I received this email from my brother today. He is currently a misplaced Texan, living in Chicago with his family:
A couple of weeks ago I took the optimistic step of setting all the double-windows in our house back from their winter, closed-up configuration to the open, summer version. It’s a pretty involved process. Daina probably knows what I’m talking about. Ask her for the details. After I finished, Krista announced that they were “all cattywhompus” and as such, in need to further adjustment. Now, I like to think of myself both as a fine student and an advanced user of Southern language. For example, many items which I can’t lay my hand on right now are in fact “over yonder.” I might “reckon” I could go retrieve them, but if my britches aren’t on fire I ain’t gonna get on it right this instant. Before I do so, you can be certain that some time will pass while I’m “fixin to.” However, “cattywhompus” has somehow completely eluded me up to now. Like all other southernisms, it means exactly what it sounds like. After a close look at the not-quite sealed off gaps in the screens and the back-panes slightly off their runners, I had to admit it. They were plainly cattywhompus. No other adjective would do. So, after fixin to do it for a couple of weeks, I finally got up the gumption to get after it this weekend. A little WD40 eased the way (no need for duct tape this time) and now there’s not a single cattywhompine window on this godforsaken Yankee snow-bunker. My beautiful wife can sleep with ease. I’m grateful to her for the new word. I’ve always known there was a belle under all that city-sophistication and now I have some powerful evidence. And I have to admit, the windows look a lot better too.