Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I picture Granny Clampett in black and white, scowling and yelling, glasses perched on her nose. And then, a split second later, there's Jethro behind her. He's digging into the pot with a ladle and slurping up the possum dish she's been slaving over for hours. She's looking the other way, gives a start when she sees him. I'm sure she's pleased he likes the vittles she's been slaving over but she still gives him a whack. If they have company, the Clampetts are seated at their pool table, passing dishes with their sticks, remarking on how useful they are for passing pots (they only cook in pots that can be passed with pool sticks).

The other place they have vittles is on the Dukes of Hazzard. I wouldn't mind taking the General Lee for a spin over the Clampetts rig (though I would like to have someone chauffeur me about while I sat in the rocker) but if I had to choose between Uncle Jesse and Granny's cooking or the hooches each offered up, I'd go with Granny's on both counts. Besides, The Beverly Hillbillies is the only show I can think of until the Simpsons came along that had a Homer. I watched a lot of episodes, black and white to color and back again.

I'm a word guy. I like to know where a word comes from. Vittles surprised me. I looked it up in our dictionary and was referred to victuals. Victuals? Sounds like a ceremony. Turns out victuals and vittles are both from the same word, vitaille, which in turn eventually came from vivere to live. Of course. Which is why air is also...oh, it's not? Well, I was surprised that vittles was coined about a century before victuals. Victualia, victualis, victus. If I had just taken Latin I know my Scrabble rating would be better than 1291. I'll keep at it - who knew vicuna was a llamalike ruminant animal? Pluralize that and bingo, look out, buddy!

"Well now its time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin.
And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly droppin' in. You're all invited back again to this locality to have a heapin' helpin' of their hospitality. Hillybilly that is. Set a spell, Take your shoes off.

Y'all come back now, y'hear?." And let me know when you're serving up some vittles.