Jan Sullivan left the following comment on yesterday’s April in Pigeon Roost Post:
“I love the Foxfire books, and I got them for my mother as presents as she got very old. She enjoyed them also. Sassafras had to be had in early spring because it was a blood tonic to build up your blood for all the work to be done according to my grandmother. I also remember making lye soap and helping my grandmother wash clothes in a big iron pot in the back yard. Papa’s flannel’s in the spring turned the water all red. It was a hot job. We used a washboard, and carried water from a creek. Hard job then, but good memories now! The other day, at the doctor, I mentioned I was concerned with all the weather change, warm and then freeze, that my garden plants might not “make”. Then I had to explain what make meant to the doctor. Anyone else use that word? Everyone have a wonderful spring with all the birds, flowers, crops, kids, and families. Jan”
After reading her comment, I thought the usage of the word make in Appalachia would make a great post. A little later in the day Ed Ammons summoned up the word usage for me in another comment:
In reference to the use of the word “make” in Jan’s comment, I have heard and used it all my life. You don’t grow a garden you make it. If your peppers grow pretty plants, like mine did last year, but nothing grew on them, your peppers didn’t make. If your corn makes but the stink bugs get more than you do that’s a different story.
The same usage applies in putting up food. If your jelly don’t set, you say it didn’t make. If your kraut smells like feet, it didn’t make. You have to shake the jar forever before the butter makes.
“Ain’t you gonna make a garden this year?”
“I tried last year but the only thing that made was the weeds.”
“I know what you mean. I planted some late beans but the frost got them before they could make.”
I’m very familiar with all the the uses for the word make that Jan and Ed describe. Here a few more common usages:
make – train to be or become. “I’d like to see my boy make a teacher. All the kids round here just love him.”
make – to use in place of. “I’d make that old bowl for a flower pot if I was you.”
make – to determine in one’s mind. “She said she made it in her mind that she would finish school no matter what come along.”
make up – to collect an item. “They’re going to try and make up the money to fix the roof at next week’s benefit.”