Date: Fri, 13 May 1994 08:53:00 CDT


Subject: peckerwood

Re; Peckerwood. My Oklahoma/New Mexico experiences (I'm not

a native peckerwood user, but I picked it up there and found

it a most useful term. A number of my academics colleagues

are classic peckerwoods). Anyhow, I came to the word with no

emotional involvement nore native intuition, so I curiously

looked at its usage. There, in at least Western Oklahoma and

eastern new mexico, in at least the more rural areas (I taught

in a very small, very rural, very typical school. Peckerwood was

often used by the staff there, even to a student's face, to refer

to a student who was a little dickens, a skeezix, a loveable

rascal, someone who even was a pleasant diversion. 'That so and ao,

what a peckerwood,' said with a smile upon one's face. With adults

it had a different connotation: someone (always a male; it was

never used to refer to females) who was shiftless, engaged in

borderline legal activities, if indeed any activities at

all. And the borderline activities are not the accepted ones

like bootlegging, but theft, etc. I picked the word up there

and find it useful especially to refer to mischivous children,

cute but 'a handful.' There I knew of no racial distributions,

but that was 20 years ago; now it might be a considerable slur.