Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lobolly

Written in a little journal Dad kept: "Feb 12 rained all day everything a lobolly where Paul leveled for garage. didn't do much stayed in house and talked . . .

19 comments:

Judy said...

A written witness that Steve was listening when it mattered the most. Good job, Ann.

Louise Blood said...

Another testament that one should keep a journal, even about what may seem like ordinary things. How fun that you would find this, Ann. I thnk loblolly will become a new word in our vocabulary. It seems fitting in such situations.

Steve Blood said...

Don't want to say that I told you so, but....

Is it wrong to gloat?

Dwight said...

Loblolly was clearly an advanced vocabulary term learned after the older children had been excused.

Ann said...

My spelling mimics Dad's spelling in his writing, but suspect all of you are correct in your spelling. Just for fun, the word loblolly means, among other things, a mire; mud hole, a thick gruel. I guess we can use our imagination. Journal writing - Louise, why don't you do that for me.

Judith said...

Is Dwight correct as to the time of the use of this word? Ann, do we have a date of this journal entry?

Ann said...

February 12, 1982. Do you suppose it is a word Dad picked up from reading Charles Dickens, or ???? Progress is always good.

Louise Blood said...

Charles Dickens sounds like a good possibility. Was Dad's reading of Dickens back as far as when Steve was home? Ann, I would love to write your journal for you, but I don't always know what you're up to. You would have to send me the details. Steve, look what fun we've had adding a new word to our store of knowledge; I think it would be okay to gloat.

Ann said...

Dear Louise,
Just make it up as you go, make me look good, and a couple of generations down the road perhaps the reader would think that is how I was.
I don't know when Dad started reading Dickens. Dwight?

Louise Blood said...

Is that called fiction?

Ann said...

Not fiction - just creative writing.

Judith said...

Louise, And when you get done creating Ann, you may start on me. Thank you very much in advance.

Elizabeth said...

In the '70s and '80;s, he read everything from Louis Lamour to the Durrants histories. David Copperfield and the Pickwick Papers were among his favorite Dickens. (David Copperfield was a favorite probably because Dad could identify with an orphan.) He loved to read excerpts aloud. Try to find a reference to loblolly on Google?

Elizabeth said...

Loblolly is first recorded in 1597 in reference to 'a thick gruel or stew'. As for its derivation, a writer in the Atlanta Journal Magazine conjectured that it was an onomatopoeic word: "So is the word loblolly, which describes a semi-liquid state, a good word. The word itself shakes in pronunciation like jelly, which is most nearly what it describes." But most etymological sources say that loblolly more likely derives from dialectal (Yorkshire) English lob, 'to bubble up while boiling, or to eat or drink up noisily'.

The second element, lolly, is of obscure origin, but it's probably connected to an obsolete dialectal English word meaning 'broth, stew'. These dialectal terms are recorded in Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary. Evidently the Puritans ate loblolly, and so did the pioneers of the American West, though the pioneers used it to mean 'any unappetizing meal.' In the meaning 'a thick gruel or stew', loblolly survives as a regional term, used mainly in Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states. Lobscouse, which is a 'sailors' stew of meat, potatoes, onions, and hardtack' is related etymologically to loblolly.

The now obsolete term loblolly boy is first recorded in the mid-18th century. It usually means 'a surgeon's assistant on board a ship'. Actually, he was in such a lowly position that he assisted the surgeon's assistants. A loblolly boy occasionally referred to 'a ship's errand boy'. The ship's doctor was called a loblolly doctor. The connection between 'a thick gruel or stew' and 'a surgeon's assistant' is explained in Wilfred Granville's A Dictionary of Sailors' Slang: "a loblolly boy is a Merchant Navy steward who serves the loblolly or porridge." Granville's dictionary also defines lolly-banger, 'the ship's cook; the maker of loblolly'. Evidently, loblolly was served to sick sailors, used medicinally like we use chicken soup today.

Loblolly has other meanings. In 1865, the OED records the sense 'a mudhole, mire, or any slushy mess', and the term continues to be so used in various parts of the U.S., especially in the South and South Midland. The 'mudhole, mire' sense appears in the works of Faulkner and Robert Penn Warren. The loblolly pine is so called because the tree grows in swampy (muddy) areas in the southern U.S. Similarly, the loblolly bay is an evergreen tree native to swamps and sandhills of the southeastern U.S.

Here's a linguistic joke I found in the Patrick O'Brian discussion group archives. You may need a dictionary to understand it. "So a loblolly flag would be called a burgoo burgee."

Elizabeth said...

Woops - the foregoing is copied verbatum from an internet site. I could not claim it as my own research.

Dwight said...

Mercy

Steve Blood said...

and so we come full circle, life is good...

Louise Blood said...

Fascinating information. Isn't it interesting that Dad picked up on this word to use. To my two dear sisters, Ann and Judy: you both already have shining qualities that will long be remembered. A "creative" journalist could do no better.

Judith said...

If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, I want a picture of a Loblolly. Anybody?