Friday, July 17, 2020

Two Different Americans in Conversation:

A Hillbilly Uncle in the Ozarks: "I had a barn to burn."

A Harvard Graduate Visiting the Ozarks: "I never heard of having a barn to burn."


At 7:07 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

I tried Googling the exact expression "I had a barn to burn" and got only a handful of search results, one of which was this blog post. I still have no clue what the expression means. Is it anything like, "I had a bone to pick with [so-and-so]"? Or is it more along the lines of, "I got sumpin' urgent to do"? Or is it just an idiomatic way of saying a fella desperately needs to take a dump (you know: the barn is burning, so you gotta let them big, brown horses outta the barn)?

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

It was an ordinary hillbilly way of saying "A barn that I owned burned down."

The Harvard grad pretended to understand it as meaning that my uncle had possessed a barn for the sole purpose of burning it down.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:48 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Just looked at your search results. Interesting. I, too, wonder what the expression meant in those other-than-GS instances.

Jeffery Hodges

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