Carl Mays: Being able to communicate well is a wonderful thing

Aug. 08, 2013 @ 11:27 PM

Jean and I have our routines at home. While she likes to surf television with her morning coffee, I enjoy checking out my e-mails and Internet home page news links.

Jean watches various news shows, surfing away when commercials intervene or when certain liberal politicians and talking heads appear. She also surfs to see what some biblically-sound ministers have to say. Channels such as History, National Geographic and Discovery likewise draw her attention in the mornings.

We keep our double-pot coffeemaker in my downstairs office, so when she comes in for a refill or takes a TV break, we frequently exchange comments about our early-morning findings. Often, the comments deal with more unbelievable actions taken or words uttered by some of the nation’s liberal politicians.

We also frequently share some humorous story. After all, the Bible says: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22).

The other morning Jean came in and told me about some woman being interviewed and how she told the host she had been married 41 years. The host congratulated her and said marriage longevity was becoming rare during this day and time. Then the host asked the woman the secret for her lengthy marriage. She replied that she never allowed it to become boring.

When asked how this was accomplished, she replied, “Well, for one thing, I’m on my third husband.”

Jean’s report reminded me of an Internet story I saw that deals with communication and the power of scripture. Maybe you saw it.

An elderly widow returned home from an evening church service and was startled in the dark to find an intruder robbing her house. She quickly yelled, “Stop! Acts, 2:38!” (which reads, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven.”) The burglar stopped in his tracks.

The woman calmly called the police. When an officer arrived and cuffed the burglar to take him in, he asked him, “Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was quote a Bible verse to you.” The intruder replied, “Bible verse? She said she had an ax and two 38′s!”

E-mails – well, that’s another story. I continue working on spam settings, filters, etc. in order to eliminate some of the hundreds I don’t want to see in my mailbox. But, of course, this is one of our primary means of communicating today, and I do get some important, necessary and appreciated messages.

Among the appreciated are messages I receive from column readers – such as the message I received this week from a fellow southerner.

So, I am passing along to you just a few of the tidbits he shared with me. He told me that most (if not all) southerners would understand the terminology, and visitors to the South could communicate better down here if they could grasp the concepts. I agree.

(1) A “possum” is a flat animal that sleeps in the middle of the road.

(2) “Fixinto” is one word and means “I’m going to do that.”

(3) The word “jeet” is actually a question meaning, “Did you eat?”

(4) Everyone you meet is a “Honey” or “Sugar” or someone like “Miss Jean” or “Mr. Carl.”

(5) You know what a “hissyfit” is, and you know how to pitch one.

(6) You don’t “PUSH” buttons, you “MASH” ‘em.

(7) All the festivals in the South are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect, animal, etc. – such as the Strawberry Festival, Okra Festival, Corn Festival, Mule Festival, Insect Festival or Catfish Festival.

Being able to communicate well is a wonderful thing.

— © 2013 by Carl Mays, speaker and author whose mentoring site,, is based on his book and program, “A Strategy For Winning.” E-mail to, call 436-7478 or visit