The people in most counties do not appreciate the coming of outsiders who challenge local customs and habits, and I try not to be a meddler in that respect. But when there are some old-timers who agree with me, then I have a ground on which to stand. At least I won't be fighting everybody.
For as far back as I can remember, I have eaten dried green beans. I remember them being strung on threads at our home in Virginia and later in Harlan County. The fact that it took longer to cook them only enhanced their value.
Such beans are part of the menu of many Perry Countians, I've learned by observation since coming back to Hazard. But there is one big difference in the Perry County beans.
Last Friday at noon, a bunch of fellows were sitting in Don's when somebody mentioned he was going to have a supper of "shucky" beans. Or maybe he said "shuckey beans. Anyway, the pronunciation was caught in a free for all discussion.
Bruce Stephens, the lawyer, said he never hard of "shucky" beans before he came to Hazard. He asked me. I had to admit that there was no such word in my active vocabulary, that the only thing I'd ever heard those delicious things called was "shuck" beans, dropping the fancy ending evidently brought into this country once upon a time by a high class drummer.
Fred Bullard and Paul Petrey insisted the pure "Anglo Sexton" pronunciation is "shuckey." Tolbert Combs being county attorney and a good politician, didn't want to make too big a mistake, so he said he believed it was "shucky" or "shuckey" and that it could be "shuck." Don Fouts stopped long enough at the table to declare that beyond a reasonable doubt, the beans referred to are "shuck" beans; that only the people born and raised in this county stuck to the "shucky" or shuckey" side.
We stopped a number of person in the restaurant and on the street to inquire about their pronunciation. Most of the "y" "ey" group were natives of Perry County or hadn't been past Jackson in years. 1955