Outhouseholeaphobia

What’s down there and how far down does it go?

There are many phobias in this world.  Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders.  I possess that one because I insist on my wife killing the things.

Basophobia is the fear of falling while walking.  Many older folks should develop that fear, to help keep them from falling and breaking fragile bones.

A most unusual phobia is one I can hardly pronounce. Syngenesophobia is a fear of relatives. I know my wife has it because when she finds out they’re coming and the house isn’t clean, she freaks.

I have a phobia that’s not on the list.  It wasn’t hard creating a name that fits. I’m sure you’ll easily understand after reading. Outhouseholeaphobia is the fear of falling through an outhouse hole.

For me it started at my Grandpa & Grandma Hankins’ place.  To this day I have fear of an outhouse hole.  It’s not the building that scares me. The deep, dark, hole causes me great distress. What’s down there and how far does the hole go?

My older brother Jim didn’t help matters by telling me monsters and snakes lived at the bottom. He said the holes were so deep that you could never climb out. No amount of reassurance by my parents or grandparents could dissuade me from believing such. The lies were permanently etched in my brain.

Unfortunately while traveling, I find some states still use the primitive outhouse design.  I’ve gingerly stepped into a few such places where the hole looked to be miles deep.  I often found myself closing my eyes while at the same time holding my breath.

My grandparents knew I hated outhouses and they made special provision.  At their home they kept a white enameled pot with lid.  I won’t go into further detail. They allowed me use of this device until approximately six years of age.  After that I was on my own.

What they didn’t know was I discovered there were other places to go besides the outhouse.  Thankfully there were plenty of trees and bushes around their yard.

These days many kids have never seen nor used an outhouse.  Lucky for them! I’m sure there are rural homes still having these primitive outdoor facilities.

There is another phobia somewhat related to outhouseholeaphobia. It’s called portapotaphobia. As the name suggests it is the fear of portable toilets. I know several people with this affliction including my wife.

Seems to me the worse thing that could happen, is a strong wind come up while you’re inside and blow the hut over. I’ve seen this occur numerous times with no one inside.

I suppose it could be tipped quite easily by mere pushing. That’s why it’s best to only enter when friends aren’t around; at least my friends that is!

How deep is this hole?

Haynes Curb Market

There are very few Vernon, Alabama residents still remembering HAYNES CURB MARKET.  My Grandpa George Perry Haynes (on mom’s side) owned the little grocery store from the late 1940’s until the early 1970’s.

Local folks knew my Grandpa as G.P.  We called him Papa Haynes. When Papa Haynes became physically unable to run the store it closed.  My records show this around 1973.

The business was located north on HWY 17 on the outskirts of town.  Vernon has since expanded beyond that location.  The last time I was in Vernon the wood and concrete building was weathered but intact.  That was millennium year 2000.

As a child I use to ride to the store with Papa Haynes in his old Chevrolet Apache pickup truck.  This was the same truck he drove to Birmingham weekly to pick up fresh produce.

During one of his buying trips another vehicle hit Papa head-on.  He was lucky to survive.  A photo in the newspaper showed the engine totally out of his pickup lying in the middle of the road.

A couple of products I remember him peddling were freshly-sliced bologna and lard.  One hardly hears the lard word anymore.

On one occasion a flatbed truck with wooden sides stopped by to sell Papa Haynes freshly picked watermelons.  It was one of those hot muggy Alabama days.  The man unloading the melons ‘accidentally’ dropped one with it breaking in half.  He gave my brother Jim and me the sweet remnants.  I truly believe the ‘drop’ was not by accident!

Papa & Mama Haynes lived on what was called Haynes’ Hill.  This property is located on Old HWY 18. Albert Drive now leads to their old house.

My grandparents had a small farm on Haynes Hill which Jim and I looked forward to visiting.  Papa & Mama Haynes lived there for many years raising 4 daughters, Katrulia, Cazaree, Flavius Gaye, Opal Claydean, and my mother Tallulah.

The property has since been sliced and diced, several homes now disturbing the dense woods we loved to roam.  The old house Grandpa built still stands.

Papa Haynes died October 18, 1979.  Mama Haynes died almost 12 years before him on August 15, 1967.  I’m not sure when Papa Haynes second wife Doris passed but believe it was 1981.

I have one photo of HAYNES CURB MARKET in my box of family mementoes.  The faded picture shows Papa and second wife Doris standing in front of the sign.  The snapshot was taken around the time the store closed. I have a glass TOM’S peanut canister from the store. It sits safely on a top shelf.

