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Which Is It?

May 1, 2014
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

The spring after our daughter was born I said to my husband, "We need to get Abby a blast jacket." He said, "A what?!" I then explained to him the type of jacket I meant a lined, nylon number with elastic at the cuffs and a drawstring bottom. "Oh, you mean wind breaker," was his response. At the conclusion of the conversation, he proclaimed that those of us growing up in Eastern Iowa use some pretty strange terms. We were living in South Dakota at the time and I had indeed grown up in the Quad Cities. Chris grew up in Southern Minnesota. Imagine my delight, when years later, while living in Sac City, a friend of mine who grew up just north of the Quad Cities called a spring coat a "blast jacket." I could have hugged her, but Chris thought his point had been validated. Oh well. A quick survey my co-workers recently yielded more than one person knowing what a blast jacket is, so now I think maybe I am not so odd.

The debate over the names of mealtimes recently surfaced at the office when I mentioned I needed to figure out what I was having for lunch. A coworker said, "You mean, dinner. Dinner is at noon and supper is at night." Long ago, I was in that camp. However, our family's relocation to Davenport in the late 1960's caused me to change my verbiage. I admit to being a malleable child and one of my new friends informed me, "You eat lunch at noon and dinner is the night time meal." And I believed him.

For years, I have attributed that difference to vocation. As a child, on my grandparents' farm, grandma cooked breakfast and dinner, fixed afternoon lunch for the hired men and then cooked supper. I am pretty sure the uncle that is just four years older than I, filled me in on how the meals were served on the farm. And I believed him. Planning family gatherings can still be a challenge when it comes to meal timing. I learned long ago to just state the time of meal and remove all confusion. This past weekend, a group of my female relatives traveled to Houston, TX and as part of my research, I told them about my column. One of my cousins said she believed the meal titles had a lot to do with professions. Good to know someone thinks like I do.

During our discussion, the words "pop" and "soda" bubbled to the surface. While in college, I had a coworker who grew up in Indiana. She worked really hard at getting us to refer to pop as soda. Since then, I have heard the topic debated more than once. One aunt tolf me this weekend that some, primarily in the South, use the word coke generically for all carbonated drinks.

Our daughter, an alumnus of University of South Dakota, told me that she and a couple cousins were visiting later that evening and they discovered a difference in pronunciation of the word coyote. At USD, and in daughter Abby's world, when speaking of the animal (and the school mascot), there is not an "e" spoken. However, evidently in Texas, the critter is called the same as the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote.

When you start to think about it, there really are a lot of words or phrases that refer to the same object. I grew up calling browned ground beef served on a bun, a maidrite. When I got to college, I heard them referred to as both loose meats and taverns. Talk about confusing.

As a kid, each spring we got new tennis shoes. I know some refer to them as sneakers. I read that name was given to the shoes because the rubber soles made them very quiet, hence the sneaker name.

In closing, I am going to pose the question What is the name of the main dish that is baked in a 9 x 13 pan and taken to a potluck? I know what I call it.



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