Day 250 – A Crick by Any Other Name

A Crick by Any Other Name

Day 250

Michigan Map Poem by Denise Rodgers

Saginaw Bay is the crook of a mitten.
Port Hope is right up near the thumb.
Manistee sits right where you’d put your pinky.
The Lansing spot taps on a drum.
Sturgis is south, at the base of the wrist
and there’s Mackinac at the tip top.
There are so many cities in Michigan’s mitten.
Recite them and you’ll never stop.

Mount Pleasant, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo,
Adrian, Midland and Frost,
Alpena, Kalkaska, Boyne City and Bath.
Keep driving until you get lost.

The mitten is grand, it is large, it is super,
but down there you’ll never get close to a yooper.
A yooper’s a person who’s from the U.P.
The part of the state where there’s much more to see.
There’s Laurium, Skandia, Limestone and Tula,
Marquette, Iron Mountain and Gay.
There’s Drummond and White Pine and Greenland
and Johnsville and Witch Lake and Keweenaw Bay.

So go for a ride, get out there exploring
no matter how long it might take.
And if you get finished with finding the cities,
then next you can look for the lakes . . .


Huhyuhdin, everyone? It’s ben priddy cold heer today – windy, sporadic snow, and drift-een, drift-een, drift-een.  The roads were priddy durn icy today, but I  still tol my husband “I munnah go gedda picher,” and headed ouh to ged a phodo of a crick.  When I goh oudda of my car to take the picher, I almost fell fladon my face from the ice on the road.  Geezopete!  There was a car com-een and I coulda bena statistic!

I goh back inta my car safensoun, and goh turned around.  I coulda used a Duhtroit left ridabouh then, buh I did a u-ey righ there addun innersection.  Prolly noh the smardesthing I have ever done, buh there you go.  I kinah think this coulda waded another day bud I just hadahave this phodo for this post. Anyhoo, I did find my way to a road that wasn’ covered in ice and I made my way back ta town.  Before go-een home, I needed ta go ta Kroger’s fer some lunch meah for sammiches this week.  I had ta lock my camera into my glovebox so no one would be tempted by ih in my seah then headed inta the groshury store.  I can’ believe how slow people are inna store witheir buggies.  I finally paid fermy stuff, paper towel-een and pop included and tolda cashier, “Have a good’un,eh?”  Manoman!  The winwas cold outside an I’m glad I wasn’ onna bumpjumper head-een down a skihill!  The kids wooda liked that though!

I slid throughan innersection on my way home, buh goh here allright and saprise!  The cat pooped on me wenni pickter up!  Well, cripes!  Buh, the poor liddle thing isn’ feel-een the bestyet.  When I look atter I am pree’neer tears because she is still gedd-een over her allergy tathe fleas – buh a bih of greah news?  The chickenzer gone!  The ciddy madum geh riddof em. Now my kiddy gehs ta heal.

Now if you are wondering what in the heck I was just saying, let me translate that from “Michigan” for you into general English:

How are you doing, everyone?  It has been pretty cold here today – windy, sporadic snow and drifting, drifting, drifting.  The roads were pretty darn icy today, but I still told my husband, “I’m going to get a picture” and headed out to get a photo of a stream.  When I got out of my car to take the picture, I almost fell flat on my face from the ice on the road.  Oh my goodness! There was a car coming and I could have been a statistic!

I got back into my car safe and sound, and got turned around.  I could have used one of those turn-abouts that they use in Detroit, but I just did a U-turn at an intersection.  This was probably not the smartest thing I have ever done, but there you go.  I kind of think that this could have waited another day, but I just had to have this photo for this post.  Anyway, I did find my way to a road that wasn’t covered in ice and I made my way back to town.  Before going home, I needed to go to Kroger for some lunch meat for sandwiches for this week.  I had to lock my camera into my glove compartment so that no one would be tempted by it in my seat then I headed into the supermarket.  I can’t believe how slow people are in the store with their shopping carts!  I finally paid for my stuff, paper towels and sodas included and told the cashier, “Have a great day!”  My goodness!  The wind was cold outside and I am glad that I wasn’t on a single seat sled heading down a ski hill!  The kids would have liked that though!

I slid through an intersection on my way home, but got here all right and surprise!  The cat pooped on me when I picked her up!  Well, darn!  But, the poor little thing isn’t feeling the best yet.  When I look at her I am pretty near tears because she is still getting over her allergy to the fleas – but a bit of great news?  The chickens are GONE!  The city made them get rid of them.  Now my kitty gets to heal.

After reading Too Busy to Blog by the fabulous Year Struck, I started looking at some of the regional, or should I say, state wide dialect in Michigan.  I started a list of phrases and pronunciations my family, friends and acquaintances are fond of (blindly) using and picked my mother’s brain as well as perusing Michigan Native’s web page.  I had to laugh at a lot of it, because regardless of whether I like it or not, I speak “Michigan” with a nasal Michigan intonation.  While I don’t say ‘prolly’, I am guilty of running my words together in a slurry of syllables and I have been known to abuse the old Glottal Stop and Flap T egregiously.  And before I am arrested by the grammar police,  I am going to ask you to list some of your own regional phrases and words and how you pronounce things.

