Regular visitors to Ocracoke, and frequent readers of this journal, may remember that "buck" is a common island word meaning "pal" or "friend." Ocracoke men use it frequently as a form of address, in sentences such as "Hey buck, how are you doing?" or "Thanks buck. I appreciate that."
To my knowledge, "buck" is not used anywhere else in the US in quite the same way as O'cockers use the word. However, some years ago I was told that "bach" is still used in Wales with much the same meaning.
This past week I was reading Ken Follett's novel, Fall of Giants. The story is set mostly in Europe from 1911 to 1924, and several of the characters are Welsh miners. Much of the action takes place on battlefields during WWI. I was surprised to read, on page 799, this short paragraph: "Farther along the trench he found Johnny Ponti. 'Deploy that Stokes mortar, Johnny bach,' he said. 'Make the buggers jump.'"
I did a little web searching and discovered that "bach" is in fact a Welsh slang expression meaning "little" or "wee"...but that it is also used to mean "love" as in "Alright, love, I'll be happy to do that for you."
So there you have it, buck -- one more confirmation of Ocracoke's Welsh roots.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke and our connection with the "Lost" Colony of 1587. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112111.htm.