Papa & Mama Haynes and their little grocery store are gone, but the town they loved is alive and well.  I know both would be pleased!

Haynes Hill – Albert Drive leads up to Papa & Mama Haynes old house.

First Car

The Comet was blue with stylistic swept back fins.

1961 Mercury Comet

Most everyone remembers their first car.  Let me rephrase that.  Most ‘guys’ remember their first car.

I’m not trying to be sexist, it’s just the plain truth.  Remembering their first car to a young man is akin to a girl recalling her first kiss.

My first automobile was a 1961 2-door Mercury CometI believe it was the ugliest car I ever laid eyes on. On reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, there’s one just like it. The Mercury is often parked in front of the police station.

I didn’t have a choice in model selection because my ’61 was a hand-me-down from my brother.  Jim gave me the ‘good brother deal’.  $300.00 spread out over several months with zero interest. I was 16 at the time.

The Comet was blue with stylistic swept back fins.  I suppose the fins were for stability at speed, although the Mercury would only go 73 and that was downhill.  My brother named the car “Comet Cleanser”.  I’ll tell you how this came to be in a second.

Jim and I purchased transportation vehicles with our own funds.  We owned motorcycles before cars ever entered the picture.   Unlike some parents, dad or mom never came to our rescue.

We were labor intensive in creating income.  The usual mowing and raking yards, delivering morning and evening newspapers, plus a short lived foray into the car wash business.  Our car washing gig turned out to be an absolute nightmare.

A neighbor approached our father about ‘the boys’ washing his rig.  What the man didn’t tell dad was his car sat under a tree, and now had sap now all over it.  We eagerly took the job quickly finding soap and water wouldn’t touch the goo.  I can’t remember if Jim came up with the brilliant idea or me.  As Hillary Clinton would say,

“At this point does it really matter?”

One of us decided Comet sink cleaner would take the sticky stuff off.  To make a long story short the abrasive totally destroyed the paint.

When the owner came home from work he was not happy.  We tried waxing the Ford and that helped some.  The angry man initially thought about making us pay for a paint job, but thankfully didn’t follow through.  That was our first and last foray into the commercial car wash business.

Whenever I drift back to the ‘good ole days’ I start wondering if “Comet Cleanser” is still around. Could she have survived the crusher?

If you’re wondering if I’d like to find and buy her back; think again.

I truly believe that was the ugliest car I ever lay eyes on!

1961 Mercury Comet on “The Andy Griffith Show”.

Longer Arms

I see nothing wrong with my utilizing hand antennas.

Many years ago in Selma, Alabama my brother and I came across a man in the woods with hands raised. He was yelling at the sky.  The fellow was so engrossed in what he was doing that he didn’t see us.  Crouched down and from a distance we watched as he asked forgiveness for something he’d done.

At the time it was spooky because I’d never seen an adult act like that.  Running home and telling mother, she said some folks have different ways of getting God’s attention during prayer.  She indicated there was nothing right or wrong about the methods used.

I often wondered why some folks pray in church with hands raised and others don’t.  I was told by one person it depends on denomination of faith.  That didn’t make sense because I’ve noticed Baptists as well as Pentecostals do the same.

Doing a bit of research I found various reasons for people raising their hands during worship.  They do so: to show submission, humility, surrender, dependence, or reverence to God.

Raising hand or hands during worship can be traced to early day Israel. Aaron, the first High Priest raised his hands in prayer as he blessed the Israelites.  This form of prayer is called a benediction.  Depending on denomination, often times only a minister is allowed to do such.

The book of Psalms shows many examples of raising hands to praise God.  I chose one as an example:

“Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the Lord.”  (Psalms 124: 1 – 2)

I’ve never been a hand raiser in church but have no problem with folks that do.  I raise one or two hands while praying in privacy of my home.   My reasoning is different than most.

Just as a radio needs an antenna for better reception, I believe raising my hands to God gives me the same where transmitting is concerned.

I’m sure there are sceptics to my idea.  That’s okay.  Just as mom said there was nothing wrong with that man praying loudly in the woods, I see no problem with my utilizing hand antennas.

At times I wish I had longer arms!

Brain Simplification

“You learned that boy well!”

When Aunt Dora Hankins-Guyton passed away at 99, her mind was sharp as a tack.  For all of Dora’s later years she continued to read; mostly she loved doing crossword puzzles. That’s one of the things she did in order to keep the upper gears turning.