G’nigh’ fernow, you guys.  I’m gonna go drink a pop.

24 thoughts on “Day 250 – A Crick by Any Other Name

  1. Loved it! Just get that post-Scandi-Germian lilt going enough and you can read it easy as day, no need for google- or cf-translating. Wonderful stuff! I was just complaining over at Y-S’s place when she wrote ‘Too Busy’ that few here in north TX seem to speak Texan anymore, having gone all cosmopolitan and gentrified I guess. Washingtonian would be hard to characterize, so I’ll have to work on whether I know any cool lingo from anywhere very well! Thanks for sharing yours, though! And I love the poem–what an ingenious way to teach kids some geography and state history, if one wanted: now I’m wondering if any/many other states have been so well captured in cheery verse.

    And that’s such a beautiful photo of the crick (we had those, too) that it made me want to walk right out there, cold extremities and all, and have a gander at it too.

    • I don’t think that there is an ounce of cool lingo in Michigan! Just a nasal intonation of every word that slurried into another. My boss is so “with it” that ‘rocket surgery’ is an everyday at our ‘gig’ at the library though….
      That crick photo (and I actually do call them cricks) was a pain in the behind to get because the road truly was a sheet of ice and I was sliding all over! And cold? I am just happy for my lovely heated seats and a thermostat in the car that goes to 90!

    • I edited this piece so many times, because every time I read through it, out loud and up all by myself, I would find another word that I have heard abused horribly by any number of people in Michigan!

  2. Bein’s how I’m from the Pacific Northwest, I prolly can’t think a much that’s colorful bout our language! But Portlanders and Seattleites got some crazy-S tattoos and purple hair n stuff!
    I absolutely adored (laughing out loud again and again) your post! And I stumbled through the whole of it without need of translation, which (I couldn’t help it) made me proud as punch. 🙂

    • My sister-in-law, affectionately known as “the hag”, is from the Pacific WEST and the one word that I can remember her saying that I found positively strange was “Chōnē” (long o and long e). She was talking about her underwear! Hmmm…..

  3. Beautiful photo in black and white!

    Hahaha, I was laughing so much when I was reading, I was confused and wondering why were you writing like that, but at the end I saw that you were writing in “Michigan” hahaha!
    I can0t believe I understood almost all of it.
    Nice post 😀 Very very funny 🙂

    • You know, you were on my mind as I was writing this piece – I was wondering how you would translate with the strangeness of the dialect! When you are reading it, imagine the first part spoken as fast as possible and with a pronounced nasal twang, and you have “Michigan!”

  4. Beautiful photo. I saw similarly lovely sights Sunday after church, but I was with the family, who were nice enough to wait in the car while I took a few photos of a local playground/beach/park/water park and there was no safe place to stop the car for a photo of the stream.

    Love the blog written in Michigan dialect, of course having lived here all my life, I had no trouble reading it – although it’s a little up-North (I was raised around adults from Kentucky so like most things I do, my own personal dialect is a little jumbled and mediocre) 🙂

  5. Love it love it love it. The black and white just sparkles, wish I could get that effect. Need to keep practicing. We haven’t had any snow here, so no really classic winter photos. Kinda disappointing in a way. But we still have all of February.

    • I started processing in RAW, Dawn, and really bumped the contrast before opening in Photoshop. Then a simple black and white layer, with a levels adjustment and it was done. Too bad it can’t come out of the camera already done….
      Our snow is gone again and we have fog tonight. Such a strange winter.

  6. Thank you for translating. 🙂 I have worked with a Yooper and have heard a few of those, but, oh my, I would need some time to catch all of those words. The poem seems especially funny to me because of the Mitten War with Wisconsin. Great choice.

    The photo is stunning. You have such a good eye.

    • When I read the poem in prep to post it, it gave me a laugh as I thought of the Mitten War as well.
      If you want to speak like a real native, just run your words together and, for goodness sake, DON’T enunciate!

  7. I did it! I did it! I read it through. Not bad for an Indian, eh? 😉
    The photograph is absolutely stunning! The water is so dark and oily. Mesmerizing!
    In Indian dialect:
    Montgomery – Mont-go-merry
    Indianapolis – India-na-police
    McDonald’s – Mic-Doh-nahld
    Measure – Major (I am guilty of this one :))
    Forty – Fotty
    Bob Evans – Bob-Ee-vans
    to name a few.

    • When I read India-na-police, I remembered that when I lived there I was introduced to a new vegetable: the MANGO!!! I grew up thinking it was a fruit, but according to them, the green bell pepper is a mango! And they turn the lights UP instead of ON!

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