Pitter patter


Over the weekend, we were “back home” and driving some of the very familiar gravel roads from Goderich to Benmiller to Holmesville and then to Clinton, to the cemetery and then, of course, Bartliff’s Bakery. If you know the significance of those gravel roads, you’ll know why they were special to us.

I took a lot of great pictures (or at least great from my perspective of sunsets, chain saw carvings, and even a couple of selfies with my wife) and they’re all on Facebook. Here’s a sample of a sunset in Goderich …

I even did some research about taking pictures of sunsets and the advice was not to just isolate the sun but to include other things for perspective so I included a tree, the breakwall, and someone on a paddle board.

None of this above has anything to do with this post but it sets the stage. At least in my mind.

Part 1

Anyway, I had this uncontrolled urge at one point in our trip to say “Pitter Patter, let’s get atter”. As the words escaped my mouth, I realized that I hadn’t said that in years. I had heard it once from the announcer at Clinton Raceway earlier this summer. Before that, I can’t recall saying it although my daughter says that she now says it because she heard it from me in her youth. She’s never heard it from her colleagues.

So, I’m wondering – is this a Huron County colloquialism or have you used it or heard it in other places? Please let me know in the comments below.

Part 2

When I was so fortunate to have landed a job in Essex County, I did some research and the claim was that it also had the biggest French-speaking communities west of Quebec. I did some work and thought I was ready to go. In the community that I taught, there certainly was a large French influence but, except for French classes and maybe at home, everyone spoke English.

In fact, I, with my French practicing, turned out to be puzzled by some of the words in use and asked a French Canadian friend about it. She called it bastardized French and I should just get used to it. A lot of it that I still smile about are local street names.

  • Pierre – is pronounced Peer-ie
  • Ouellette – is pronounced Wha-let
  • Bois Blanc – over the years evolved to Boblo
  • Peche Island – is pronounced Peach Island
  • Dubois – is pronounced Dew-boys

I would hesitate to say they’re wrong (but I’m sure that Mr. Brazeau would) – they’re just local.

There’s another one that always makes me feel like a fish out of water. Growing up, those foam tubes that you use at the beach or pools were always called “woggles”. Here, everyone refers to them as “noodles”. They’re probably correct since they more resemble a spaghetti noodle than a woggle which we used to secure our scarves as Cubs and Scouts.

Is there a phrase that you’ve used or heard that is unique to your community that you’d care to share?

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OTR Links 09/13/2022


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