I’m from Missour-uh

When doubting my tall tales told to escape trouble, my mom declared, “I’m from Missour-uh.” Which, as a child, I never understood. Born and raised in Garden City, Long Island, why in the world would she claim she was from anywhere else? And where did the ‘uh’ come from? It’s spelled Missouri, with ‘an’, that’s pronounced, which also made little sense and only magnified my confusion. Dad’s “You’re full of soup” or “Ya bagrat” clearly captured the Brooklyn brashness we knew and loved. Did my mom secretly prefer the mighty Mississippi over the Hudson River? ‘Showboat’ over ‘Guys and Dolls’? The Cardinals over the Yankees? Well, apparently, yes. “Showboat”, her favorite musical, featured her favorite song, “Why Do I Love You?” Her upright piano music box chimed the same tune. She even named her dog, Zuri, as in, “I’m from…” Her fascination with Missouri—a state she never visited—fascinated me.