Monday, October 17, 2011

What did you say?

I realized recently that I had been mispronouncing a word all my life – well, since I could say fairly big words, anyway. Insolent. Not hard to see it isn’t “insolet,” is it? May be Word 101, but I managed to roll it off my tongue as insolet for more years than I want to add up.

One of my daughters-in-law brought another mispronouncement to my attention not long after she joined our tribe. As I described a certain sunny color to her, she observed, “Do you know you’re saying ‘yella’ instead of ‘yellow’? Well, no, I hadn’t noticed. As I began to monitor myself a little more closely, I caught several other mistakes in substituting lazy southern vernacular, such as: “pilla” (pillow), “fella” instead of fellow, “mirra” for mirror, and “wood jew” for would you. However, to justify myself a teeny bit, I hasten to point out that I do not drawl out “Loseziana” when referring to our southern neighbor, nor dollah for dollar (as Mississippians tend to do), or substitute “bidness” for business.

I suppose you’d call these lapses in correct English usage, “blind spots”: being unaware of errors. Such gaffes are fairly innocuous. Committing them likely will launch no wars, garner any jail time, or make us fatter (that happens only if we have to eat those words). If the possibility that you may be word-ignert keeps you awake at night, get a dictionary and start fixing the problem.

Other blind spots related to speech can be infinitely more serious. Many of us seem to pay little mind to Jesus’ teachings about our verbal communication. We sometimes cast questionable utterances in the “cute” category and spit them out anyway. “White” lies? Gossip? Words that soil our mouths, and dirty the air when allowed to escape? Words that flatter instead of “speaking the truth in love”? Sarcastic, demeaning words? Words designed to pacify instead of being a call to God’s truth? Oh man.

Do you say “Missoura” and “Miama”; how about “vi-eeʹ-na” sausages rather than Vienna sausages? Doesn’t really matter because minor mispronunciations – though annoying to others at times - don’t determine your destiny. Nor do they make or break relationships (if so, you’re probably better off without them), and neither do they bring a frown to the Lord’s brow.

Not so lying, vulgarity, gossip, malicious sarcasm, and cowardly language; these soul-shrinking, spirit-sickening blights delight the prince of darkness, as we betray the Holy One who lives within.

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ, in God…” Col: 3:3

Friday, October 14, 2011

Morning Musings

It Ain’t Like It Used To Be

Just thinking of how different my life is now that our nest is empty.

I can mix different kinds of dry cereal together at my pleasure. When I used to attempt that with children in the house, the general consensus was “B-l-e-c-h! What have you done to the Cheerios?” And they stayed suspicious of me for several weeks, eyeing the contents of their bowls like a hawk. I was merely trying to eliminate some of the cereal box clutter – but you would have thought they suspected me of felonious activity.

My washer is not fearful anymore that its galvanized sides will burst wide open with a ton of whatever happened to be piled on the bedroom floor. Poor thing, it soon started to gulp and shake whenever one of the kids approached it. I had to do some intense recovery therapy before it would open up even to me.

Nowadays I don’t ever leave a clean kitchen and return to find a room so bizarrely different that I have to back up outside to check the address. But in the old days I might find: bread sacks blaring open, knife covered in mayo resting atop random pieces of cheese (also dotting the floor), juice left out after creating a sticky spill, cabinet doors gaping, drawers pulled out, and trails of crumbs exposing the sinner. Regarding the open drawers and cabinets, I once accused Jim of a genetic defect he’d passed along to our kids: he could use his arm to pull objects toward himself, but was incapable of pushing anything closed. He denied it, said it was my overactive imagination.

I gave up trying to turn my teen sons’ bedrooms into replicas of magazine pictures. Pretty sheet sets and handsome spreads were useless. The top sheets lived on the floor (violating my mother’s rule that one never, never sleeps next to the spread or comforter – Why? You’d ruin it). That dictate of polite society got stowed away just like those top sheets and my druthers.

Yes, life is different nowadays for sure. All the beds stay made up, the towels remain on the holders, scissors don’t disappear, both sheets adorn all the beds, and closets don’t smell like somebody’s tennis shoes contracted a disease, died, and rotted in them.

If I could, would I go back in time to picky eaters, offended appliances, bizarrely messy kitchens (and other rooms), various interesting odors, and home décor- challenged offspring?

In a heartbeat.