We’ve heard a lot lately about Amazon.com’s offer of the Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection. For only $7,989.50, you’ll receive all 1,082 books in the collection. Before we rush to place our order, we thought we’d have a look to see how many North Carolinians were represented. We found three: Charles Chesnutt, Harriet Jacobs, and O. Henry. Since our interest lies primarily in Tar Heel authors, perhaps it would be more economical to order a la carte.
Even though we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the history and culture of “North Cackalacky,” when it comes to this unusual nickname, we’re absolutely stumped. We’d heard the name for years, and it seems to be pretty widespread, be we can’t figure out where in the world it came from. We tried the usual authorities – Norman Eliason’s Tarheel Talk (UNC Press, 1956), and the comprehensive Dictionary of American Regional English (Harvard University Press, 1985-) – but with no luck.
The folks at Cackalacky Hot Sauce (note the nice photograph from the North Carolina Collection on their home page) are on the hunt as well. They’ve brought new attention to the name, but so far haven’t been able to dig up anything authoritative on its origin. If you have suggestions or ideas about how we came to be “Noth Cackalacky,” we’d love to hear them.