By Guest Blogger Misty Nichols, author of Back Porch Bliss

Words cannot express how much I love and miss my grandmothers. They were raised in opposite worlds and their lives could not have been more different, but they both loved their families beyond what we felt we deserved.

Each of my grandmothers was graceful and strong in ways that were uniquely her own. They were also both southern, which is pretty much the same thing.

It was not proper for southern grandmas to curse, so they had to be creative, bless their hearts. Although I did hear my most angelic grandmother curse once, and I kid you not, it was one of the most scandalous and thrilling moments of my childhood! (OMG, Grandma just said *BEEP*!)

Here are my favorite ways my grandmothers expressed themselves in their own oh-my-goodness moments:

My Land. If we were to say this today, it would look like this: My. Land. But that’s not how my grandma said it. It all ran together like Myyyyyyyland, only to be exaggerated by a preceding gasp, wide eyes and shaking of the head. Means: “I cannot believe it” or “this is terrible!”

Lord Have Mercy. This is my personal favorite and I use it daily. You are asking the Lord to have mercy because your children/husband/coworkers are so high maintenance and melodramatic.

Oh Law! If you use this one in present time, please include an eye roll to make it even more pronounced. It means “how ridiculous!”

Well I Never. Again, a response to something that has astounded you that you never would have imagined. Like five can casserole made with only three ingredients. Or instant grits. Or a store bought pie at a church potluck.

I Swanee…. The dreaded pause comes after this one, it’s an ominous warning that also means “you are in big trouble” or “wait until your mother gets home.” This was never actually said to me, but my brother was another story.

I’m Having a Time… You can fill in the blank with this one— it is quite versatile: I’m having a time with my glasses. I’m having a time with my church committee. I’m having a time with my pineapple upside down cake.  Means: “I’m having trouble with this” or “I can’t get this to work.” You could also say, “ [Insert name/subject] is giving me a fit!”

Heavens to Betsy! I have no clue who Betsy is or was but my grandmother said this all the time. I guess it was a lot nicer than WTH, which is exactly what it means. It is usually said in exasperation and with emphasis.

Your Own Name My dad’s mother was a from Georgia– a true southern belle, with a (dignified) side of sass. If you heard your full and middle name said together with a gasp and a drawl, watch out sister. You have either forgotten to wash your hands or have just adjusted the thermostat without permission. You also may have just said “I have to pee,” when you should have said, “I have to use the little girl’s room.” Hypothetically, of course.

May we all grow into the grit and grace exemplified in our grandmothers.

Bless their sweet hearts (BTSH).

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