), for others, click here.)

cattle (example, Jersey), for others, click here.)

hogs (example, Duroc), for others, click here.)

chickens (example, Rhode Island Red), for others, click here.)


To view one of Joe Dempsey’s recent “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind” blog posts which features (besides some Delta scenes of rice fields, views from the Mississippi River levee, a cypress slough in autumn, etc.) several photos of different breeds of cattle, an inquisitive donkey, and a couple of horses, click here.

A muley (polled, hornless) cow from Joe Dempsey's weekly blog

A muley (polled, hornless) cow on Joe Dempsey’s weekly blog which he calls “a Charolais lady” (to magnify, click on the photo)

About these levee cattle Joe says:

“There are always enterprising cattlemen who use the levees as pasture land for their stock. [My father was one of them. Believe me, riding in a pickup truck loaded down with restless cattle up and down and along the sides of a levee was not for the faint-hearted!] This levee was no different. I found this herd of cattle, which looks like bovine diversity in practice. The cattle and levees have a symbiotic relationship. The levees provide food to the cattle and the cattle provide fertilizer and lawn trimming services to the levee.

“Mind you, I am no cattle expert, but in this group you see signs of Holstein, Charolais, Hereford, Angus, Jersey and what appears to be the Appaloosa of the cow world.”

A mixture of cattle breeds from Joe Dempsey's weekly blog

A mixture of cattle breeds from Joe Dempsey’s weekly blog

. . . you know the difference between . . .

heifer and Hereford

shoat and chute

chaps and craps

Guernsey and Jersey

gait and gate

gee and haw

Answers (all from either Wikipedia, marked Wiki, or from Merriam-Webster, marked MW):

A heifer is “a young cow before she has had her first calf” (Wiki); a Hereford is “a beef cattle breed, widely used both in intemperate areas and temperate areas, mainly for meat production” and often called simply a “whiteface.”

A Hereford ("whitefaced") bull

A Hereford (“white-faced”) bull (to magnify, click on the photo)

A shoat is “a young hog and especially one that has been weaned” (MW); a chute isa channel for handling and sorting [or restraining] farm animals” (Wiki), as in the country saying, “I feel like an old cow in front of a new chute!”

A Western cattle chute

A Western cattle chute (to magnify, click on the photo)

Chaps (pronounced “shaps”) are “sturdy coverings for the legs consisting of leggings and a belt” (Wiki); craps is “a dice game in which the players make wagers on the outcome of the roll, or a series of rolls, of a pair of dice” (Wiki).

Western fringed chaps

Western fringed chaps (to magnify, click on the photo)

A Guernsey is “a breed of cattle used in dairy farming. It is orange/red and white in colour, and is particularly renowned for the rich flavour of its milk, as well as its hardiness and docile disposition” (Wiki); a Jersey is a small breed of dairy cattle. Originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey, the breed is popular for the high butterfat content of its milk and the lower maintenance costs attending its lower bodyweight, as well as its genial disposition” (Wiki).

A Guernsey cow

A Guernsey cow (to magnify, click on the photo)

A Jersey cow

A Jersey cow (to magnify, click on the photo)

A gait is defined by the Merriam-Webster as “any of the sequences of foot movement (as the walk, trot, pace, or canter) by which a horse moves forward.” This term is distinguished from the common term gate for an opening in a fence, which was always closed unless a “dude” went through it and left it open, a real no-no on a ranch or farm.

According to Wikipedia, gee and haw are “voice commands used to tell a draft animal [like a horse or mule] to turn right or left. . . . Gee (pronounced ‘jee’) means to turn to the off side (away from the driver). Haw means to turn to the near side (towards the driver). In the United States, the driver of draft animals sits on their left, so animals will turn right to the gee command, and left to the haw command.”

Incidentally, do you know the only noun in English related to Country-Western language that follows the German style of forming the plural by adding “-en” to the end of the noun, as in the German terms for “soldier/soldiers”: “soldat/soldaten”?

Answer: ox/oxen (see online German-English dictionary by clicking here.)

A yoke of oxen

A yoke of oxen (to magnify, click on the photo)

The third post in this series, titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Part III,” will continue the same theme of this second one with a couple of quizzes of your experience with and knowledge of the Country-Western lifestyle and its depiction in 1940s and 50s movies. It will conclude with a citation of some of my favorite French quotations collected over my long career as a “French-cowboy” teacher, translator, and interpreter.

Addenda and Updates

“I’ve got your memory,
or, has it got me?
I really don’t know,
But I know, it won’t let me be.”
—Patsy Cline, “I’ve Got Your Picture”
To hear this song sung by Patsy Cline, click here.

Since I published my last post titled “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Part I” I have copied or received several additional items relating to memories and to my birthplace and the Mississippi River Delta area of my childhood and youth.

First is a quote on memories that I saw in Parade magazine on November 23, my seventy-sixth birthday (italics mine):

“. . . memories are chemical, meaning that they have substance, however slight. (Otherwise, they could not exist.) People who can be hypnotized . . . may respond to the suggestion to ‘forget’ certain events . . . but this action simply prevents them from being able to recall the episodes. The memory itself still exists in their brains. Eliminating the physical matter of the memory is beyond the reach of hypnosis. . . . when the suggestion to forget is withdrawn, all of the memories return, which is understandable: After all, they never left; they were just inaccessible.”
—Marilyn Savant, “Ask Marilyn,” Parade magazine
Sunday, November 23, 2014,

Next is a Southern Web site sent to me by my cousin Kay Barrett Bell titled “Garden and Gun” with a link to some interesting and nostalgic still photos from the classic 1939 movie Gone With the Wind which is celebrating its seventy-fifth birthday. To access these sites go to: www.gardenandgun.com and then click on “The Making of Gone with the Wind,” or simply go to: http://gardenandgun.com/gallery/making-gone-wind

A scene from Gone With the Wind

A scene from Gone With the Wind with Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler, and Tara in the background (to magnify, click on the photo here and especially in the sources section)

On September 11, 2014, in her Arkansas blog titled “Tie Dye Travels” Kat Robinson published a post called “5 Unique Arkansas Foods” which are listed as: 1) Chocolate gravy, 2) Possum pie, 3) Cheese dip, 4) Fried pickles, and 5) Tamales. To read about each of these fascinating Arkansas culinary delicacies, click on the title above.

Possum pie

Possum pie (to magnify, click on the photo)

The following painting of the Mississippi River Delta by Gary Walters with a Delta poem by Patricia Neely-Dorsey was sent to me by my high school classmate and longtime friend Pat Scavo.

A Delta painting by Gary Walters of Jackson, MS (to magnify, click on the painting)

A Delta painting by Gary Walters of Jackson, MS (to magnify, click on the painting)

Delta poem by Patricia Neeley-Dorsey

Delta poem by Patricia Neely-Dorsey used on Gary Walter’s Delta painting (to magnify, click on the photo)

Finally here is an announcement of a new book by Gayle Harper about her voyage of discovery down the Mighty Mississippi which I discussed in an earlier post:

“Roadtrip with a Raindrop:
90 Days Along the Mississippi River”


I am absolutely thrilled to share this with you! The books are here—and they are gorgeous! The brand spankin’ new website is live at www.gayleharper.com and is taking orders!

This journey has been—and continues to be—the adventure of a lifetime! I have looked forward to putting it into your hands for a very long time!

It is a luscious 240-page hard cover edition with nearly 200 full-color photographs. In a series of 55 short stories, each one complete with its photographs, you will have your own experience of this 90-day road trip.


