The differences between all of us make life more interesting, especially when you are married.  Emily and I have different roots.  She was born and raised right here in beautiful East Tennessee.  I spent most of my formative years up north in a little town you may know called Cincinnati where we eat spaghetti with our chili and sometimes have goetta for breakfast (you don’t want to know what is in it, but it is very tasty).  They aren’t sure how, but my southern friends are amazed that I turned out to be alright even though I spent a lot of time in the north.

I have been fortunate to be able to travel to many parts of the country for work and pleasure.  When I’m away from home, I enjoy hearing differences in the way people speak.  Conversing with folks who have unique accents and use words to mean different things than they mean in other regions can be a lot of fun.  For instance, we say “please” in Cincinnati when we are asking someone to repeat what they said because we didn’t hear them the first time.  I remember Emily’s confusion when she first heard “please” used this way when she ordered sweet tea after we had just moved to Northern Kentucky.  When she requested the nectar of the gods, the waitress replied “Please?” and Emily said, “May I please have some sweet tea?”  because she thought the waitress was trying to tell her the manner of her request was not polite!

Being from different regions, Emily and I sometimes encounter challenges like this when speaking to one another resulting in some comical conversations.  I always chuckle when I think about the time that we were headed to a picnic at a friend’s farm in Owensboro, Kentucky.  We had just moved to the area, so Emily asked for directions from our friends before we headed to the picnic.  She asked me to drive so she could read the directions to me as we went.  Everything was going quite smoothly until we were nearing the last turn at the driveway for the farm.  Emily told me that I would need to turn by the concrete “line.”  “A concrete line of what?” I asked as I drove along trying to figure out how in the world I had made it along 40 years in life and had even worked for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet without knowing about this type of landmark.  She said, “You know, a concrete line.”  I looked at her and said “A line of what?  I’m not sure what we are looking for here.”  A bit louder and more adamantly, she replied “Turn at the concrete LINE.”  At this point, I knew we were getting close and I was still trying to figure out what a concrete “line” looked like.  I was getting a little frustrated.  I asked again “What is a concrete line?” and she replied in a louder voice “It is a concrete LINE…you know a LINE!”  We were both really frustrated with one other and I was giving her a mini-dissertation on the importance of getting good directions that don’t include things like “turn at the big oak tree” when we popped up over a little rise and there on the left side of the road I saw it.  All of my frustration melted away as I immediately recognized the concrete “line.”  Sitting there right beside the driveway in all of its glory was a four-foot-tall concrete lion statue.  Everyone in the car died laughing as we pulled into the driveway!  After things settled down, I asked Emily to say “lying,” “lion” and “line” so I could learn the difference in the pronunciation of these words.  All of my Appalachian friends know the answer to this already…