My wife and I bought a couple of supposedly ‘easy’ crossword puzzle books at a grocery store.  We found nothing simple about them.  I suppose intelligent folks like Aunt Dora would have the things completed in days.  We’re still working on them two months later. I’ve threatened to cheat by looking at the answer sheet.  I know my aunt would frown on such.

For me, writing keeps the mind juices flowing.  Spelling and punctuation definitely makes a brain work. If it wasn’t for spell check I’d be looking words up in Webster’s all the time.  The whole writing process has been simplified because of this program. Maybe that’s not good?

Many things in life are now easier.  We no longer have to use checks.  Debit cards take care of withdrawing money.  I remember the hassle of writing a check made out to “cash”.  Along with the check I’d have to present two different ID’s to a bank teller. Even then the clerk might not cash it.

Paying for license plate renewal online is an excellent example of simplified hassle.  Is there anyone who likes going to the DMV?   Simplified life chores are good.  Sometimes they’re not where working our gray matter is concerned.

My wife’s on a 2 week trip and I have to fend for myself.  I just popped a ‘Lean Cuisine’ dinner in the microwave for four minutes. How simple is that! I know what it’ll taste like afterwards. No surprises there!  I’ll spice things up with Tabasco sauce and mustard. It’s a southern thing.

Sometimes I wonder what our loved ones in Heaven eat.  Surely they still like food?  My belief is they’re looking down on us as we go about our daily routines.

I visualize parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends watching as I pour Tabasco sauce and mustard on my eggs.  Somewhere in back of the group a twangy voice rings out,

“You learned that boy well!”

With my wife away for a spell it would be a perfect opportunity to finish my crossword puzzles.  I could have them completed in 15 minutes using the cheat sheet. Doing such won’t learn me anything, but it simplifies the whole book completion process.

I’m about to watch Jeopardy.  That was one of my Aunt’s favorite shows. The good thing about Jeopardy is even if you don’t know the answer to a question, host Alex Trebek will eventually give it to you. In a way it’s like using the cheat sheet on a crossword. The big difference being Trebek is the one cheating.

I’m not sure tuning in to Jeopardy will help me reach 99, but watching the show has learned me bunches. Overall. I believe it makes for good mind simplification!

Seeking Solitude in Seward

“I think the water is rising!”

Picnic along Bear Creek in early 1900’s.

This story isn’t about climbing one of Alaska’s tallest peaks. It’s not about kayaking the state’s wildest rivers or surfing the Gulf of Alaska. The tale is about how easy it was for a group of Anchorage teenagers in the 1960’s, to have a little simplistic fun in the great outdoors.

Almost 50 years ago at an area where Bear Creek meets Salmon Creek, several miles north of Seward, Alaska, a bluff overlooking both pristine waters became a refuge of solitude for me and others. When school let out for summer I’d happily pilgrimage from Anchorage with tent, backpack, never-enough-food, fishing line, sinkers, and treble hooks.

Fishing was illegal in the area but that didn’t concern me. My older brother Jim and a couple of friends, Jeff Cloud and Rod Sanborn, ventured with me on different occasions.

As teenagers we’d be dropped off by family or friends near the Bear Creek Bridge. The only structure in the area at that time was a rustic log cabin belonging to a long-time Seward family.

The trail alongside Bear Creek bordered both private property and the creek. A vintage 1900’s steel-wheeled Fordson tractor marked a starting point for the trail.

A most picturesque spot for camping was on ‘the bluff’ as we called it. We’d make sure our tent entrance faced outward towards the streams. At bluff edge was a fairly large fire pit.  It’d evidently been used hundreds of times over the years because it was fairly deep with large containment stones.

Unbeknownst to us at the time, research showed this locale to be a favorite picnic area for early Seward pioneers. It was also one of the town’s most popular fishing holes before ‘No Fishing’ signs went up.

Residents and railroad personnel alike often made the short journey out of town to wet their lines and socialize. A small railway excursion car was generally utilized to make the trip. The train stopped there if need be. An archived photograph in the Seward Public Library appears to show several well-dressed residents picnicking at this site.

There was one particular trip where my pal Rod Sanborn and I elected to forego higher ground for water-front property. We pitched our tent on an island in the middle of Salmon Creek. Shortly after going to bed it started raining cats and dogs. Somewhere in the wee hours of morning Rod woke me with a shout,

“I think the water is rising!”

My buddy didn’t need to tell me. It sounded like a raging river just outside the tent door.

Shining a flashlight into the misty cool air revealed we were surrounded by the wet stuff. A small newly formed tributary was already lapping at metal tent stakes. Using the cloth and nylon dwelling as a large storage bag, Rod took off for shore with everything inside.

