Depending on Where You Live…


The other morning, I awoke and I noted my wife was not on the other side of the bed.

I shuffled out to the living room and found her asleep.

She was laying on that long piece of furniture with a high back, arms and cushions.

What was she sleeping on?

According to the Harvard Dialect Survey, it depends on where you live.

Here in the Midwest and much of the country, my bride was snoozing on the “couch”.

In the northeast , most would call it the “sofa”.

There’s a part of upstate New York where she would have been resting on the “davenport”.

While we’re in the living room, when you’re sitting in a chair, what do you rest your feet on?

Most of us call in a “footstool”.

But it might be an “ottoman” which often matches the chair fabric with a padded cushion and sometimes is a low stool that serves as a seat.

Sounds like a “hassock”, you say?

That’s an upholstered footstool which is smaller than an ottoman and is typically round.

Don’t confuse that with a “pouf” which is sort of an over-stuffed pillow.

What do you wear on your feet?

Most of us would say “tennis shoes” but in the East, you’d be lacing up “sneakers”.

When we were kids and our family owned a watercraft, Mom would takes us shopping for “boat shoes” which were tennis shoes/sneakers with smooth, flat soles and usually white.

What do you like to drink?

In the Midwest, it’s “pop” while much of the country refers to it as a “soda” and, in the South you sip a “coke”, thanks to Atlanta being the birthplace of Coca Cola.

Pepsi, anyone?

When you’re shopping for a six-pack of that refreshment, it the Midwest or the South, the clerk usually puts it in a sack while it’s a “bag” in the rest of the nation.

Don’t even ask me if I want plastic or paper.

To transport those sacks or bags to our vehicle, most of us use a “shopping cart”, referred to as a “buggy” in parts of the South or maybe a “carriage” in the Northeast.

Did you also buy a loaf of bread?

The very first and last piece is the “heel” but 17% of us call it the “end” while 15% say it’s the “crust”.

In parts of Louisiana, it’s the “nose”.

Grab a sandwich with cold cuts, cheese and veggies.

Most of us would say that’s a “sub” but in the Keystone state of Pennsylvania, that’s a “hoagie” while in the Big Apple, it’s probably a “hero” while New Englanders are ordering a “grinder”.

BTW, in Mansfield, Ohio, our “subs” were hot sandwiches with bologna and salami, mozzarella and provolone cheese, red pizza sauce, some parsley and other seasoning, wrapped in foil and baked in an oven. Those were Leaning Tower of Pizza subs and if you buy, I’ll drive us there…right now!

When you dine at IHOP, what do your oder?

Many would say “pancakes” but they’re also known as “flapjacks, clapjacks, flapovers, flatcakes, flipjacks, flippers, flopjacks, flopovers or slapjacks”.

While we’re still on the subject of food, what do you call “spaghetti topping”?

Many would say “tomato sauce” or “pasta sauce” but in many big cities in the East and Midwest, it’s “gravy”.

For me, if it doesn’t have meat juices and droppings, it ain’t gravy!

By the way, in the South, they have “crawfish” while in the East and upper Midwest, they’re “crayfish” while many of us refer to them as “crawdads”.

Did someone suggest watching a little television?

How do you change the channel?

Most of us would use the “remote” but to our east, it would be the “clicker” or the “zapper”.

Back in the day, you had to get out of your chair and go to the TV to change channels.

We were such Neanderthals!

The Harvard Dialect Survey also indicated Midwest and Southern youngsters like to catch “lightning bugs” on a summer’s eve but in the Northeast and the West coast, those youngsters snag “fireflies”.

As a kid, I would catch them, put some leaves and grass in a jar and punch holes in the lid with Dads’ screwdriver and somehow, they would find their way into the back of the cupboard under the kitchen sink where my Mom would find them months later.

Sometimes you’ll encounter a spindly-leg spider while out-of-doors. In these parts, we call them “Daddy Long Legs” while in the Deep South, they’re “Grandaddy’s” while in Texas and Arkansas, they’re called “Daddy Greybeards”.

Now, many times, instead of just throwing “stuff” away, we have “garage” or “yard” sales but in New York City, they call these events “stoop sales” or “tag sales” in New England.

As you sit there, reading this, what about a piece of candy on a stick?

Most might call that a “lollipop” while Midwesterner Southerners would say it’s a “sucker”.

Truth be known, most “lollipops” are disc-shaped while “suckers” are spherical.

And, are they “mashed potatoes”, “whipped potatoes” or “smashed potatoes”?

Call ’em what you want but just pass the gravy.

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