We keep pace with an imaginary raindrop called Serendipity, on her nearly 2,400-mile journey from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. We watch the river grow from a fragile stream into a massive force of nature. We pass through dramatic changes in culture, geography, lifestyle, accents, foods and agriculture, but what does not change is the warm open-heartedness of the people I encounter. Join Serendipity and me as we meet people on their porches, in their farm fields, in cafés and even while stopped for road construction. They invite me to dances, birthday parties, home for dinner, out on their boats and into their lives. It is a joyful, unplanned wandering through the heart of our nation.
Come see for yourself at www.gayleharper.com


The photo of the breastplate was taken from:

The photo of the martingale was taken from:

The photo of the girth was taken from:

The photos of the muley cow and other cattle were taken from Joe Dempsey’s “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind” at:


The photo of the spurs was taken from:

The photo of the Hereford bull was taken from:

The photo of a chute was taken from:

The photo of the chaps was taken from:

The photo of a Guernsey cow was taken from:

The photo of a Jersey cow was taken from:

The photo of two yoked oxen was taken from:

The photo of Gone with the Wind was sent to me by Pat Scavo. It was taken from:

The photo of the painting of the Mississippi River Delta was sent to me by Pat Scavo and used by permission of its artist, Gary Walters. It was taken from:


The photo of the Delta poem by Patricia Neely-Dorsey was used by permission of the poet. It was taken from:

The photo of the cover of the book titled Roadtrip with a Raindrop was used by permission of Gayle Harper. It was taken from her Web site at:


“You can take the boy out of the country,
but you can’t take the country out of the boy.”

–Anonymous saying

To mark my seventy-sixth birthday on November 23, I made up a couple of posts about my childhood in my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas. This first one has to do with the speech I heard and used in those early days of my life.

You Might Be from the Country, If . . . Part I

“An [American’s] way of speaking absolutely classifies him,
the moment he talks he makes some other [American] despise him.”
—Paraphrased from My Fair Lady

In an earlier post titled “Why Cain’t th’ Okies Teech Thur Childrun Howda Tawk Suthun,” I examined some of the differences between Arkie speech and Okie speech based on the thirty-seven years of what I call in biblical terms “My Oklahomian Exile by an Exiled Arkie of the Covenant.”

Continuing that same theme in this post I examine not just Arkie speech in general but some specific country words, phrases, and sayings I heard or used during my childhood in rural Southeast Arkansas, particularly in my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas.

My birthplace in Selma, Arkansas as it looked in the 1980s

My birthplace in Selma, Arkansas, as it looked in the 1980s, fifty years after I was born in the front room on the right (to magnify, click on the photo)

Samples of 1940s Southeast Arkansas Country Speech

“For all of my great love of the Delta, my wife says that my basic problem is that I have never left Selma.” (And it proudly shows in my Southern country speech!)
—Jimmy Peacock

“Home is where you don’t have an accent.”
—Jimmy Peacock

In an earlier post titled “The Way We Were,” I described my childhood in my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas. In that post I used a few country expressions of that era and area, such as the “wranger” on our new Sears and Roebuck “‘lectric” washing machine that we bought when we got electricity in 1947. (To read that post, click on the title above. To see two other posts on this subject titled, “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy” and “Selma Store Evokes Boyhood Memories,” click on their titles.)

Me about age nine

Me at about age nine while still living in Selma; I moved to McGehee the next year at age ten (to magnify, click on the photo)

Following is a sample list of some more of the gems of country speech that I heard during my formative childhood years of the 1940s, especially among the older, less educated, and less sophisticated generations.

This list is only partial since there are many more linguistic items that could have been added to it. The fact is that, despite my quote above about home being where you don’t have an accent, what I am presenting in this post is not just an example of a Southeast Arkansas country accent from the 1940s, but indeed a separate and distinct regional and social dialect—one that I sometimes still use myself when I consciously or unconsciously revert to my “native vernacular.”

A-comin’/a-goin’ (coming/going, as in, “I doan know if I’m a-comin’ or a-goin’!” This adding of “a-” in front of verb forms is an old country usage that goes all the way back to Old England.)

A-holt (hold of, in touch with, as in, “I ben tryin’ to git a-holt ‘a yew all day long!”)

Aint (aunt, as in, “Aint Ludie shure is a purdy wummun.” See the following entry for “ain’t.”)

Ain’t (is not, are not, etc., as when native Arkie baseball player and sports announcer Dizzy Dean once responded to an English teacher who criticized his ungrammatical speech during the Great Depression, “A lot of fokes who ain’t sayin’ ‘ain’t’ ain’t eatin’!”)

Aist (ask, as in, “I doan know, but I kin aist.”)

Awf (off, as in, “I thank ‘at guyz kinda awf in th’ hed!”)

Awl (all, oil, as in, “Awl th’ ole truck needs iz sum awl.”)

Me and my cousin Troy Gibson

Me, and my cousin Troy Gibson, a sailor in WWII  during the 1940s, sitting on our “ole truck” in Selma (to magnify, click on the photo)

Bad ta (bad to, i.e., has a bad habit of, as in, “‘At dawg iz bad ta bite!”)

Ban’ster (banister, see the entry for “yessur, nawsur, yes’m, nome.”)

Bawl (cry, ball, as in, “Don’t bawl jist ’cause yew lost yur bawl.”)

Bedder (better, as in, “Yew bedder look out now!”)

Behine (behind, see entry for “ignernt.”)

Big Daddy/Big Mama (Grandfather/Grandmother, pronounced “BIG Daddy” and “BIG Mama” and not “Big DADDY” and “Big MAMA,” which is Yankee)

Rev. Willis and Ola Barrett, Jimmy Peacock's maternal grandparents from Selma, Arkansas

My maternal grandparents Rev. Willis Barrett and Ola Barrett of Selma whom I called “Papa” and “Big Mama” (to magnify, click on the photo)

Biskits (bisquits, see entry for “boy hidy.”)

Biscuits with fig preserves

Biscuits and fig preserves with lemon slices (photo provided by Pat Scavo who prepared and photographed them, to magnify, click on the photo)

Bizness (business, see my earlier post in which I quoted one of my father’s sayings: “Any man who’s gotta consult his wife about his bizness ain’t got no bizness bein’ in bizness.”)

B’lieve (believe, see entry for “cain’t.”)

Bob war (barbed wire, see entry for “yessur, nawsur, yes’m, nome.”)

Boy hidy (boy howdy, as in, “Boy hidy, I jist luv biskits ‘n fig perserves!” See photo and entry for “perserves.”)

Brekfust (breakfast, see entries for “dinner” and “supper.”)

Brickbat (brick, see entry for “thow/thoo.”)

Bubba (brother, as in “Bubba iz a rite smort yung’un.” See entries for “rite smort” and “yung’un.”)

Burnt (burned, as in, “Dang it, yew dun burnt th’ biskits!”)

Bush hawg (brush hog, pronounced by Yankees as “brush hahg”)

Butterbeans (lima beans, see entry for “chainct.” For Trisha Yearwood’s recipe for butterbeans, click here.)

By dawgies (by doggies, expression of awe)

By-oh or bow (pronounced like the bow of a ship) for bayou (by-you)

Bayou Bartholomew, "longest bayou in the world," which passes between Selma and McGehee, Arkansas

Bayou Bartholomew, “longest bayou in the world,” which passes between my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas, and my hometown of McGehee, Arkansas (to magnify, click on the photo)

Cain’t (can’t, as in, “I cain’t b’lieve yew sed dat!”)

Car shed (detached garage)

Chainct (chance, as in, “I ain’t got a chainct ‘a gittin’ me a mess ‘a butterbeans.”)

Chaw (chew or bite, as in, “Gimme a chaw off ‘at plug ‘a tabakka.”)

Chillun (children, see entry for “razed.”)

Chimley (chimney)

Chittlins (chitterlings, “usually the small intestines of pigs”; for more information, click here.)

Churchhouse/schoolhouse (church/school)

Selma Methodist Church Kay 1

The Selma Methodist Church, located “right across the branch” from my birthplace, as it looked in the 1980s (to magnify, click on the photo)

Selma elementary school that I attended as a boy

Selma elementary school that I attended as a boy in the 1940s (to magnify, click on the photo)

Co-Cola (Coca-Cola, term used for all soft drinks)

Collerds (collard greens, somewhat like spinach or turnip greens; for more information, click here.)

Could (cud, what a cow chews, as in, “Yew look dummer’n a cow chawin’ her could.”)

Cudd’n (cousin, as in, “Cudd’n Minnie Pearl wuz a funny wummun!”)

Daince (dance, see entry for “mite.”)

Dangdist/durndest (most unbelievable)

Dawg/hawg/lawg, etc. (dog, hog, log, etc.)

DEE-pole (railroad depot, as in, “We goan go down to th’ DEE-pole and watch awl ‘em tranes kum in!”)

