Sunday & Southern Monthly ~ Issue 7

Posted By Tiffany on May 30, 2015


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Welcome Back to Sunday & Southern Monthly!

 

If you missed the previous installments, you’ll be interested in reading Issue 1 where I give a full definition of colloquial and a favorite example of one.  In Issue 2 you’ll find out what my youngest daughter does every morning.  In Issue 3 you’ll find out what trait I’ve been fighting.  In Issue 4 you’ll read about a quirky measurement.  Issue 5 was inspired by my oldest.  Issue 6 is an attempt to instill patience.

 

Here in Sunday & Southern Monthly in an attempt to bring a little southern style, charm, grace, and humor to you once a month, I publish a colloquialism favored in the South ~ a southernism.

 

We recently had to travel to Florida for a family event.  Sadly, no Mickey involved.  On the way home, we traveled 12 hours straight, 5 people to a mid-size sedan, two preschoolers.  We were so happy to be off the road that we broke out into song: “Home again, home again, jiggity jig.”  My grandmother used to say this.  She also used to say ~ 

 

Nobody Home But Us Chickens

 

NOBODY HOME BUT US CHICKENS

 

I never knew why my grandmother said this phrase.  She invariably did every time she arrived home.  It’s stuck with me every since.  In researching the origin of the phrase, I didn’t find a true definition, but I did discover some very interesting facts as well as some insight into my grandmother’s apparent taste in music.

 

Origin & Use

 

Please note, my providing information as to the early origin of this song does not imply approval or excusing of such humor. I urge you to continue reading and enjoy some entertaining music in the process!

 

  • The first recorded appearance of the phrase is found in a 1908 edition of Everybody’s Magazine.  It was considered a racial joke about a chicken thief, rendered as, “Deed, sah, dey ain’t nobody hyah ‘ceptin‘ us chickens.”

 

  • In 1909, an issue of the Daily Northwestern explained the phrase as originating as a racist joke. The explanation is given: a farmer heard a noise, called “who’s there?” to which came the reply, “nobody here but us chickens, massa.”

 

  • In 1931, an episode of Our Gang carries the same phrase.  Two characters attempt to hide from a social worker in the chicken coop. When the social worker asks, “Who’s in there?” the reply is “Just us chickens!”

 

  • In 1939, the phrase appears in the Gulliver’s Travels as “Nobody here but just us…chickens!”

 

 

Lyrics & Song

 

A portion of the lyrics from the 1946 song can be found below, for the full lyrics click here.  I urge you to listen to the song via the YouTube link provided after the lyrics, very catchy! 🙂

 

One-night farmer Brown, 

Was takin’ the air,

Locked up the barnyard

With the greatest of care.

Down in the henhouse Somethin’ stirred.

When he shouted “Who’s there?”

This is what he heard:

There ain’t nobody here but us chickens…

…There ain’t nobody here but us chickens

There ain’t nobody here at all

So quiet yourself, And stop your fuss

There ain’t nobody here but us

Kindly point that gun, The other way

And hobble, hobble hobble off and Hit the hay

Shouted: “Hey boss man What do ya say? ”

It’s easy pickins,

Ain’t nobody here but us chickens

 

 

 Future Renditions

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you had as much fun as I did, listening to the various versions of this song, and I hope you enjoyed your learning experience.

 

Tune in next month {in a month of Sundays 😉 }   for the next installment of Sunday & Southern Monthly.  You’ll read all about another silly southern saying.

 

Thanks for reading!  Hurry on back now, ya hear?

 

Sunday & Southern Monthly

 

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P.S.  Do you have any favorite sayings?

 

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