pickle up a doodle

pera_palas

Senior Member
Turkish
Hello
I'm translating True Blood and the following song is sung by a possessed guy.
Now I have learned that this is a song about square dancing.
I have an inkling about what it says but I am confused about the "pickle up a doodle" part.

"Turn the corner by the right, make a wrong-way thar,
And ya' pickle up a doodle in the middle of the star"

So what I understand, "if you make a wrong turn, you will be tangled" (if that's the right word).
Am I wrong?
 
  • lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Since this is a nonsense song, there isn't really a "meaning." But "pickle" is probably just a childish way to say "pick," and "-a-doodle" is simply nonsense syllables. I think "And ya' pickle up a doodle in the middle of a star" would simply mean "And you end up in the middle of a star."
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Piggy-backing on lucas-sp's observations, I would suggest that 'pickle' is the noun 'pickle' meaning a tight spot, but used here as an intransitive verb.

    The basic idea then will be: 'If you make a wrong turn, you will be in a pickle, because you will find yourself in the middle of a star'.
    The next step is to convert the noun 'pickle' into an intransitive verb:
    'If you make a wrong turn, you will pickle up in the middle of a star' (compare 'you will end up').
    The final step is to add 'a doodle', suggesting that the resulting pickle will be a beauty (a really good pickle).
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Piggy-backing on lucas-sp's observations, I would suggest that 'pickle' is the noun 'pickle' meaning a tight spot, but used here as an intransitive verb.
    I understand that, but I don't agree. The -le ending is just a nonsense syllable that's added for effect. The verb is "to pick," and it's being "ornamented" with some silly sounds, and to rhyme with the intensive "a-doodle." "And then you pick up in the middle of the star" becomes "... ya pick(-le) up (a doodle) in the middle of the star."

    This is a common way to form silly sounds in AE, so to my AE ear the word "pickle" is irrelevant.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I think it's just extended meaning from "pick up [at]" meaning "carry on from."

    Compare to something like: "The second scene ends with Alan and June talking in a bar. Then we pick up with Michael on his way to the bank heist."
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I thought the idea was that by taking a wrong turn you arrive in a place where you cannot carry on.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Square dancing is a very complicated topic. I'm going to list a few details with the hopes of discouraging you from attempting to understand this song any further than you already have.
    You have to keep track of certain other people. One of those people is your partner who stands next to you at the beginning - the man stands to the left of the woman. Another is your corner, who is the person around the corner from you. For the man, this is the woman on his left (his partner is the woman on his right). For the woman, this is the man on her right (her partner is the man on her left).
    Many moves have natural direction to them, e.g. you promenade counter-clockwise. To make a wrong-turn or a wrong-way is to circulate in the opposite direction. So... you are going to take your corner by the right hand and do a spin then form a star that turns clockwise (I think).
    "Pickle up a doodle" is part of the original song (as is the part about the devil came a-courtin') and is not a dance instruction. (Search YouTube for Teresa Brewer Pickle Up a Doodle to hear the original song with no dance instructions). "Pickle up a doodle in the middle of the day." is the original line.
     
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