Dinner (lunch, see entry for “supper.”)

Drank/thank/blank, etc. (drink, think, blink, etc.)

Dr’eckly (directly, in a short time, as in, “Tell ‘em I’ll be there dr’eckly.”)

Dude (nickname for an outsider, especially a city dweller; also used as a nickname for a beloved relative, such as “Uncle Dude.”)

Dun (done, as in, “I dun dun awl I kin ta hep’ ‘at boy.”)

Eb’n (even, as in, “I doan eb’n care no more!”)

Evenin’ (evening, but referring not to night but to the afternoon)

Fambly (family)

Fanger (finger)

Far (fire, as when my grandmother said to me about her bowl of steaming soup, “This soup tastes like somethin’ not good ta eat . . . far!”)

Father/futher (farther/further, as I say, “We Southern Baptists knew nothing about Catholicism, but we did sing a lot about ‘Father A-Long'”! That’s a pun based on the words of an old Gospel song titled “Farther Along.” If you didn’t recognize it, either you weren’t country or you weren’t Baptist! To hear this song sung by Elvis with Spanish subtitles, click here.)

Fillin’ stayshun (filling station/gas station, see entries for “fixin’ to” and “Iry.”)

Fine (find, see entry for “ignernt.”)

Fixin’ to (going to, as in, “I’m fixin’ to go down to th’ fillin’ stayshun and git me a Co-Cola!”)

Fly’rs (flowers, see entry for “putt.”)

Fo-teen (fourteen, see entry for “razed.”)

Fryin’ (frying, see entry for “greezy.”)

Gahd (God, see entry for “kuntry.”)

Gal (girl, see entry for “play purty.”)

Git (get, see entry for “fixin’ to.”)

Goan/doan (going/don’t, to rhyme with “moan,” as in, “I’m goan whup ‘at boy if he doan straiten up and fly rite!”)

Gran’maw/Gran’paw (Grandmother/Grandfather, see entry for “razed.”)

Greezy (greasy, as in, “Han’ me ‘at greezy fryin’ pan!”)

Grocer’ store or gen’rul store (supermarket, which didn’t exist in rural Arkansas of the 1940s)

Selma general store as it looked in the 1980s

Selma general store as it looked in the 1980s, forty years after my childhood days in Selma in the 1940s (to magnify, click on the photo)

Hans (hands, see entry for “ignernt.”)

Hed (head, as in, “Boy hidy, yew jist hit th’ nail on th’ hed!”)

Hep (help, see entry for “dun.”)

Honey chile (a term of endearment, especially for young females)

Hushpuppies (defined by Wikipedia as “a savory food made from cornmeal batter that is deep fried or baked rolled as a small ball or occasionally other shapes.” For Paula Dean’s recipe for hushpuppies, click here.)

Huzbun (husband. One of my wife’s third-grade students once sent me a get-well card addressed to “Miz Pecokes has-ben.” Out of the mouths of babes and children.)

Ice creem (ice cream, pronounced “ice CREAM” and not “ICE cream,” which is Yankee)

I declare/I swan (expressions of surprise or awe)

Idy (idea or Ida, as in, “Beat’s me, I ain’t got no idy; go aist Aint Idy.” See entry for “whut.”)

Ignernt (ignorant, as in, “At boy’s so ignernt he cain’t fine his behine with both hans.”)

IN-shurnce (insurance, pronounced “in-SHUR-ance” by Yankees)

Iry (Ira, as in, “Mr. Iry runs th’ fillin’ stayshun.”)

Gas pump like the one in front of the Selma general store and the Selma filling station

Gas pump like the one that stood in front of the Selma general store and the Selma filling station

Iz (is, as in, “It shure iz hot today!”)

Jist/plum (just/plumb, as in, “I’m tellin’ yew, I’m jist plum wore out!”)

Kerry (transport a person, as in, “Kin yew kerry me down to th’ fillin’ stayshun?” For the term “carry” in regard to a thing, see the entry for “tote.”)

Kin (can, see entry for “aist.”)

Kinely/kinda (kindly, kind of, as in, “Wood yew kinely han’ me ‘at fryin’ pan ’cause I kinda wonta use it.”)

Kinfokes (relatives)

Kodak (camera)

Kum/kums (come/comes, see entry for “yonder.”)

Kum nex’ sprang, summer, etc. (come next spring, summer, etc., as in, “I’m goan be eighty years ole kum nex’ sprang.”)

Kuntry (country, as in, “Thank Gahd, I’m a kuntry boy!”)

Lack (like/lack, as when I was translating for a French preacher in a Denver church in the 1980s and was laughed at for allegedly saying “lack” for “like.”)

Lack ta (like to, i.e., almost, as in, “Them kids lack ta drove me outta my mine!”)

Laist/paist (last/past, as in, “I git so tard of a evenin’ I jist cain’t hardly laist paist suppertime.”)

Li’ble (liable, see entry for “waws ness.”)

Luv (love, as in, “I jist luv a good mess ‘a poke salat.” See entry for “mess.”)

Makin’s (makings of a “roll yur own” cigarette; see entry for “reddy rolls.”)

Mash (press or push, as in, “To git yursef a Co-Cola you got ta mash ‘at button!” Also used in the expression “mash’d ‘taters” for “mashed potatoes.”)

Meri (Merry, Mary, Mari, the last of which I call my wife Marion whose parents and grandparents called her “MAY-urn”)

Marion at her sixth-grade piano recital

Marion, whom I call “Mari” (Meri), and whose parents and grandparents called her “MAY-urn,” at the time of her sixth-grade piano recital (to magnify, click on the photo)

Mess (serving or bunch, as in, “I jist picked me a mess ‘a collerd greens.”)

Mine (mind, see entry for “lack ta.”)

Mite (might, as when we Southern Baptist kids would reply when someone suggested some wholesome activity, “Mite as well, cain’t daince.”)

Miz (Miss, and also Mrs., as in, “Miz Ledbetter wuz my third-grade teecher fur sev’ral years.” See entry for “widder wummun.”)

Much obliged (thank you, as in, “Much obliged fur kerryin’ me to town”; see entry for “kerry.”)

Nair (nary, none, as in, “I ain’t got nair chainct ‘a gittin’ rich.”)

Nanner puddin’ (banana pudding, my favorite dessert as a boy)

Naw (no, as in, “Naw, I doan ‘no nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!” See entry for “yeah.”)

‘N ‘nem (and them, used as plural of two or more people, as in, “Bubba Joe ‘n ‘nem iz comin’ over for supper tonite.”)

Nubbin (corn cob, often used as nickname for a beloved relative such as “Uncle Nubbin”)

Of a mornin’, evenin’, etc. (in the/every morning, afternoon, etc., as in, “In th’ kuntry, fokes git up reel early of a mornin’.”)

Okry (okra)

Ole (old, see entry for “kum/kums.”)

Oughta or orta (ought to or should, as in, “I reckin I orta go, but I jist doan wonta.”)

Overhauls (overalls, see entry for “warsh.”)

Own (on, as in, “Yeah, I heard dat own th’ radio.” See entry for “putt.”)

Perserves (preserves, see entry for “biscuits” and photo of bisquits and fig preseves.)

Pert near (pretty near or pretty close, as in, “I pert near starved ta death!”)

Pitcher show (movie/theater)

The Malco Theater in McGehee, Arkansas

The Malco Theater, one of two “pitcher shows'” in McGehee that I attended every Saturday when I was young (to magnify, click on the photo)

Play purty (play pretty, i.e., toy, as in, “Little gals lack play purties.”)

Poke salat (poke salad, defined by Wikipedia as “a dish prepared using American pokeweed,” for more information, click here.)

Pore (poor, as in, “He’s as pore as a churchmouse!”)

Post (supposed, as in, “I’m post to go to th’ churchhouse this Sundy, but I ain’t goin’.”)

Pray’r meetin’ (prayer meeting, a regular Wednesday night ritual among Southern Baptists)

Selma Baptist Church as co-founded by Vivian Barrett Peacock, her father, and several others with Rev. Willis Barrett as pastor

Selma Baptist Church which was co-founded in the 1940s by my mother, her father, and several others with my grandfather Rev. Willis Barrett, as pastor (as magnify, click on the photo)

Purdy (pretty, see entry for “play purty.”)