Fortunately he had the size and stature to handle such. I stumbled along behind him sloshing through glacial currents. Rain continued to come down in buckets.

It took a while to get our little shelter back in place. When the project was complete we were soaked to the gills. An hour or so later a fire worthy of mention was snapping and popping.  Golden embers danced upwards until rain drops quickly doused them.

Wet wood has a way of making lots of smoke. There was plenty of burnt birch smell in our hair and clothes. As morning light began to reveal surrounding terrain, we immediately noticed our camping spot in the creek was completely under water. Thankfully we’d made it out safely without drowning. Hypothermia also escaped us.

Later on during that same trip a group of drunken loudmouths unexpectedly showed up. We heard their cursing and swearing before seeing any faces. They’d brought along plenty of beer with several fishing poles. When things began to get a bit too rambunctious for our liking, Rod pulled a toy sheriff’s badge from his pack.

Pinning the ‘star’ on a faded Levi jacket, my pal moseyed on over to where the folks were partying. They saw ‘The Man’ coming before he got there. In a tizzy the rabble-rousers took off running with one fellow leaving a tackle box behind. For the rest of our expedition Rod sported his badge to help keep tranquility. I jokingly referred to him as,

Marshall Sanborn.”

On another trip Jeff Cloud and I ate all of our food several days before we were to be picked up. We attempted to walk, and then hitchhike into Seward through pouring rain. We knew there was a diner in the middle of town. After several miles of hoofing it plus sticking out thumps we gave up. No sane person would stop and give us a ride. I didn’t blame them.

Jeff and I looked like a couple of deadbeats from who knows where.  Because we were hungry and getting hungrier by the hour it became subsistence time. Back then we didn’t have a clue what subsistence meant. As my late Grandma Hankins from Alabama would say regarding our predicament,

“Dem growin’ boys need ta eat!”

Tying 80 pound test monofilament fishing line onto a long stick plus adding a heavy lure, I snagged a silver salmon then yanked it in. A couple of blows to the head with a rock finished things off. Jeff was able to entice some good-sized Dolly Varden onto his hook using eggs obtained from my silver.

Starting a fire at water’s edge we cooked the fish in foil before devouring every morsel. A Fish & Game officer came along at this time not saying a word. He took a long hard look, quickly turned around and left.

I suppose some folks would say we did wrong back then by poaching a few fish. Using a toy sheriff’s badge to intentionally misrepresent someone besides a western lawman would definitely draw the ire of a few individuals, especially law enforcement. I’d tend to agree what we did was wrong.

On the other hand, doing such provided much needed food, plus helped scare off potential troublemakers. There has to be some merit in that. As naïve teens we saw our actions as harmless. Evidently one local game warden thought the same.

Several years ago I stopped in the area to show my wife our old stomping grounds. The Fordson tractor was gone. A house now sits near the bluff where we camped.

This place of solitude is forever lost except to those folks permanently living there. I’ve since discovered other places to relax and unwind. Thankfully a toy sheriff’s badge hasn’t been needed to help keep the peace!

The old Fordson steel wheel tractor now resides in front of a residence in Seward.

Where Are You Going?

When my children were young, often times we’d hop in the car not having a clue where we were going. It generally had to do with,

“Where should we eat?”

I’d take off down the road hoping the wife and kids would come to a quick agreement. That didn’t happen! Lack of decision making led to many unnecessary miles put on our vehicle. My mother was just the opposite.

Before leaving the house, specific plans on where she was headed, including how to get there were chiseled in stone. Big brother Jim picked up mom’s trait.  His career as an air traffic controller fit well with this organized way of thinking.

Before mom passed away she knew her final destination. Mother made a point to let family know exactly where she’d be, and how to get there. Mother prayed throughout her life that we’d make that same decision regarding eternity. Far as I know all of us have.

Mom was so organized before making the trip, that she took time to leave specific instructions. Taped to the refrigerator, tucked away in drawers, cubby holes, and safety deposit boxes were handwritten notes telling where to send this or where to mail that. Items of jewelry that an older sister gave her had an attached message saying,

“Mail to your cousin Cheryl in Oregon.”

She had sticky notes indicating what each grandchild was to receive. There were instructions on what legal paperwork to keep, plus those documents needing shredded. My mother left money to pay incoming bills such as gas, electricity, and telephone.

