Happy Summer to All Y’all!
By K.C. Compton
In this month’s Mail Call we have a wonderful note from Anne Sowell in Hendersonville, Tennessee, regarding the proper use of you all. This is an issue near and dear to my heart, given my Okie roots and the fact that, even though I know better, I still think you all is personal and plural and that all y’all is a made-up case I call personal plural inclusive. It’s what you use when you want to make sure everyone knows they’re invited to the barbecue.
When I was growing up in the rough and tumble of our small town in Oklahoma, my mom tried very hard to make certain I emerged with sufficient social graces to get by in the bigger world. My sisters and I were scolded if we said “purty” instead of “pretty,” and we knew that saying something crude like “butt” would get us a swift swat on that particular part of our anatomies.
She tried assiduously to delete you all and the contracted y’all from our vocabularies, but one quick conversation with any of us will quickly reveal that she failed in that particular mission. I try to restrain myself in mixed company (me and anyone not from the South), but when I get sufficiently relaxed, my roots start showing and soon I’m y’alling all over the place.
I recently received an email with a subject line that asked, “Is ‘You Guys’ a Sexist Term?” and I just clicked right past it. As far as I’m concerned, “you guys” and “you ‘uns” and “youse” are all variations on a theme: familiar and friendly. And that’s always just fine by me, regardless of the accent.
I especially like what Anne said about the term including not just the individual standing right in front of you, but the web of connections that person represents. If I could accomplish one thing with Grit magazine, it would be to have people recognize how connected we all are – with each other and with the land, plants and animals that surround us. What a different world we’d all inhabit if we each viewed the other as you all in that special, networked, nuanced way Anne described.
We had so much fun editing this issue of Grit, from Letitia Star’s informative story on farmers’ markets and Barbara Pleasant’s story about training your dog to guard your place to Carolyn Abell’s beautiful story on Georgia’s Agrirama, George DeVault’s advice-filled piece on weed-wrangling and Hank Will’s useful article on gear that works.
By the time you read this, spring already will have sprung and summer will be stretching and yawning ahead of us. I hope you’ll take some time to go visit your neighbors or just sit a spell and watch the garden grow – and I mean all y’all!
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