Putt (put, as in, “Jist putt them fly’rs over yonder own th’ table.”)

Rainch (rinse, as in, “Yew bedder rainch out them thangs ‘fore they mildew.”)

Razed (raised, as in, “Me’n yur gran’maw razed up fo-teen chillun.”)

Reckin (reckon, as in, “I reckin them two thangs is ‘bout like awl and warder; they doan mix none too good.” See entry for “warder.”)

Reddy rolls (ready rolls, commercial cigarettes like Lucky Strike brand rather than those self-rolled from a packet of papers and a small can or bag of tobacco, usually Prince Albert or Bull Durham brands pronounced “Bull Durm.”)

Lucky Strike cigarettes

“Ready rolled” Lucky Strike cigarettes from the 1940s

Prince Albert tobacco used in "roll yur own" cigarettes

Can of Prince Albert tobacco used to make “roll yur own” cigarettes in the 1940s

Bag of Bull Durham smoking tobacco

Bag of Bull Durham (pronounced “Bull Durm”) brand of “roll yur own” cigarette smoking tobacco

Rilly (really, as in, “I rilly lack nanner puddin!” See entry for “lack.”)

Rite (right)

Rite smort (rite smart, a goodly amount)

Road (used instead of street)

Saive (salve, as in, “I dun burnt mah fangers, so I need ta putt me some saive on ‘em.”)

Sam Hill (mild expletive, as in, “Whut in th’ Sam Hill are yew doin’?”)

Screeceport/Tex’akana (Shreveport, a city in northwest Louisiana not far from Texarkana, which sits astride the Texas/Arkansas state lines, as in, “Uncle Dude iz a-movin’ his fambly frum Sreeceport ta Tex’akana.”)

Sed (said)

Seeve (sieve, but pronounced to rhyme with “sleeve”)

Shoot ‘em up (Western movie, as in, “On Sairdy evenin’ we always go to th’ pitcher show to watch a shoot ‘em up.”)

Shuck/shucks (husk/husks, as in, “We need ta shuck ‘at corn to git some shucks to putt in th’ mattress!”)

Shure (sure)

Sigh-REEN (siren, as in, “Th’ laist time we went to town to th’ pitcher show, we heard a bunch ‘a sigh-REENS!”)

Slop jar (chamber pot)

A slop jar (chamber pot) found in most country Southern homes in the 1940s

A slop jar (chamber pot) found in most Southern country homes in the 1940s

Stang (stung, see entry for “whelp.”)

Stout (strong, as in, “Boy hidy, yew shure are stout, ain’t cha?”)

Stud’n’ ‘bout it (considering it, thinking about it, as in, “I ain’t eb’n stud’n’ ‘bout it!”)

Supper (dinner, the evening meal, as in, “Ever’ day I eat three meals: brekfust, dinner, ‘n’ supper.”)

Suthun Babdis (Southern Baptist, the Catholic church of the South in the 1940s)

McGehee First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church of McGehee which I attended as a youth after my family moved to town in 1948 when I was ten years old (to magnify, click on the photo)

Tabakka (tobacco)

Taken (past tense of the verb “take,” as when U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn out of Fort Smith said in True Grit, written by Charles Portis, an Arkie, “I turned [my horse] Bo around and taken the reins in my teeth and rode right at them boys.” My father, with an eighth-grade education, always said “taken” for “took.” See my next post on Daddy’s cattle business.)

Tard (tired, as in, “Shuckin’ awl ‘at corn made me tard!”)

Tawk (talk, as in, “Yankees shure do tawk funny.”)

Teecher/preecher (teacher/preacher)

Teech’rige (teacherage, i.e, , a teacher’s home)

Selma school teacherage

Selma school teacherage which was located right across the road from the Selma elementary school I attended as a boy (to magnify, click on the photo)

Side view of Selma elementary school

Side view of the Selma elementary school right across the gravel road from the Selma teacherage (to magnify, click on the photo)

Th’/thang (the/thing, as in, “It wuz th’ dangdist thang I ever seen!”)

Thow/thoo (throw, through, as in, “I’m goan thow a brickbat thoo ‘at winderpane!”)

Toilet (outhouse or privy and not the indoor bathroom, commode, stool, or potty)

Tote (carry a thing, as in, “Yew kin tote dat catfish home in a tow sack.” See the next entry on the term “tow sack.”)

Tow sack (gunny sack, croker sack, burlap bag, etc. For an interesting discussion of the regional differences in this term, click here.)

Tump over (tip over, as in, “Yew bedder look out, you goan tump over ‘at wheelbar.”)

Warder (water, as in, “I’m goin’ to th’ well ta git me a big drank ‘a warder!”)

Warsh (wash, as in, “I need to warsh them overhauls, but I’m jist too tard.”)

Waws ness (wasp nest, as when we kids warned one another about shooting rubber band guns at red wasps, “Yew bedder look out, yew li’ble to git waws ness stung!”)

Wheelbar (wheelbarrow, see entry for “tump over.”)

Whelp (welt, as in, “That waws ness stang razed a whelp on my hed.”)

Whur (where. I was terribly embarrassed after we moved from Selma to McGehee and my elementary teacher corrected me in front of the whole class for saying “whur” for “where.”)

Whut (what, as in, “Whut’s ‘at fly’r you got own, honey chile?”)

Widder wummun (widow, as in, “Miz Ledbetter wuz a widder wummun after her huzbun died.”)

Winderpane (windowpane, see entry for “thow/thoo.”)

Winsdy/Sairdy/Sundy (Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday, as in, “We always go to church on Sundy mornin’, pray’r meetin’ on Winsdy nite, and th’ pitcher show on Sairdy evenin’.”)

Wont (want, as in, “I won’t do it ‘cause I doan wont to!”)

Wood’n’ (wouldn’t, as in, “I wood’n’ do ‘at if I wuz yew.”)

Wore out (worn out, see entry for “tard.”)

Wrop (wrap, see entry for “yessur, nawsur, yes’m, nome.”)

Wummun/wimmin (woman/women, as in, “More’n wun wummum iz wimmin.”)

Wun (one, see entry for “wummun/wimmim.”)

Wusht (wish, as in, “I wusht I had me a big mess ‘a fried catfish ‘n’ hushpuppies!”)

Wuz (was, as in, “Wuz yew th’ wun that got waws ness stung?”)

‘Y (why, as in, “‘Y shure, I kin tawk kuntry!”)

Yawl (y’all, used for plural of “you” rather than the Yankee “you guys”)

“Yawl ben ta dinner?” (“Have you all had lunch?” Probably used because farm folks often went back to the house at noon for their “dinner,” their largest meal of the day.)

Yeah (yes, see entry for “naw.”)

Yessur, nawsur, yes’m, nome (yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am, as when the little country boy told his teacher, “Papa wropped bob war ’round th’ ban’ster ta keep gran’maw frum slidin’ down it.” “Oh my, did it stop her?” “Nome . . . slowed ‘er dow-yun.”)

Y’heah (do you hear; see entry for “yung’un.”)

Yonder (there or over there, as in, “Look, yawl, yonder kums ole man Johnson!”)

Yung’un (young one, as when my grandmother used to tell us kids, “Yew yung’uns, yawl doan never git ole, now y’heah.” Too late, Gran’maw, dun dun it! Also see entry for “Bubba.”)

My grandmother Simmie Peacock and my grandfather Tom

My grandmother Simmie with my grandfather Tom Peacock, both of whom were born and lived in Selma all their lives (to magnify,click on the photo)

As noted above, this is only a sample of Southeast Arkansas country speech from the 1940s. In the following post I will continue this subject by examining some terms used in my father’s livestock business in the Ark-La-Miss area of that period. I will then conclude the subject with some French sayings I picked up in my career as a French teacher, translator, and interpreter.

Other Sources of Southern Speech and Culture

For a quiz on Southern/Country words and phrases titled “How Many Southern Words and Phrases Do You Know?” sent to me by my longtime friend and high school classmate Pat Scavo, click here. There are fifteen entries. To take the quiz, click on your choice in each entry. If you are right your answer will turn green. (I scored fourteen out of fifteen because there was one saying that I had never heard.)

