"Conductor," said the woman in a thick southern drawl, "Could ya' please tell me when we get to Grand Central? I can't make heads nor tails of that man on the loud speaker."
"That Man!" I said indignantly. THAT MAN...happens to be ME."
The woman and her four friends burst out laughing. "No it ain't" one of the women said (I guess she thought I was teasing).
"No, really." I said.
I was a little hurt since I pride myself on my clear and concise announcements. Passengers compliment me all the time.
"Sorry Darlin," another said, "But we're visitin' from Alabama and we can't understand a lick of what you was sayin'."
"Would it help if I slowed my speech?" I asked.
They nodded their heads in agreement.
"Maybe make the announcements in a s-l-o-w southern drawl?"
"Go fer it!" They said.
The next station stop was rapidly approaching. I quickly raced to the cab and made this announcement:
"This here," I drawled, trying to sound like the prison warden in Cool Hand Luke. "This here...is Mt. V-e-r-n-o-n East."
I heard a loud cheer come from the other end of the car. Looking down the aisle, I could see my new friends giving me the thumbs up sign.
"The next station stop," I took a pregnant pause here..."The next stash-i-u-n is fixin' to be Fordham."
The cheers were even louder now and they were interspersed with guffaws of laughter.
They were egging me on now. After Fordham :
" I a-reckon that Harlem 125th Street is gonna be next."
They were actually clapping now... wavin' and a hootin' and a hollerin'.
One of the woman waved me over. "Darlin, where'd ya learn to talk like that? I mean ....Fixin'?"
"We watch a lot of 'Reba' reruns in my house." I said matter of factly.
"Reba!" That's our favorite show. (no surprise there)
We were almost to Grand Central when one of the ladies thanked me for giving them a good laugh. Another said I made their night. I thanked them as well, saying they were good sports. They could have just as easily been offended.
"So. You think we Yankees speak too fast?" I asked.
They all nodded their heads in agreement.
"Then you should be happy that you didn't have a New York conductor. I'm from Connecticut, and even I can't understand them."