I'll give you a Yankee dime if you'll do me a favor
Oct 31, 2010 | 5045 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE TERM “Yankee dime” is recognized as an old Southern expression here in the United States. It has reference to a kiss. Often older folks promise their grandchildren a“Yankee dime” for a small favor. The favor may simply be a “payment” for a hug of their neck.

Some believe that the term began after the Civil War. When Confederate money ceased to be a legal means of transacting business, Southerners called the money of our nation “Yankee money.” A “Yankee dime” was used as payment for small chores. If that is the origin of the expression then somewhere along the way it came to mean a kiss. Usually it was a peck on the cheek which showed gratitude or affection.

ANOTHER tradition has to do with the mistletoe during the holiday season in December. If a young man can catch his girlfriend under mistletoe then he gets to kiss her. Some include an additional part concerning this tradition. Each time a young lady is kissed a berry of the mistletoe is plucked off. When all the berries are gone then the young men lose their privilege (or excuse) to kiss the girls.

Still another old tradition was in full bloom in my younger days. When only one head light burned (shined) by an approaching car if the young man hollered “buckeye” first then he got to kiss his girl friend. Or, if she cried out “buckeye” first then he got slapped.

IN THE good old days, the young lady would sit right by him. Now adays they can’t sit as close because of bucket seats. Used to, you could tell by how close a wife sat next to her husband as to how long they’d been married. This can no longer be determined because of bucket seats.

Remember the Burma Shave signs along the highway? It consisted of several signs. Each sign had a phrase that depended upon the reading of all the signs to obtain a complete thought. Below is the wording on five different Burma Shave signs that went together.

“A whiskery kiss

For one you adore

May not make her mad

But her face will be sore


Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. Presently he serves as full-time evangelist for the Pittsburg Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008) nativeheritage1@hotmail.com
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