The n-word (or, the fully unclothed truth)

The “n” in the title is deliberately lower case, to differentiate it from the very Nasty N-word that makes most of us grit our teeth.

Nevertheless, this particular lower case n-word has great power over me. The power to make me blush.

No. I am not going to write it out. I’m relying on my favorite way of dealing with words that offend my prudish sensibilities—
the euphemism.

Two of my favorites for this particular n-word are “birthday suit” and “in the altogether.”
Figured out what it is yet?
No? How about a synonym.
Never mind. I don’t like any of those either.

Here’s one of my own.
“Fully unclothed”

The first time I remember reading the n-word was maybe in 2nd grade? One of the Little House books, I think. The description of a tornado and the devastation it left hit me hard. I’ve been terrified of twisters ever since. But then. THEN. The narration described a survivor of the storm as being “n-word as a jaybird.”

Well. Yuck. That was my first reaction. I didn’t want to be caught up in a tornado and I especially didn’t want it dropping me off fully unclothed.
Hot on the heels of that gut-level prude reaction came judgement.
How could a book for kids print a word like that? I think I half expected it to incinerate before my eyes.

Cartoon birth

“Ick” and “that wasn’t nice!” are two of the natural-born prude’s natural reactions to things of the flesh. The final is embarrassment. What if someone—say God—caught me reading the n-word?

(This is a good time to take the blame for my prudishness off my parents and put it squarely where it belongs. An unknown genetic anomaly that develops freeform and randomly in a limited number of human children. [The animal kingdom appears immune. To my consternation. Many is the time I wished Rhesus monkeys were partial to pants.] If you’re worried that your offspring might be susceptible, don’t be. The prude gene is becoming increasingly extinct. My point is, my parents, although never given to swearing or vulgarity, are not responsible for my prudish nature. I was born this way.)

Maybe other prudes can handle the n-word. Prudes who don’t so closely link spoken or written words with mental images. When I hear or read the term “birthday suit,” a picture of someone crowned with icing and a candle on the head cavorting in confetti pops into my mind. The phrase ‘In the altogether’ springs into my minds eye a pleasingly plump individual, slightly pink, and tastefully blurred from the neck down. No, I don’t know why.

Cartoon Buster

But the n-word? Or any of its synonyms? When I hear or see it or its associates— say ‘nudy-rudy’ word or the homonym for “bear”—and my mind runs madly for a beach towel or nice opaque sheet to cover the vision flashing in my head.

I have never been happy with the mess Adam and Eve led us into, but I’ve always been intensely grateful that in the aftermath, God at least let us wear clothes.

 

Note- the above cartoons are from “Cartoon Cavalcade” edited by Thomas Craven and published by Consolidated Book Publishers in 1945. Which means that although the cartoons I used were created before 1919 they may not actually be in the public domain and I could be in violation of copyright.  But dug-nub-it. I worked so hard on finding appropriate—in more  ways than one—images and adding text. I’m going to live dangerously.

To every decoration, there is a season

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I knew I should have been taking more vitamins. Practicing those limber-up moves and establishing regular sleep habits. Repeating positive thoughts at regular intervals to myself.
Because the Big Day is tomorrow. March 1. The day that will require every bit of energy and organization and perseverance.
It is the day the winter decorations come down.

People, I have a lot of winter decorations. These are not to be confused with the Christmas decorations that come down January 2. After ditching everything attendant on that season, I perform a hasty cleanse and pull out the Winter Box.
Down with the Christmas tree, up with the Winter trees. Away with reds and greens and golds, in with silvers and whites. Angels are replaced with snowmen. So. Many. Snowmen. Poinsettias make way for greens and frosty pinecones.

 

For almost two months I enjoy the cozy season and my cozy decorations. Then, the last week of February, a strange restlessness sets in. The snow might still be up to our windowsills, the temps might still hover around freeze-your-nose-off, but I’m beginning to cast glances of disfavor at the snow globes, the ice fishing moose, the ice skating American Girl outfits.
That’s when I know. It’s time to strip my shelves and walls and tables of all things winter. The St. Patrick’s Day decorations, though paltry in number, will come out. The green reminds me that spring will come. In spite of the aforementioned sill-high snow.

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But before the greens and the shamrocks can claim their rightful places, hundreds of winter things must come down. Did I mention that a family of four could easily live in the Winter Box?
Tomorrow, March 1, you’ll find me chugging the coffee and repeating positive phrases and stopping for deep, cleansing breaths. At the end of the day nary a snowflake will be seen. Everything winter will be packed away, waiting, (Lord willing) to be greeted with shouts of approbation and great affection on January 2, 2020.

Version 2

Ode to a Germ

Two weeks ago, I WAS SO SICK. Every possible symptom of the flu attacked me, from the tips of my hair follicles to the ends of my toes, and every major and minor organ between. I was so, so sick that I couldn’t talk about how sick I was when I was sick, and now that I’m better I fight the urge to tell family, friends, casual acquaintances and our mail carrier about every symptom. In detail.