For more interesting information and another quiz on Southern/Country speech, visit my earlier post titled “Some Southern Stuff IV: Do You Speak Southern?” click here.

To view a map of the most commonly spoken languages other than English in each of the fifty states, click here.

Are you rural or urban? To view a map from the U.S. Census Bureau showing whether each of the states is primarily rural or urban, click here. (You can guess which category includes Arkansas!)

As an update on my previous posts about the Arkansas Delta, to view a three-and-a-half minute video of the exterior of the Pickens Plantation home with the traditional white columns, click here. Then stay linked to watch (and listen to) two or three videos with examples of SEARK speech: one of a fisherman showing off his catch and the others of former Desha County Judge Mark McElroy auctioning off Arkansas items at a sale.


“Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay,
Gone are my friends from the cotton fields away . . .”
(And now even the cotton fields are disappearing!)
—Stephen Foster, “Old Black Joe”
To hear this song sung by Paul Robeson, click here.)

In my last post I discussed four subjects: the sale of the McGehee Estate mansion, an alligator in the McGehee city park pond, my wife Marion’s brown cotton plant and harvest, and the passing of two members of the cast of the 1980’s TV show “Designing Women.”

In this post I would like to provide an update on three of those subjects: the McGehee Estate sale, the decline of cotton production and the changes in modern cotton harvesting, and “Designing Women.” I will also include another related subject I have discussed recently, the dogtrot houses that were once so numerous in the Arkansas Delta and surrounding areas.

Update on the Sale of the McGehee Estate

“But though we are what we do, what we do is not all of what we are. We are also products of place. Where we grew up and how we experienced the physical environment of our formation are also a part of who we are.”
—Kathleen Parker, “The nominee’s gender, geography,”
Tulsa World, May 13, 2010

In a recent email, Barbara McClendon Barnes, a native of Southeast Arkansas, sent me an update on the sale of the McGehee Estate, called in the realtor’s ad “A true Southern plantation mansion.”

Exterior of the McGehee Estate mansion

Exterior of the McGehee Estate mansion (to magnify, click on the photo)

Here is what Barbara had to say on 10/26/14 about that sale:

 “This is what I’ve found out about the McGehee Estate. A man from Monticello, Michael Berry, has supposedly bought it . . . for the sum of $110,000. That is for the house and property including the chandeliers and things attached to the house . . . but not including the furniture and such. . . . I’ll keep you informed.”

McGehee Estate chandelier

McGehee Estate chandelier (to magnify, click on the photo)

And I will keep you informed as I learn more about the fate of this icon of our hometown and home country.

Update on Cotton Production
and Picking in Arkansas

“A recent Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article states that
Arkansas planted ten times as many acres in soybeans as in cotton.”
–Taylor Prewitt

On October 21, Pat Scavo sent me a link to an amazing 4.42-minute You Tube video titled “Cotton Harvest, Pickens, Arkansas,” featuring a mammoth new John Deere cotton picker in action. To view that incredible video, click on the title. You will see that it is a far cry from the old days in which cotton had to be picked by hand—and even from the early days of primitive mechanical cotton pickers!

Obsolete 1950's single-row mechanical cotton picker

Obsolete 1950’s single-row mechanical cotton picker (to magnify, click on the photo)

New John Deere 7770 cotton picker

New John Deere 7770 six-row cotton picker as seen in operation in the video (to magnify, click on the video)

On October 23, Taylor Prewitt, a native of Southeast Arkansas, shared with me his views on the subject of declining cotton production in Arkansas in general and this video in particular:

“A recent Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article indicates that this year Arkansas planted ten times as many acres in soybeans as in cotton, almost five times as much in rice, and nearly twice as much in corn.”

Here Taylor inserted a chart showing that while Arkansas grew 335,000 acres of cotton, at the same time it grew 3,300,000 acres of soybeans, 1,500,000 acres of rice, and 560,000 acres of corn.

“Also, a number of gins in the Arkansas Delta have not even been operating in the last couple of years. I didn’t see much cotton between Pine Bluff and McGehee, except for the Pickens and Tillar Estates, both very large operations, but I don’t know how much cotton they’re planting. The McGehee co-op gin is still operating, and farmers from Mississippi bring their cotton across the river to have it ginned in McGehee because the McGehee co-op gin gives cotton seed rebates. Rebates are a pretty big deal for the farmer. Rebates weren’t given until the co-ops started giving them, and some but not all other gins now give them.

“I had never seen one of these [huge modern cotton pickers] in operation. I think they cost about $800,000. [The actual list price for a John Deere 7760 6313N self-propelled cotton picker is $810,244.00. To learn more about it, click here.] I learned from the video that the farmer also has to buy a machine to go out into the field and pick up the round bales. The new picker is really an amazing machine.

The new John Deere 7770 cotton picker in operation

The new John Deere 7770 six-row cotton picker in operation

“When all the old pickers are worn out, I guess the new ones are the only ones that will be available. A six-row picker could take the place of three two-row pickers. Lower labor costs. But the farmer has to be able to afford to save that much money.”

A rear view of the new John Deere 7770 cotton picker dropping of the new round bales of cotton

A rear view of the new John Deere 7760 six-row  cotton picker dropping off the new huge round bales of cotton

Update on Arkansas Delta Dogtrot Houses

 “It’s a different [world] down there [in the Delta]. . . .There are little communities of gray, weathered shotgun shacks [and dogtrot houses] tenanted by people living off of the cotton as much the same way as people have done down here for nearly two hundred years.”
—Conrad Vollersten, “The colors of the Arkansas,”
in 1980s column titled “Along the Arkansas”
in unknown Oklahoma newspaper

Obviously, this quote about the Arkansas Delta is no longer entirely true. One apparent reason is the fact that due to the development of mechanical cotton pickers and other technological changes in farming over the past few decades, the need for farm laborers has been drastically reduced. As a result, the once ubiquitous sharecropper and tenant farmers and their shacks are fast becoming things of the past.

In evidence, here is another report from Joe Dempsey’s “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind” on 10/12/14 about one of these fast disappearing relics of an earlier time and lifestyle. 

Side view of the old dogtrot house

Side view of an old dogtrot house (to magnify, click on the photo)

“Well over 100 years old, this old dogtrot house in Cleveland, Arkansas, sits right bedside Highway 95 for all to see. Since time is taking its toll, get a good look. A few more ill winds and it could become kindling.

Front view of the old dogtrot house showing the renovated dogtrot breezeway

Front view of the old dogtrot house showing the renovated dogtrot breezeway (to magnify, click on the photo)

“The left (north) side of the front porch will be the first to go. You can easily see where the dogtrot was closed in the center. The ‘home-place-tree’ in the background is a healthy walnut, which will probably long outlive the house. 

The back side of the old dogtrot house

The back side of the old dogtrot house (to magnify, click on the photo)

“The back of the house shows evidence of additions made after the original structure was completed. The missing roof segment lies in the foreground of the picture.”

In Joe’s “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind” post published on November 2, he featured photos of old abandoned and decaying barns, houses, stores, etc. in the Arkansas Ozarks. Here is his answer to the question of why people leave such old structures to fall into disrepair rather just tearing them down:

My thinking is that these old structures give us a glimpse into our immediate past, a privilege that, since the old structures are falling, will not necessarily be available to succeeding generations. If they are to know, the onus is on us to record them while they are still standing.”

Amen, Brother Joe!

Update on the Cast of “Designing Women” 

“So many thanks for all of your hard work on behalf of ‘Designing Women.’ I was surprised, after all this time, there are people out there that are still such fans of DW. Really, we are most indebted to you and want you to know how very grateful we are to all of you for your enduring interest and appreciation.”
—Linda Bloodworth-Thomason,
writer-creator of “Designing Women” TV show

The cast of "Designing Women" in the first five seasons

The cast of “Designing Women” in Season 1–5 (1986–91): Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Alice Ghostley, Jean Smart, Annie Potts, and Meshach Taylor

As noted, the last section of my latest post was about the passing of two of the cast members of the 1980s TV show “Designing Women.”

