As many of you know, I celebrated another birthday yesterday: 44. Or as I mentioned in my facebook selfie, "farty-far" as they'd say in St Louis.
Like a lot of places, St Louis has evolved its own dialect over the years. Though it's a Midwestern city that prides itself as the "Gateway to the West", it retains a lot of eastern ties. Perhaps with its Irish influence, it thinks of itself as a smaller Boston. Or the Italian neighborhoods on the hill are reminiscent of a slice of the Bronx. St Louis seems to embellish these traits.
But what about the city's southern influences? While eastern influences have been flaunted, southern tendencies have seemingly been suppressed in almost all areas except its lexicon.
While I could go into an in depth study on the subject, this is not the appropriate place nor time to embark on such a grand scheme. Trust me, it would be fun to try to trace the etymology of how the word "Hoosier" (and its variants 'hoos', and the well-to-do, 'hoos-wah-zie') went from being a term of honor and distinction in the state of Indiana, to becoming one of the most derogatory terms a person could be called in St. Louis.
But I'm getting off subject. The point I'm making is that St Louis is a great melting pot of people, and try as they might to suppress it, the southern contingent is there for the long haul.
I'm somewhat of a subject matter expert because I grew up in the St Louis suburb of Kirkwood. We lived near Interstate 44. I never noticed that a lot of St Louis folks spoke with a southern draw until somebody told me to listen how the number "forty four" was actually pronounced in common, every day speech. The very next morning, I heard the radio traffic reporter clearly state, "Expect a 20 minute delay along eastbound highway farty-far."
Yep, that's the one. And try not to confuse it with farty (hwy 40). Farty runs parallel to farty-far, see?
That's all I've got today. Besides, it's time for some more birthday cake.