Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Morning Hour

My mother hated the word, "darn." This was particularly puzzling since our family used every other euphemism under the Arkansas sun: dadgummit, gosh, golly, shoot, heck, etc. No cursing; that carried a severe penalty, such as getting your backside warmed. However, "darn" must have carried the same awfulness in mama's mind as using God's name in vain, because once when I made use of it (quite unaware of her prejudice), she went into a major meltdown.

When she'd finished venting her objections, I ventured a small "Why is that word ...?" Didn't get to complete my question. She showed signs of heating up again and I backed w-a-a-y off, thinking it wise to wipe that word from my heart and life (at least when around her).

Even though I never solved the mystery, I'm still curious. Did she as a child get into big trouble on account of that word? Or did someone - perhaps a mean neighbor kid - make it into an acrostic designed just for her? Such as Dames Are Really Nauseating? Probably not; country kids didn't know words that long.

That reminds me of the indignation of our then three-year-old daughter when the creative sons of a friend recited, "Myrtle the Turtle Without No Girdle" solely for her benefit. She had no idea what a girdle was, but her wrath knew no bounds. And she still doesn't like the word "girdle." Words are powerful.

Words are responsible for a lot of childhood suffering. My uncle was traumatized by saying a prayer his older brothers taught him - can you imagine? They carefully instructed him in when and where to employ it. One day when the family gathered around the farm house table at noon, uncle asked to say the blessing. He was standing between his mama and poppa because, unfortunately, with that many children, the chairs ran out. When he received permission, uncle said, with enthusiasm,

"Bless the meat,
D____ the skin,
Back your ears
and cram it in!!!"

A calloused hand from the chair next to the pious little guy swatted his bottom; immediately a smaller hand delivered another swat from the chair on the other side. Guffaws erupted from the male section of the table. Poor Uncle Lonnie.
He found out that words are powerful.

Remember that as you interact with others today - your words are powerful.

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