On the Web site for “Designing Women,” Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the show’s writer and creator, had this to say about that show and its Web site:

“The ‘80s gave us many classic sitcoms, but the brassy and sassy Designing Women was in a class all its own. . . . Each character carried a different ‘voice’ which set the stage for many humorous and often heartwarming debates, complimented by sharp dialogue and the charm and chemistry of the ensemble cast. And though it’s been over 25 years since it first aired, the series continues to grow in popularity as it touches new generations of viewers.

"Designing Women" Web site photo of four of the Southern ladies

“Designing Women” Web site photo of four of the original Southern ladies

“This is the fourth incarnation of this website— now officially Designing Women Online. Since the site debuted in 1998 as a tribute to the series, features and layouts have evolved, relationships with the series cast and creators have blossomed, and an incredibly loyal fan base has shared what the show has meant to them.”

As noted in my previous blog post, Dixie Carter passed away on April 10, 2010, in Houston, Texas, and Jan Hooks passed away on October 9, 2014, after a long battle with an undisclosed illness.

A reader of my post wrote to call attention to the fact that another member of that cast, Meshach Taylor who played the young black male, also died recently, on June 28, 2014, at his family’s home after a long battle with cancer. According to the DW Web site another member of the original cast, Alice Ghostley, who had ties to both Arkansas and Oklahoma, passed away on September 21, 2007, at her home in Studio City, California.

Another photo of four of the ladies from "Designing Women"

Another view of four of the original ladies from “Designing Women”

To learn more about the other members of the DW cast and much more about the show itself, go to the beautifully designed “Designing Women” Web site and click on your favorite cast member or subject.


The quote from the song “Old Black Joe” was taken from:

The You Tube video of Paul Robeson singing “Old Black Joe” was taken from:

The update on the sale of the McGehee Estate was taken from a personal email from Barbara Barnes on 10/26/14.

The photos of the McGehee Estate were taken from:

The information on which Taylor Prewitt based his remarks and estimates of cotton production versus that of soybeans, rice, and corn was taken from an Arkansas Online entry for 10/15/14 titled “Storms hamper farmers’ harvests, Growers waiting on fields to dry,” written by Glen Chase.

The video of the John Deere cotton picker in action was taken from:

The photo of the 1950’s single-row mechanical cotton picker was taken from a book titled McGehee Centennial 1906-2006 published by the McGehee Centennial Committee.

The three photos of the modern John Deere 7760 six-row cotton picker were taken from:



The photos of the dogtrot house were taken from Joe Dempsey’s “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind” on 10/12/14 at:

The photo of the original cast of “Designing Women” was taken from:

The quotes and photo about the show and its Web site and cast were taken from the official “Designing Women” Web site at:

 Sale of the McGehee Estate

“To love a place from a distance is to embellish it with memory, desire, and myth. Why Don’t You Come Home is a fantasy, a lyric, and a document of one of several returns to the place where I grew up. It is part of an ongoing exploration of a South that is both familiar and strange, both real and imagined.”
—Missy Evans, a native of Mississippi who now lives in Oregon,
quoted in OxFord American Magazine
and sent to me by Pat Scavo on 9/24/14

On September 24 my longtime friend and McGehee High School classmate from the Class of 1956 sent me an advertisement of the auction sale of the mansion, furnishing, and vehicles of the McGehee Estate, the home of the McGehee family for whom the town was named. Here is what Patsy Mc had to say about what the realtor’s ad called “a true Southern plantation mansion”:

The McGehee Estate, "a true Southern plantation mansion"

The McGehee Estate, “a true Southern plantation mansion” (to magnify, click on the photo)

“This ad was listed in our local Hot Springs newspaper today and I thought you all would be interested. The house was described in the paper as having a staircase similar to the one in ‘Gone With the Wind’ and being complete with a white-columned porch. The estate’s furniture and cars also will be auctioned on September 27.”

Following is a realtor’s description of the items for sale:

Formally known as the “McGehee Estate” named after Abner McGehee SR. founder of the town of McGehee Arkansas. Upon entering foyer area, your eyes will be focused on the Spiral Staircase that compares to the one in “Gone with the Wind.” It is constructed of beautiful hardwoods and custom railing. A Crystal Chandelier hanging from the second floor ceiling in the foyer to be offered separately from the home. The master suite has walk-in cedar lined closets and a huge walk in marble shower. Out front are 6 beautiful white columns soaring 24 feet to the ceiling of the 60 feet wide front porch. The front lawn has the appearance of a park with huge Pine, Oak and Pecan trees plus a creek running along the width of the lawn. This property’s beautiful corner lot fronts Crooked Bayou and D Street. Split level central heat and air system and is on City Water and Sewer. As true with many older homes, there are some updating needed here and there.  We will also be selling all furnishings and collectibles including a Robert W. Erwin Bedroom Suite which the Dodds family traveled to Fort Worth in 1960 and purchased for $6,000.

The McGehee Estate circular staircase

The McGehee Estate circular staircase (to magnify, click on the photo)

This sale is a historic event since it marks the first time in its long history that the mansion will not be owned by the family of the founders of the city of McGehee. There was no mention of the ownership of the land and other tangible assets of the estate.

For more photos of the house, furnishings, and vehicles, click here and wait a few seconds. For more about the McGehee Estate and its importance in the founding of the city of McGehee, click here.

 Photo/article about a McGehee Alligator

“Alligators, like snowfall, are just rare enough in Southeast Arkansas
to cause a stir among the locals.”
—Jimmy Peacock

On the subject of our hometown of McGehee, Arkansas, it has been noted that McGehee is the only city in the country to have a swamp (actually a small cypress slough) as its city park. On September 24, 2014, the McGehee Times published a photo/article about the appearance of a young alligator in the pond of that park.

The Wiley McGehee city park in McGehee, Arkansas, from the cover of an Arkansas road map

The Wiley McGehee City Park pond in McGehee, Arkansas, from the front cover of an Arkansas road map (to magnify, click on the photo)

A young alligator in the McGehee city park pond

A young alligator in the McGehee city park pond (to magnify, click on the photo)

Officials from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spent Thursday afternoon searching Wiley McGehee Pond’s newest resident.

Local police contacted the AGFC after an alligator was sighted several times recently. Mark Barbee, the AGFC’s nuisance alligator coordinator for the area and AGFC biologist David Luker said they followed the young gator in a boat for several hours before he disappeared into the high grass area at the north end of the pond.

Barbee said the risk of human interaction at the park led officials to determine the alligator should be relocated to a less populated area. Barbee said the gator is young and an estimated four feet in length.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the gator had not been caught but AGFC officials say they will continue relocation attempts.

As an update, the Wednesday, October 8, issue of the McGehee Times reported that the gator had been caught and relocated “to an unnamed Wildlife Management Area.”

Police chief holding the McGehee gator

McGehee police officer Darren McAdoo holding the McGehee alligator later relocated

Hunted to near extinction decades ago, alligators have made a tremendous recovery since they were reintroduced from Louisiana a few years ago. Their increasing numbers and activities are evident in the establishment of the position of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s “nuisance alligator coordinator.”

In my files from the McGehee Times and other Arkansas newspapers I have several photos/articles of alligators in Arkansas (including a huge one discovered in the middle of U.S. Highway 65 around McGehee). These I have collected and kept as evidence to those who question or even dispute the presence of alligators in the state.

Mari’s Brown Cotton Plant

“Gonna jump down, turn aroun’ an’ pick a bale ‘a cotton,
Gonna jump down, turn aroun’ an’ pick a bale a day.”
—Lead Belly, old-time Blues music composer and singer
(To view a brief video of Lead Belly performing this Blues song
sent to me by Pat Scavo on 9/30/14, click here.)
To read a bio of Lead Belly from his induction
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, click here.)

Whenever cotton is mentioned one almost automatically thinks of Scarlett O’Hara and other Southern Belles. (See the opening quote of the next section about “Designing Women.”)

Here is a photo of a group of such Southern Belles, Mari’s high school Clique about whom I have written several times on my blog. (See, for example, the post titled “My Annual Tributes to the Clique.”)