I recall a 1950’s war movie where a gravely injured soldier is asked by an Army chaplain if he knows where he’s going. The young infantryman takes a deep drag on a cigarette before replying,

“I hadn’t gave it much thought until now!”

That pretty much sums up the way many people think regarding death. It seems the older a person gets, the more they have to contemplate such.

Years ago I was chatting with a co-worker about life on the other side. This man depressingly indicated that once he died that was it. He believed there was nothing else. I listened intently. Several years later I bumped into him and his whole attitude had changed.

He was positive this go-round on what would happen once his heart stopped beating. Somewhere along the way this fellow had seen the light. That individual is now in Heaven. In due time I know I’ll see him. This would not be the case had he not accepted Christ.

Some people have far-fetched ideas about life after death. One lady told me she was coming back as a butterfly.

“They’re so beautiful!”, the woman explained.

I suppose she didn’t realize the life expectancy of a butterfly on average is 1 week to 9 months.

If people don’t know their final destination, hopefully they’ll make plans before it’s too late. Without question I know mine. I haven’t written any departure notes like mother, but there is one lingering in my head. It will be for my two grown children:

“Dear Kids,

Please take care of any outstanding bills with your money. I’ll refund it when you get to the other side.

Love – Dad!”

A Job Well Dung

“First impressions mean a lot!”

During my children’s early years I did my best to help them with special projects. Oftentimes ‘the old man’ gave Gunnar & Miranda too much assistance. On several occasions I nearly completed projects on my own. I was asked to slow down.

My wife Joleen always stepped in making sure I allowed the kids a chance to participate. She informed me that teachers or instructors didn’t want parents doing the whole thing. Sometimes I got carried away.

One such project involved creating an album of Alaska animals. Gunnar clipped photos of moose, bear, and other game from magazines. He glued them to blank sheets of paper inserting these into a blue folder.

When Gunnar showed me the finished project I noticed it lacked pizazz. Written on the cover in simple 4th grade writing was ‘Alaska’. I informed him that it looked fine, but perhaps we could do better where art was concerned. I then told him,

“First impressions mean a lot!”

We jointly came up with an idea that seemed clever enough. Gunnar and I combed the neighborhood searching for moose nuggets. It was fall so there were piles and piles of them lying about. I showed him a perfect example.

“We want them fat and oblong like this. Small busted ones won’t work.”

Collecting a bucket full, we took them to the garage, spreading our organic treasure on cold concrete floor. I placed a heat lamp overhead. The nuggets needed to thoroughly dry so that paint would adhere. Soft and mushy wouldn’t doo.

Purchasing a can of gold aerosol paint I showed Gunnar how to spray without drips or runs. Once complete the moose dung looked like actual gold nuggets. After the enamel paint dried came the tricky part. Gorilla brand glue was unheard of back then. Closest thing to it was Elmer’s wood glue. The moose droppings consisted mainly of digested birch limbs so this worked fine.

We arranged painted turds into words before gluing them down. The finished product was beyond expectations. It was awesome. If bragging wasn’t deplorable I’d continue dishing out praise.

At the next parent/teacher conference all student notebooks were on display. I looked them over seeing different examples of each. Most had a clipped picture of an animal with ‘Alaska’ written on top. There were none like Gunnar’s. His received the most attention from parents. I wanted to proudly walk up and tell folks how it came to be, yet stopped short. Some things are best left unmentioned.

My son received an A on his project and I beamed with joy. When the notebook came home I carefully placed it in a box for safe keeping. It’s been sitting in that container undisturbed for 35 years. Upon opening I was glad to see that the gold nuggets spelling out ALASKA survived.

Thinking about it for several seconds I couldn’t help but reach the conclusion,

It was a job well dung!”

You Get The Picture

Marge might as well be a cockroach.

When McDonalds first came out with self-order computer boards I wouldn’t use them. It was easy to see they were germ sponges. Suppose some guy comes out of the restroom without washing his hands. He moseys over to the kiosk and orders a burger and Coke. The fellow uses dirty fingers to punch the screen.

Being directly behind him, you order fries and a shake. After receiving your order you sit down and use fingers to…

“You get the picture!”

Over a year ago when I mentioned this to friends they laughed at me for being germ phobic. Just recently it was reported how much fecal coliform was on those things. It was off the chart. Now my friends won’t touch one.

Here’s another germ sponge: Reusable cloth grocery bags. One of the filthiest things you can touch in a grocery store are shopping carts. Most people know that. Besides the cart handle being contaminated, the small tilt-out baskets are notorious for carrying rancid germs. Cute little Billy just sat there with a dirty diaper. Some of it leaked out on the chromed wire.

