Credential-less myself, it does amaze me how many people with credentials I have collected on Domani Dave – retired MIT professors, for example, Canadian foreign service types, the odd psychiatrist (meaning, of course, ‘random’ as opposed to ‘strange’).

On the other hand, during a period of my years working at the university here, I would have the odd (in this case meaning ‘from time to time’ and a bit strange) lunch with a Pulitzer Prize winning author, and the conversation was never less than lively.

(Last nod to the ‘My degree is bigger than yours’ culture one has to endure in a university setting, I recall a cocktail party he and his wife hosted.  Populated primarily with university faculty, another guest asked me, ‘How do you know Bill and Mary?’  I’m certain that I was not feeling overly oppressed at that function when I heard in that query: ‘How do you know Bill and Mary?’)

Massachusetts born and a Yalie, Dr. M made the most remarkable comment during one of those lunches.  He said he found me to be ‘the least Southern Southerner’ he’d ever met.  This is of course absurd.  Most prominently, I am unmatched with the novella-length answer to most any question put to me.

Here at the Thanksgiving season, my mind has darted back to the larger family gatherings during my childhood, and what I had always thought to be the most Southern of expressions, ‘gracious plenty’.  My guess of regional claim is based, I’m sure, on pronunciation.  Run it in your head with a Southern accent.  Yes?

I Googled ‘gracious plenty’, and found it paired with ‘elegant sufficiency’:

“Gracious Plenty – If you’ve had enough to eat, you might say you’ve had gracious plenty. This expression goes back to the early 1800s, and serves the same purpose as saying you’re sufficiently suffonsified or you’ve had an elegant sufficiency.”

I heard ‘elegant sufficiency’ only once as a child at a dining table, minus the word ‘elegant’, uttered by my cousin Burt as a burlesque.  (‘More turkey?  No, I believe I’ve had a sufficiency.’)  But ‘a gracious plenty’?  If I heard it once, I heard it a million times.

I do hope you’ll have a gracious plenty on Thanksgiving Day.  I’ll even go so far as to hope you’re sufficiently suffonsified.

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