A portion of Mari's high school Clique of Southern Belles with Mari on the right in the long white dress with the flower on the front

A portion of Mari’s high school Clique of Southern Belles; Mari is the curly-haired blonde on the right wearing a long white dress with a flower on the front (to magnify, click on the photo)

Since Mari is also from McGehee, and since she misses the Arkansas Delta and the now virtually defunct Southern Cotton Kingdom as much as I do, several years ago she began growing a couple of cotton plants to show the bolls to her Okie pupils who had never seen raw cotton.

Later she learned about brown cotton and began to grow it to show to people in general who have never seen it or even heard of it.

This year Mari’s brown cotton plant is currently in bloom (see photos). Soon those blooms will be replaced by cotton bolls which will later open to display and give access to the actual cotton fiber within them.

That’s when Mari will “jump down, turn aroun’ an’ pick a [bit] a cotton.”

Mari's first brown cotton blossom of 2014

Mari’s first brown cotton blossom of 2014 (to magnify, click on the photo)

Mari's brown cotton plant in bloom in our back yard

Mari’s brown cotton plant in bloom in our back yard (to magnify, click on the photo)

Mari's brown cotton plant in bloom in our back yard

Mari’s brown cotton plant in bloom in our back yard (to magnify and see the brown cotton boll open, click on the photo)

Marion's last year's crop of brown cotton

Mari’s last year’s crop of brown cotton (to magnify, click on the photo)

(To view an interesting four-minute YouTube video of an old black man telling and showing how to pick cotton, click here. Warning: Disregard the comments about the video which contain racist terms and messages!)

 Salute to Late “Designing Women”

“The Old South will never die, not as long as there are darling debutantes, doting docents, indomitable dowagers, and other groups of proud Southern women like the Junior League, the Ya Ya Sisterhood, The Sweet Potato Queens, the Steel Magnolias, [Designing Women]—and the Maggie [McGehee] Clique!”
—Quote by Jimmy Peacock in letter to
Charles Allbright dated June 10, 2002

Speaking of Southern Belles, here is a salute to the “Designing Women,” especially the late Dixie Carter and Jan Hooks. First, here is Dixie delivering five of Julia Sugarbaker’s best rants from that TV show. They were sent to Mari and me by our longtime friend and Southern Belle Pat Scavo.

Cast of "Designing Women" during their first five seasons

The cast of “Designing Women” in Season 1–5 (1986–91): Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Alice Ghostley, Jean Smart, Annie Potts, and Meshach Taylor (to magnify, click on the photo)

Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker on "Designing Women"

The late Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker on “Designing Women”

Dixie Carter was our favorite character on “Designing Women.” In fact, once when she visited Tulsa I thought about driving over to the studio where she was taking questions from the audience to tell her that it was her performances on reruns of that show that got me through a bout with lymphoma back in 1991-92.

These bits by Dixie are jewels. We miss her and her indomitable spirit greatly. Just as we miss the Southern homeland and lifestyle she represented so well.

After I had made up this post I read in the Tulsa World the news about the death of another member of the “Designing Women” cast, Jan Hooks. Jan was also a favorite of ours whose career we had followed since she first appeared on the Bill Tush Show on an Atlanta cable station. In that show she often played a televangelist who berated her viewers for not sending in enough donations to fill up the “inspirational font” (a fish bowl set on top of a piano) or pay for the “inspirational Cadillac de Ville” or the “inspirational Winnebago.” Our older son Sean sent her some old copies of Confederate money. Jan wrote him back and thanked him for his “worthless donation.”

Jan Hooks

Jan Hooks

From that show Jan graduated to “Saturday Night Live” and then on to “Designing Women” in its latter years. To read her obituary that appeared in the Tulsa World on October 11, 2014, click here. For more about Jan with videos of some of her best performances as presented on the Huffington Post Web site, click here and then scroll down. To view other videos of Jan hook’s funniest bits, especially as Brenda the waitress and the tour guide at the Alamo from the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, click on the titles.

Incidentally, one of her funniest bit was a skit in which she played Brenda singing “Is There Life after Elvis? . . . I Hope So.” I could not find a video of it, so if you do, please let me know.


Information and photos about the McGehee Estate were taken from:




The link to the entry on the city of McGehee was taken from:

The articles and photos of the alligator in the McGehee city park pond were taken from:

The link to my post titled “My Annual Tributes to the Clique” was taken from:

The link to the YouTube video of the old black man telling and showing how to pick cotton was taken from:

The links and photos about “Designing Women,” Delta Burke, and Julia Sugarbaker were taken from:

The photo of Jan Hooks was taken from:

The October 11, 2014, Tulsa World obituary of Jan Hooks was taken from the online edition at: http://www.tulsaworld.com/scene/tv/former-snl-cast-member-jan-hooks-dies-at-age/article_bc4479ab-05f4-5fba-b8ad-9cbaf74171ab.html

The Huffington Post Web site obituary of Jan Hooks was taken from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/09/jan-hooks-dead-dies_n_5961882.html?flv=1

The video of Jan Hooks as Brenda the waitress was taken from:


The video of Jan Hooks as the Alamo tour guide from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure was taken from:


A river [or a land] doesn’t bestow enlightenment in and of itself—but it can provide clarity and insight for someone who was ready to observe and listen to it.”
—Bob Krist

In my previous three posts, titled “Arkansas Delta Plantations and Other Post-Mortem Tidbits, Parts I-III,” I examined several subjects relating to the Delta and its surrounding areas which have had such a powerful and enduring influence on my entire life.

Thinking I had exhausted my material on those subjects, I had planned to publish a different post at this time. However, since then I have received several additional “tidbits” which I feel compelled to share with you all, my readers.

As indicated by the title of this post, these “tidbits” relate to: An update on the Taylor House at the Hollywood Plantation, Joe Dempsey’s fifteen Delta photos, and the upcoming publication of a book about a voyage of discovery down the Mississippi River.

The next post will be about the auction and sale of the McGehee Estate mansion and its furnishings and vehicles, the appearance of a young alligator in McGehee’s city park pond, the blooming of my wife’s brown cotton plant, and a marvelous video of five of Julia Sugarbaker’s most delightful and amusing rants from the popular television show of the past “Designing Women.”

These two new posts may be some of the longest I have published, but I wanted to do justice to these interesting, informative, intriguing, and inspiring updates and reminiscences. I hope you share my interest in them and my enthusiasm for them.

 Taylor Prewitt’s Update on the Taylor House
at Hollywood Plantation

“Why would anyone with a big plantation and house in Kentucky
want to do all this amid the mosquitoes etc.?”
—Taylor Prewitt, describing the Southeast
Arkansas Hollywood Plantation
in an email to Jimmy Peacock on 9/27/14

Taylor Prewitt, a physician who now lives in Fort Smith but whose family has been engaged in large-scale farming in Southeast Arkansas for generations, sent me the following email account of his recent visit to the Taylor House on the Hollywood Plantation near Winchester, Arkansas, a site which I have featured several times on my blog.

Taylor House at Hollywood Plantation

Taylor House at Hollywood Plantation

I have presented Taylor’s message below just as he sent it with the photos of the house, bayou, cemetery, and fields that accompanied the email report.

“While on a run to look at the farm yesterday I ran by the old Taylor House on the Hollywood  Plantation east of Winchester—built before 1846, up to 11,000 acres, had a basement/cellar (!). Literally under wraps. Bayou bed below house was dry! Don’t understand that. Must have been a tributary of Bayou Bartholomew, which had plenty of water in it as we crossed the bridge. [See my earlier post titled “Bayou Bartholomew: Two Book Reviews.”] They were burning the harvested fields nearby.

Dry tributary of Bayou Bartholomew behind Taylor House at Hollywood Plantation

Dry tributary behind the Taylor House

View of barren fields at Hollywood Plantation

View of burning fields at Hollywood Plantation

“Max Hill was operating the Hollywood Plantation at Winchester when I was a boy. Don’t know what’s happened to it in terms of ownership and management.

“The Arkansas Historical Preservation Program Web site says about the Taylor home on the plantation:

 . . . the last known example in Arkansas’s lower Delta region of an intact two-story log dog-trot residence, its alterations notwithstanding. Its square-notched, cypress log construction is intact throughout and the open breezeway on the first floor remains open.