When I was sick I was too sick to really worry about how sick I was but now that I’m better I’m worried when a little grandson is down with fever and chills. This poem is for you, sweetheart. Get better soon and we’ll swap symptom stories.

 

THE GERM

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.

Ogden Nash

 

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Ode to my Valentine

I found this poem…somewhere…when my husband and I were engaged. (Not on the internet/Pinterest/a meme—how did we stumble on things back in those prehistoric times?)

I wrote it out and gave it to him and I think he got a kick out of it. Hope you do too!

 

All Because You Kissed Me Goodnight

I climbed up the door
And opened the stairs
Said my pajamas
And put on my prayers
Then I turned off the bed
And crawled into the light
All because you kissed me goodnight.

The next morning I felt normal again
So I picked up the eggs
And toasted the phone
Fed the dog papers
And threw dad a bone

Then came midnight
And the sun was still shining
So I hopped on the door
And opened my bed
Switched on my book
And read the light
All because you kissed me goodnight.

Author Unknown

 

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Some salt with that sentence, please?

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Some of us have learned how indigestible our words can be when we have to eat them.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “eating your words,” here’s what happens.
We state an opinion or “fact.”
We learn the stated opinion wasn’t based fully on facts.
We learn our facts were not correct.
The subsequent admission of our error is eloquently called “eating our words.”

Seldom do those words taste as good coming back in as they did going out.
At best they are bitter, at the worst they burn all the way down.

If you were born in the pre-millennial days, you often could dine on those unpalatable words almost in private. No matter how big a mouth you had, of necessity, only a few people heard you.

Now, when we blab an opinion, when we share a link on social media, our platform is as big as our friend group. Bigger, if people share our opinion or link.
If that opinion turns out to be built on lies, if the story we share turns out to be less than honest,
and we learn the truth—what do we do?

Of course we could just move on to the next story and pretend we never said anything wrong. And our faulty opinions and false stories just pile up and rot and pollute and ultimately spread a malaise that makes everyone sick.

But we are bigger than that, aren’t we? (Probably because we’ve been eating our words for decades now.)

Of course you and I will admit that we didn’t take everything into account when we stated a heartfelt opinion. Or course we’ll confess that maybe we shared a link to a story before verifying it was factual.

We’re just that kind of people.

We’ve also learned the wisdom of that Scripture verse that says “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
(Colossians 4:6)

No matter how careful we are in choosing our words and opinions and stories to share, we will mess up.
So, we season everything that comes out of our mouth or social media sites with salt. Then, when necessary, we take a deep breath and eat the misspoken, mistaken words.

Himalayan pink or Morton’s finest, specialty blends or generic seasoning, I recommend we choose our words’ seasoning with care. Because sooner or later we will have to eat them.

A Song of Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t mix. Here is how I know: I’ll turn off the T.V. at the end of a Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas movie, my eyes filled to the brim with red and green and glitter—all the colors of Christmas. I turn to my living room. Filled with orange and gold and brown and all the decorations of Thanksgiving. And everything tilts a little and my stomach gets queasy and I need to shut my eyes and allow them to adjust. Not a smidgen of Thanksgiving can be left in my house before the holly and ivy and other million billion things get put up. And THAT does not happen till after every bit of Thanksgiving dinner is digested.

But oh boy. What a great holiday Thanksgiving is. Worth celebrating every single day of November. At least till Black Friday.  After all, there is so much to love. Here are a few loved by me—

Songs: “Let All Things Now Living (a Song of Thanksgiving) “For the Beauty of the Earth.” (Folliot S. Pierpoint ) Oodles more, but I am too lazy to look up the composers.

Books: These three, among others. I have never bonded with an adult book on Thanksgiving.IMG_2997

The one in the center is the newest favorite with my grandchildren and I. SO FUN TO READ!

Vintage decorations:  These are my maiden decorations, purchased many years before I married and I was a fledgling Thanksgiving devotee.IMG_2996

Favorite show/movie: Movie? The Mouse and the Mayflower. Show? WKRP in Cincinnati‘s episode “The Turkey Drop.” As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Favorite Food: Apple Pie. MY apple pie. Oh, and my Tollhouse Pie. Then there is my sister’s pecan pie. My daughter-in-law’s cranberry sauce, my other daughter-in-law’s sweet potato casserole…that is more than one favorite, you say? Hey, I didn’t make the rules.

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Old tradition: The hayride after supper to jostle all our food into a corner of our stomachs so we can come back and eat the above-mentioned pies.

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New tradition: Spoons. Our crew plays for blood. And sometimes marriages are stressed. All in good, clean fun. (We hide the small children and tiny adults when the game begins.)

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At Thanksgiving, I’m surrounded by blessings. Family, friends, food, fun. So many good things begin with “F.” Faith too. The top of the list, the beginning and the end, the gift of God to grab hold of the grace so freely given.

I’m thankful for you, too, my friends. There are problems galore with social media and the blog world. But so far, none of them have showed up here. What a classy group you are. Happy Thanks Giving—even if you are not an American. You are a blessing.

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