Sunday, October 25, 2009


Looking back upon our decision to move to the Eastern Shore led me to re-read "Patricia Cornwell's Unnatural Exposure". Whatever was I thinking way back then in 1997?

The author got the essence of the location down to a tea. That location was Tangier Island, Virginia. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised. What they speak there is a 'fossilized or remnant of 17th century English'.

Let me tell you this is nigh on to impossible to understand.Bob had clients from this remote place and I went with him on a very few occasions. I am the worst at deciphering dialects or accents. I don't know why but I have always had difficulty understanding so I do alot of smiling and nodding.

Now, back when I thought this was quaint or cute. This is where I wanted to live. The other plus was that Ms. Cromwell spoke about cat food factories dotting the shoreline on the mainland. I had cats, perhaps too many cats and I needed some financial the factories must have an outlet of sorts. These by the way, were fiction. It sounded good and plausible fish, fishing, canning why not?

Now I come to the real crux of my story....many of the folks from Tangier migrated to the big cities of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland. And they brought their language with them. It seems natural that they moved to places like the Eastern Shore where they had easy access to Tangier by ferry. This ferry runs all summer bringing tourists to and from the island and by request in winter or more likely very seldom.

The inhabitants of Tangier must purchase everything on the mainland. That usually involves a trip to Chrisfield or better yet Salisbury. Same goes for doctors, hospitals you name it...they must travel by plane or ferry. I'm sorry, but this would get very old, very fast.

Now I've given you the background of the strange speech patterns of this area. Bob usually interprets for me ,whispering the question asked of me in my ear. I am catching on but I'll admit our heating and cooling man cannot be understood by me. So although he understands me he chooses not to talk to women, so that pleases both of us.

My daughter is ocassionaly asked to do some clerical or computer work for a friend, which she gladly does. However, this time it comprises fourteen hours of tapes to be transcribed. She has done this many times before....but not by a fossilized 17 century English speaking man.

This is a real conundrum....I've rarely seen her weep but this is so foreign to her she is stumped. I guess all that she can do is make this a family affair....where Bob interprets for her as she types this up. Another day on the farm.

Keep safe,my friends, its rough out there. RD

1 comment:

CrazyCatLady said...

once again you have nailed the essence perfectly.....I look at that recorder with horror, and guilt knowing I should be transcribing, but so terribly frustrated by the language spoken on it!!!
And the rest...well I guess I'll have to quit being so lazy and pick up her book and read it for myself....I am sure Patrica Cromwell adds a charm to the area that is bereft of all country charm and warmth.