Close-up view of Taylor House

Close-up view of construction of Taylor House

Interior of Taylor House at Hollywood Plantation

View of the dog trot breezeway at the Taylor House

John Martin Taylor was born in Winchester, Kentucky on July 23, 1819. Apparently his family was fairly well-to-do, as by the time of his marriage in 1843 to Mary Elizabeth Robertson (the daughter of Martha Goodloe Robertson Arnold, a family relative by marriage) he was a practicing medical physician with large land holdings and a great number of slaves. He and his new bride began enlarging their agricultural land holdings in both his native Kentucky and Arkansas, and soon established homes in both places. He built a palatial mansion near the banks of the Kentucky River in Westport, Oldham County, Kentucky, that he named Mauvilla.

Family tombstone at Taylor House cemetery

Family tombstone at Taylor House

Henceforth the Taylor Log House served as the headquarters for a large plantation complex that raised cotton with the help of a large slave labor force until the onset of the Civil War. After the cessation of hostilities Dr. Taylor attempted to continue his farming operation with free labor until his death, though with mixed results and at great personal cost. After his death in 1884 his children continued to run the farm, even regaining a good deal of the land lost immediately after the war and expanding the Taylor farm to as much as 11,000 acres. The Taylor farm operated in various forms through the first half of the twentieth century.

Burned fields at Hollywood Plantation

View of burned fields at Hollywood Plantation

Joe Dempsey’s Fifteen Photos of the Delta

“Driving through the Delta is like bank fishing on the river: you never know what you are going to catch (and or see).”
—Joe Dempsey

In his “Daily Grist for the Eyes and Mind” on October 5, my longtime friend and Ouachita Baptist College classmate Joe Dempsey published a post titled “A Delta Sampler.” In that post he featured fifteen recent photos of the Arkansas Delta.

An Arkansas Delta cotton field ready to be picked.

This cotton near the junction of Highways 1 and 318 northeast of St. Charles appears ready to pick.

These photos pictured huge trucks waiting at grain elevators, fields being burned off in preparation for a new planting season, flocks of white egrets in a recently harvested cornfield, two abandoned and rusted vintage vehicles from the 1930s and 50s, a cotton field (above) “white unto harvest,” a sample of Delta “buckshot” soil, a leaky water faucet, another abandoned Delta farmhouse, a cotton gin (below), as well as a derelict small-town cityscape from days gone by.

An Arkansas Delta cotton gin

Here’s a close look at a Delta cotton gin. Farmers would bring picked cotton to the gin in a trailer like you see in the picture. A gin worker would climb in the trailer and maneuver a large metal vacuum tube descending from the overhang through the cotton to suck the crop into the gin.

These two photos feature Joe’s own captions. To view the rest of the fifteen photos and Joe’s commentary on them, go to http://weeklygrist.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/a-delta-sampler/.

Believe me, the view of the “dying Delta” is worth it!

 Announcement of Book on Mississippi River
Voyage by Gayle Harper

“ . . . an epic river voyage teaches the traveler as much or more about himself than about the topography and geography of the waterway itself. It’s an exterior trip that prompts an interior journey.”
—Bob Krist

“Muddy Mississippi River water leaves a stain on the soul that is impossible to get out—assuming any fool would try!”
—Jimmy Peacock

In an earlier blog post published on October 15, 2013 and titled “A Few of My Favorite Things I: McGehee, Mississippi River, the Delta/Cotton” I included a section about a voyage down the Mississippi River made and recorded by Gayle Harper. (To read that post, click on the title.)

To view a Web site of Gayle’s trip down the Mississippi River from its source to the Gulf of Mexico, especially the posts on Arkansas City and Lake Village, Arkansas, click here and then click here.

Seal of Desha County, Arkansas, with the county courthouse at Arkansas City and steamboats on the Mississippi River

Seal of Desha County, Arkansas, with the county courthouse in Arkansas City and steamboats on the Mississippi River (to magnify, click on the photo)

In an email announcement titled “Off to the Printers” dated 9/27/14, Gayle sent me the following announcement of the upcoming publication of her book about her voyage of discovery.

 “Hello, my friends! HOORAY!

Roadtrip with a Raindrop:
90 Days Along the Mississippi River 

has been sent to the printers!

“Thanks to an amazing team of talented folks, this baby has been kissed and bundled off! And…it will be beautiful! I revealed the cover in the last update, but in case you missed it, here it is.

Photo cover of Roadtrip with a Raindrop

Cover photo of Roadtrip with a Raindrop by Gayle Harper (to magnify, click on the photo)

“Every detail is the best possible quality and has been given the greatest possible care and attention. There is even a satin ribbon placeholder! Inside, are 55 short stories, each with its photographs that give you your own experience of this magical adventure. As we discover America’s greatest River and meet her colorful people, we keep pace with a raindrop called ‘Serendipity’ on its 90-day, 2,400 mile journey from the headwaters to the Gulf.

“I want to share something very special with you. Bob Krist is a world-renowned photographer who has been shooting for National Geographic Traveler for more than 25 years. He has been honored in many ways, including being named three times as ‘Travel Photographer of the Year.’ I have admired him and his work for many years.

“Some years ago, when I was fortunate to be in one of his workshops at the Maine Photographic Workshops, he encouraged me to find a personal project that touched my heart and to make time in my schedule for it. That is what opened me up to receive this Mississippi River project when it appeared. So, I have always known that I would ask him to write the Foreword for this book – and I was thrilled and honored when he agreed to do so. When I received it, I could only cry. Here it is.”


As literature and myth illustrate time and time again, a river journey can be a life-altering experience.

Whether it’s the young Buddha in Siddhartha, Mr. Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, or Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, an epic river voyage teaches the traveler as much or more about himself than about the topography and geography of the waterway itself. It’s an exterior trip that prompts an interior journey.

Fortunately for us, Gayle Harper’s book, Roadtrip with a Raindrop, is both. While her encounters with the beauty of the Mississippi and the wide array of humanity who make their home along the river—barge captains, blues musicians, artists, hunters, historical reenactors and even a jolly nun—obviously move her in a profound way, she never fails to take us along to share her experience.

Like Vasudeva, the ferryman who helps Siddhartha find enlightenment in the rhythms of the mythic river, Harper acts as our ferryman, documenting the beauty of this mother of all North American rivers and its people in stunning photography and rich prose, while she herself undergoes the profound changes that occur when an artist meets her project of a lifetime.

The result is a beautiful, warm and intimate portrait, as stunning to look at as it is to read, that makes us appreciate all that the Mississippi River has meant and continues to mean to America. In these pages, we feel the river’s pulse, we come to know and appreciate its people, and in doing so, we learn more about ourselves.

A river doesn’t bestow enlightenment in and of itself—but it can provide clarity and insight for someone who was ready to observe and listen to it. Fortunately for us, Gayle Harper was prepared not only to learn and be moved herself, but she has the vision and the craft to make it as vivid an experience for us as it was for her.
—Bob Krist

“Thank you, my friends, for being an essential part of this adventure. I cannot wait to put Roadtrip With a Raindrop into your hands. I will be back in touch with details about exactly when and where they will be available, but I can tell you that we expect to have them by Thanksgiving!

“In the meantime, if we are not yet connected on Facebook, come on over to www.facebook.com/GayleHarper.MississippiRiver. There’s photos, fun, conversation and information. Or visit my blog at www.gayleharper.wordpress.com. I will be posting information about the publication of the book there as soon as it is available.

“See you soon!

“Love, Gayle”


The photos of the Hollywood Plantation were provided by Taylor Prewitt.

The link to my earlier post titled “Bayou Bartholomew: Two Book Reviews” were taken from: https://myokexilelit.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/bayou-bartholomew-two-book-reviews/

The quote about the Hollywood Plantation from the Arkansas Historical Preservation Program Web site was taken from:

The link to my previous post titled “A Few of My Favorite Things I: McGehee, Mississippi River, the Delta/Cotton” was taken from:

The links to Joe Dempsey’s “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind” titled “A Delta Sampler” from October 5, 2014, were taken from:



Information from Gayle Harper’s voyage down the Mississippi River  was taken from:





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers