Anne-Marie Oomen | Lordy I Love That Word
ANNE-MARIE OOMEN, Award-winning Michigan author, writer, poet, Interlochen Arts Academy, Writing Workshops, Poet in Residence, Writer in Residence, Writing Residence
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Lordy I Love That Word

Let me proclaim it: I love the Lordy word. Not I love the Good Lord, an entirely different thing; I’ll discuss that shortly. Why do I love the word Lordy? First, it’s one of those exclamations I caught myself saying for the first time in a long time because, though I’d almost forgotten it, it was suddenly everywhere. I’d lost it in my willingness to use real profanity with abandon in these times of post retirement anxiety—threats to social security, Medicare, Medicaid (if we should ever need it), not to mention health care programs, national monuments, and decent public schools. But that gangly man in suit and tie, in a congressional hearing, said it with such conviction the word rose up like good ole dog come out from under the porch to hunt for you again, come back like being saved at an old time Chautauqua. Lordy, I hope there are tapes… Lordy, I hear you. He said it with an almost boyish authenticity so unexpected of a man in his awkward position—from Washington DC no less—a thing for rural folks to note. He brought it back to us in the midst of all that DC word hoopla that has come to obsess us (well, me at least) but means less and less. Now Lordy means again—because his seemed an honest statement, uncouched by code, unblemished by cynicism, untainted by overuse. He single-wordedly raised Lordy from the dead, that former FBI director; he did that to a word I had buried in my country past. Now I’m using it again with relish and a sense of fun—Lordy I hope there’s pie at that picnic. Lordy I hope someone gets this world a little righter. And he reminded me that it’s an old time word associated with the old-time work that my beloved old-time people would appreciate. Because it is a milder version of an exclamation that evoked their Good Lord. It was an interjection they substituted for a curse, a word of affection, calling the Lord by a nickname—a daring familiarity. Hey, Lordy! Like Hey, Gordy! Wanna hunt some rabbits?

To get a feeling for the real impact of its former use, keep in mind they also said Good Lord, depending on how the rhythm of the sentences worked. Good Lord, I wish this heat would cease was how you used Good Lord, but Lordy we got enough darn rain and Lordy we got to get this crop off was how you used Lordy. Feel the difference? It’s a matter of elevated thought, I guess. Good Lord has more fear, not so much hope. It’s a wish for the “Good Lord” to do the impossible, an almost-prayer as opposed to that Lordy-feeling of barking against the world. Lordy, I hope there are tapes! Chagrinned yelp is how I’d describe that. Not elevated, but more like my dad pulling off his cap and shaking his head at the tractor stuck in the middle of his back forty. Lordy, I hope we can get that sucker out before Fourth of July.  Lordy is back in my lexicon. I’m Lordy-ing this and Lordy-ing that. And following it with my own grim but authentic I hope…, almost as important because in the end, that is what we want most, that final hope that someone is telling the truth.