Indigo Insights

Saturday, November 16, 2002

In an aside to a New Jersey friend of mine a few days ago, I used the expression "cobbed". I also interjected (parenthetically) that he probably wouldn't understand that comment. He didn't; and insisted that I explain. Well (says I) since you are from the North, there is no possible way you could know the meaning of an expression totally indigenous to the South. But sometime maybe I'll blog it for you. Actually, I suppose some areas of the country may know it, but only where there are corn fields.

Feigned delicacy dictates that I carefully proceed with the history of cobbing. I grew up in a little town where as soon as one passed the city limits sign, there was no more indoor plumbing. My education to the art of cobbing came to me through visiting my grandparents' farm. There was no such thing as "a room and a bath" in the early 1900s when they built their house. There was "a room and a path". At the end of the path was the charming little house behind the house with the crescent decor. Within the walls of that outwardly adorable cubicle, appearing to be a doll house, was an unbelievably hellish interior. Dark as doom. Only a sliver of light came in through the opened door. The crescent cut-out may have been for letting in some light, but it was insufficient. I never visited my grandparents' crescent house but once. Took one look inside and ran back up the path without entering. But I had time to see the ominous bench with a hole in it and a large bucket of corn cobs nearby. Must have been about six years old at the time, but that scene from Dante is branded on my brain as vivid as if it were yesterday. I think they upgraded to the Sears-Roebuck catalog later, but cannot attest to that inasmuch as I never looked in but once. I remember dancing a lot the rest of the afternoon until I got back home.

So anyhow, my Yankee friend, if you ever hear a Southerner say how bad something cobbed him or her, you will have an inkling now of the meaning. As I said at the beginning, it's a delicate matter and my grandmother would turn over in her grave if she knew I blogged this!!!!