Just learning to talk Texan
Published: Sunday, July 4th, 2004
As many of my readers know, I try to be helpful whenever I can make myself available to those that need assistance, and I must be good at helping because so many times shortly after I begin to help, those people whom I help say that everything is fine and they don’t need my help. Let me give you an example how that happened just recently. I was trying to find someone to help, and I offered all through Tucumcari and even up to San Jon and surprisingly right after I offered they would say, “No thanks TV, maybe somebody down the road...” Eventually, I ended up at the Glenrio Welcome Center which welcomes people to New Mexico and the lady in charge said she was hesitant to do it, but since two of her people were ill and she had to go into San Jon for a couple of minutes, if I promised not to “do” anything I could help. It all began pretty well, then a huge shadow seemed to envelop the office. I looked out the window and saw that a recreational vehicle somewhere near the size of the Starship Enterprise had pulled up next to the office. A large balding man stepped out and strode confidently into the Welcome Center office. I introduced myself, asked if I could help, and he nodded a warm friendly nod. “Y’all know where I kin fix ma flat tar?” asked the man in a twangy sort of voice. I was at the same time a little frightened and amazed. To begin with, who were these “all” he was talking about? I mean, I was the only one in the office. Did he see someone else that I didn’t? Was it his problem for seeing these people or mine for not seeing them? The thing that amazed me was the “tar” part. Who knew that tar could go flat? More to the point, who knew tar could be anything but flat? Despite my discomfort about the “all” part (I kept looking over my shoulder to see if anyone had come into the room), I pushed on hoping to help. Speaking slower and louder (I always find this helps when speaking to someone who doesn’t speak English), I said “huh?” (Many people are impressed with my incisive comments in times of stress). The large man glared at me, and his voice got louder and slower also, “Ma tar,” he shouted. I noticed a little purple vein came out on his forehead as he gestured at the RV. “The tar on ma cur’s flat.” As I stood there looking blank, he got even louder and the vein got bigger and bigger. I am not sure what he would have done, but fortunately just then, another fellow from what looked like the mother ship of original fellow’s vehicle came in gestured toward San Jon and talked to the man with the bulging vein saying something about “tar repair”. He then moved toward me smiling. I just knew this was going to be better than the first interchange. “Y’all know where I kin find some airheads?” he asked. I started looking over my shoulder again for “all” those people that these people kept seeing. But I was determined to help him. After all, he may have saved my life. So I said my always witty response. “Huh?” I then pointed out that we did indeed have some dippy people in town, but I hesitated to call them “airheads.” He looked at me as if my IQ was somewhere in the region of a kumquat’s. I also noticed that the same vein on his forehead that the other fellow had seemed to be growing. I wondered if everyone in Texas has that same condition. “Airheads, airheads,” he yelled, “the kind Indians put on sticks and shoot at people with bows!” He then went storming out muttering things I did not understand, but I was certain were not affectionate. I got a call from the lady in charge of the Glenrio Welcome Center the other day. She said she really didn’t need my help in the future. She then said something about threats of ramming the welcome center with recreational vehicles. I’m sure she must have misunderstood what the people said. After all it’s awfully easy with that accent.
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