Okay, I admit I’m not really writing about orangutans. I was stumped for my “O” topic and was going to go with things orange, but could only come up with oranges, pumpkins and Cheesies. But I did like the alliteration of the title.
My subconscious must have been at work because I quickly realized that ‘ornery’ was my word.
My grandmother was born in 1899, in the hills of West Virginia. Her father was a country doctor who made his rounds on horseback. She was a wonderful woman who lived just months shy of her 100th birthday.
She’s the only person I knew who used the word ORNERY, and she used it as a term of affection. If we were fooling around or acting up, she’s look at us with that twinkle in her eye and that loving smile. “You’re just being ornery,” she’d say.
I once teased an elderly patient, by saying the same thing, and she was insulted. I looked it up to clarify.
1. (Appalachia) cantankerous, stubborn, disagreeable
2. (humorous, southern US) mischievous, prankish, teasing, disagreeable, but in a good way
My grandmother was obviously Southern in her use of the word, but being as West Virginia is in Appalachia, she would have needed to be careful who she was talking to when she said it.
I like to think of it being a Southern thing, and will refrain from its use, as these Northern folk just don’t get it. I’m just being ornery, aren’t I Grandma?