By Dee Jay Gordon
This column is for those of you who are new to St. Mary's County, with warmest welcome and hopes that you will become acclimated quickly. As with any other region, there are certain colloquialisms and traditions that exist no where else on Earth. If you were going to Spain, you'd take a Spanish phrase book, right? So without further ado, I bring you "The St. Mary's County Dictionary":
The 7th: This term refers to the 7th election district, which is north and slightly west of Leonardtown. Some of the towns here are Bushwood, Chaptico, Colton's Point, and Avenue. Where the Blessing of the Fleet is held. These residents are known as "769-ers" because of their telephone prefix.
De By Gawd, Cap'n: A waterman expression meaning "Yep, that's right", or "I mean what I say". Listen to the context in which it's said for which meaning to apply.
Stuffed Ham: A corned ham (not regular...it must be corned) that has been scored and the scorings stuffed with a mixture of cabbage, kale, onion, red pepper, and what ever else the individual cook sees fit. It can either be mild or so spicy it'll burn your nose hairs out. If you're at a party and you see a platter of very pale sliced ham with green stuff all over it, that's stuffed ham.
Bettyrussell's: Actually, this is Russell's Store in Valley Lee, but everybody just says "Bettyrussell's" (all one word). If someone tells you they live past Bettyrussell's, they are referring to the area just off Rt. 249, turn right at the Valley Lee post office.
The Park: As in "I'm going down to the Park". No, they're not going to slide or picnic...they're going to Lexington Park.
Downtown LP City: This is another euphemism for Lexington Park. Don't be fooled... "LP" is not a city, and "downtown" is the strip of road right outside the base main gate, otherwise known as Great Mills Road. If you want city, you must go...
Up The Road: Waldorf, or sometimes further. But mostly Waldorf. Never refer to Calvert County as "up the road". That is simply "Calvert".
Around The Corner: This could mean literally around the corner, but usually means "somewhere in St. Mary's". Could be Mechanicsville, could be Ridge. It's all around the corner, even if it's miles away.
Religion: There are two predominant ones: Catholicism and Softball.
Good Ol' Boy: As in "I'm a good ol' boy from St. Mary's County", a popular bumper sticker. You needn't be elderly nor male to carry the title "good ol' boy". This just means that you were born and raised in the county, and stand high in the community. Actually, you don't even have to have been born here. I guess it's just a state of mind.
The Rag: St. Mary's has two main newspapers: The Enterprise and the Rag, otherwise known as The St. Mary's Today, our home town version of the National Enquirer. The stories are meant for sensation, and you're not supposed to read it in public. It's meant to be purchased furtively and read in the privacy of your own home. You're no one in this county until you've been maligned in the Rag. Wear it like a badge of honor.
The Hotel St. Mary's: The corrections facility. Break the law, become a guest of the Hotel St. Mary's.
There you have it..or at least it's a start. I'm sure that our readers will come up with many more. Once again, we welcome you to share the culture and heritage that is St. Mary's County, the land of pleasant living.