Headin' for the Rhubarb!
A New Hampshire Dictionary (well, kinda)
by Rebecca Rule
Softcover, Regional Humor
ABOUT THE BOOK
Hilarious New Hampshire storyteller Rebecca Rule performs in every nook and cranny of the state, so you can bet she knows how to speak and understand the local language. In Headin' for the Rhubarb, she shares that knowledge to help visitors, transplants, and natives alike make sense of the state's unique vernacular and pronunciations. And she has a good time doing it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Rule has lived in New Hampshire all her life (so far). She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and taught writing classes there for a number of years. She is the author of Live Free and Eat Pie! A Storyteller's Guide to New Hampshire, and three short story collections about New Hampshire, including The Best Revenge, named Outstanding Work of Fiction by the New Hampshire Writer's Project. She regularly writes a blog, which can be found at www.livefreeandeatpie.com. She is best known for her live storytelling events, many sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council. She lives in Northwood with her husband, John Rule who she calls John Rule and their wire fox terrier, Bob.
“Jake claimed he spotted Bigfoot up on Tucker Mountain.We
dint believe him at first, but sure enough, we spotted some
strange tracks in that same airear when we were out bird huntin'.
Kinda gave me the willies."
Note: Not to be confused with ah-REE-ahs. If your payments
are late, your mortgage might fall into ah-REE-ahs. ”
“godfrey mighty," Maybeth said. "Company's coming and
there's a goat in the parlor refusing to leave.”
Q AND A
We asked Becky for advice, her favorite stories and characters, and more
Q: Do you have a favorite New Hampshire story?
A: I get new favorites all the time. I hear them, they take hold of me, I tell them, and they become part of my repertoire. Here's one: After the Old Man of the Mountain fell, someone in New Boston suggested that a glacial erratic called Frog Rock become the new state symbol. That way, the new state model could be "Live Free or Croak." That story cracks me up every time I tell it.
Q: Is there one New Hampshire story you hear over and over again all over the state?
A: There are several, but one that comes up a lot is the farmer from Maine (or Vermont) who, upon being told that a new survey of state lines reveals that his home is not in Maine (or Vermont) but New Hampshire, says, "Thank God! Don't think I could have stood another Maine (or Vermont) wintah!"
Q: On a scale of one to ten, ten being the hardest, how difficult do you think it is for most flatlanders to understand New Hampshirites' way of speaking?
A: Depends on how flat the land is they come from and how far away. Massachusetts people have no trouble at all. Califonia people have a pretty hard time maybe a 7. I have to 'splain a lot.
Q: Why should flatlanders even attempt to understand New Hampshirites' way of speaking in the first place?
A: They shunt.
Q: What is your favorite piece of New Hampshire vernacular and why?
A: My new favorite I just learned it last week is a term for a particularly unpleasant person, "puke of misery." The fellow who told me the term attributed it to a man who, if he were still living, would be over one hundred years old, so it's got some vintage to it. If a person is a "puke of misery," why, you're right to get irritated with him or her.
Q: Do you think the New Hampshire accent and vernacular will ever be a thing of the past? Why or why not?
A: Not if I can help it. We need to treasure our regionalism and resist homogenization. Yankees unite.
Q: Who are your favorite New Hampshire fictional characters?
A: Oh my goodness. I love Ernie Hebert's Howard Elman and by love I mean that Ernie's novel The Dogs of March helps me understand his complexities. I love the characters I encounter in the poetry of Robert Frost, Maxine Kumin, Wes McNair, and Donald Hall, and in the short stories of Thomas Williams.
Q: What's your favorite New Hampshire book?
A: I wrote a book review column for seventeen years specializing in New Hampshire books, so that's kind of a hard question. Different book for different reasons at different times of my life. Reading Edie Clark's book about losing her husband to cancer, The Place He Made, at age 50, having just lost my father to cancer was a completely different experience from reading it when it first came out twenty years ago. Sometimes you read a book at just the right time under the right circumstances and it shifts your world view.
Q: What book(s) is(are) in your To-be-read pile?
A: Dirty Linen by Nicholas Kilmer. I went to a reading of his and was intrigued. He writes mysteries set in the art world. Far North Tales: Stories from the Peoples of the Arctic Circle by Bonnie C. Marshall (who lives in New Hampshire). Old Maine Woman by Glenna Smith I'm about half-way through and I love it. And a couple of Agatha Christies to read in the tub just for fun.
Q: How is Bob the dog?
A: Bob the wire fox terrier is a little put out that we've adopted Iwi, a young Sato (street dog, rescued) from Puerto Rico. But he's also showing at age twelve more pep than he's showed in a long time. He's going on long walks again and getting testy about protecting his food. All good.