You know not to use that section of cart because Martha Stewart told you so. It’s a different story after groceries are bagged. You toss the sacks in there thinking there’s no problem. The plastic bags may get soiled but they’ll go in the garbage once home.

Into the store one morning pops Marge Green. Marge’s one of those hip gals thinking she’s doing the world a favor by foregoing plastic bags. She’s been using her cotton bags going on a year now. She knows all too well not to use the fold-out portion of a shopping cart when shopping. The woman after all watches Martha Stewart reruns. Once Marge’s goods are bagged it’s a whole different story. Into the top and bottom of a shopping buggy go her “Save the Earth” bags.

Each week that Marge does this, her filthy cotton bags are contaminating the store bagging table, including every shopping cart she touches. Marge might as well be a cockroach.

Her chic’ logo bags are much like unwashed cleaning rags. They’ve picked up germs and held them, depositing seasoned spores each week onto the cashier’s and courtesy clerk’s hands, including her own car seat and kitchen table.

“You get the picture!”

When my wife mentioned wanting to use cloth bags I said,

“No way Jose!

I gave her my presentation on why not to. She saw merit in the spiel. I’d much rather Joleen use germ-free plastic bags to place meat, fruit, and vegetables, than potentially nasty cloth sacks.

I’m sure some would say they wash theirs. In return I would ask,

“After each trip to the grocery store?”

We know that doesn’t happen. If they say, “Yes”, they’re lying.

Next time someone tells you to ditch plastic tell them to take a hike. Say you’d much rather be clean than go green!

“You get the picture!”

.

All is Copacetic

“What did he or she just say?”

I’ve not a big word user. I have 3 big words in my whole vocabulary. I’ll attempt to use one in this column for general effect. Or is that affect? They claim the average reading level in the U.S. is 7th or 8th grade. Without being tested I believe mine to be at least that high. I’m the type reader that likes to get to the end of an article or story like right now.

Some writers have a tendency to drift along, filling pages with meaningless ‘dribble’. If you’re going to tell me about a recently caught fish, please don’t waste time by focusing on technical aspects of the lure.

Often in personal conversations, what could’ve been said in one minute took ten. I call this the chit-chat factor. My concentration on most anything is diminishing. It has been for years. Telling me that Aunt Martha’s coming to visit is pertinent information. The direction she’s traveling isn’t.

Hopefully I’m not the only person that after talking to someone, has to silently wonder,

“What did he or she just say?”

I’ve been smack dab in the middle of a conversation having my mind suddenly take a sharp left turn.

Sometimes I discover myself getting heavy eyes while the pastor preaches. It seems the older I get the more this happens. At least it hasn’t got to the point of nodding off like one fellow in our congregation. He sleeps through the whole service.

Former President Bill Clinton had a classic case of sleepitis. This was observed by millions during wife Hillary’s speech. My spouse complains that I have selective hearing. Many wives say their husbands are inflicted with the disease. Evidently it’s highly contagious.

A friend of mine is a big word expert. It’s not that Rod has more education than me. I’m guessing that my pal has a book of big words close by. Ever since high school one of his favorite lines has been,

“All is copacetic!” Rod tosses the statement out when asked how he or his family is doing. The answer should be, “Fine or good.”  That’s what the rest of us say.

I don’t believe my buddy impressed anyone with his technical reply, because most folks didn’t understand such. Mom gave Rod a blank stare the first time she heard it.  Copacetic and pathetic sound too much alike. Echoing through aged ears I’m sure some hearing-impaired folks thought he said,

“All is pathetic!”

I suppose they walked away believing Rod was depressed and needed psychiatric help. That’s one of the reasons I refuse to use big words. Folks having 7th or 8th grade reading skills are bound not to understand.

An English 101 professor claimed some people use big words to be ostentatious. I didn’t know what the word meant until looking it up.

Webster’s Dictionary defines it as: to attract attention and impress others. I’ve never been one to impress people, yet have attracted lots of attention over the years; mostly while driving. When you think about it, ostentatious and Austin, Texas almost sound the same.

I drove through Austin, Texas many years ago.  My family was headed to San Antonio at the time. If you were to ask what I thought of the city I’d say without hesitation,

“Hunky dory.”

That’s one of my big words. For those not knowing the meaning, a dictionary of slang defines it as: fine, good, or okay. Hopefully by using the term no one thinks I’m being ostentatious. That would not be copacetic.

If you believe what you just read is quite pathetic. You’re probably not the only one!