Smoother Spelling

Good morning everyone,

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt word is SMOOTH — an excellent, versatile word.

My dictionary claims this comes from the Old English smōth. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems English is the only language with a unique TH sound. And yet more, we’re blessed with two. Consider the SMOOTH TOOTH, for example. Do you have ny idea how much anguish these two sounds give ESL students?

It may have been much handier for learners — and certainly for spellers — had the ancients decided on separate spellings. FTH or THF for the one blown out and TH for the other — as in “this, that and the other” — which would make ‘tooth’ spelled toofth. Youngsters and people with missing teeth are apt to say “toof” anyway, and “fink” instead of think.

Back to things that are SMOOTH:
Once upon a time I took up the hobby of painting on rocks. Just bugs and such, as I don’t have access to the huge, smooth stones such as people by the ocean can find. With less than perfect stones you can use putty to fill in the dips and bumps, but rocks need to be tumbled in water for years, maybe even centuries, to polish them to a smooth roundness.

Beech & stone.Wokandapix
Art by Wokandapix  —  Pixabay

Along the Saskatchewan River, not so very far from us, there are rocks embedded in the soil on the hillsides, but the ones I see are chunky. Right here where we live the soil is classed as dune sand, a once-upon-a-time flood plain. You can dig down ten meters and rarely find a stone of any size. All this sand is great for purifying the rain-water that soaks in.

The water table is high, only about two metres down; the original settlers in this area dug their wells with a shovel. Now one enterprising young man has a high pressure water “drill” and drills holes for posts by washing out the sand and dirt mix. Talk about a smooth operation.

Modern Times & Grandma

THE MODERN GRANDMA

The old rocking-chair will be empty today
for Grandma no longer is in it.
She’s off in her car to her office or shop;
she buzzes around every minute.
You won’t see her trundling off early to bed
from her chair in a warm chimney nook;
her typewriter’s clicking far into the night,
for Grandma is writing a book!

Our heroine never allows backward looks
to slow down her steady advancing;
there ‘s no baby-sitting for her anymore—
for Grandma has taken up dancing.
She isn’t content with her thoughts of old times,
with meager and second-hand knowledge.
So don’t bring your mending for Grandma to do
for Grandma has gone back to college!

🙂

I’ve Googled and found this poem listed as “Author Anonymous” in several books, with a few variations. I found this version in the 1976 Friendship Book of Francis Gay. None of them mentioned Grandma running for office, but modern grandparents are doing that, too.

Yes, the lot of grandparents has changed very much my grandparents’ day. We’ve lost some important connections and probably thrown too much wisdom “out with the bathwater,” as Grandma would say. But in many ways I’m very thankful for the freedom seniors have today.

At the Villa one day over dinner we talked about some of the changes that make it possible for handicapped people to get out and about, like walkers, motorized wheelchairs, sidewalk ramps. And then there are health benefits like cataract surgery and macular degeneration treatment to prevent blindness and various medications to regulate the heart and keep people active longer. So Grandma can go back to college. 🙂

I think of my Grandma, who went from home to home visiting her children, not often appreciated by the grands. She had basically no interaction with us except to reprove bad behaviour. The mentality back in her childhood would have been “children should be seen and not heard”; it was not for parents to have a rapport with their children.

One older man told his son, “I envy you that, that you young fathers are encouraged to be close with, and affectionate to, your children. When I was young, fathers were to represent Authority, be stern and dole out correction.”

Some widowed grandmothers a century ago were simply “taken in” by whoever of the children had the most room or time to care for her. I would—and I  think most grandmothers now would—far rather have their own small quarters in a senior’s residence than be the “fifth wheel” in a busy family.

Reality of the Thing

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is PERCEPTION

soap-bubble-824565_640I have to think of a balloon, before and after. Or what appears to be a little “planet orbiting in space” and the spot of soap left behind when it hits another object.

One day here in the office I witnessed a very small but rather amusing incident involving my cat, Pookie. My husband had been going through old papers and I ran a large stack through our shredder, filling a black garbage bag full and tying it off, ready for recycling.

Awhile later Pookie was in the office, eyeing that large bag against the wall. Did he see something on the bag that seemed to be moving, or did he simply want to attack that black monster? A moment later he pounced, claws digging into the plastic.

As you know, a garbage bag of shredded paper is mostly air, right? Between the punctures, and his own weight, there he was, hanging onto the bag that was slowly deflating under him. He looked quite bemused for a moment. But the monster, once subdued, didn’t hold his interest for long.

How many fearful “monsters” don’t we perceive lurking in our pathway, yet they end up deflating like Pookie’s bag when we actually tackle them?

Sunshine on the Snow

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is LOOKING OUT MY FRONT DOOR.

Since we live in a mobile home, with both doors on the same side, the view isn’t any different. However, today we do have a lovely view — with a promise of spring to come. Yesterday morning the temp was -31C first thing; this morning it was -14, so a great improvement. Hubby says it’s +1 C this afternoon. With the sun so bright and warm, our snow is getting soft.

Because we’ve been putting out birdseed, a flock of English sparrows has moved into our trees; we see a lot of them in the caragana bushes outside our front window. As I write this, dozens are scrambling around and under the bird feeder, grabbing what they can.

Come spring when the tree swallows return, I’ll be ready to shoot all these aggressive English invaders before they drive my swallows away. I see a few have already claimed the swallow nest on the garage. By feeding the birds we were actually hoping to attract chickadees and woodpeckers, and one hairy woodpecker does raid the feeder regularly.

I’m not feeling very inspired to write today, so this will have to be a sufficient response. However, while I’m here I’ll mention another writing prompt you might like to try your hand at: Crispina’s Creative Challenge, or CCC. Every Wednesday Crispina Kemp posts a photo as inspiration and you can write up to 150 words, in any genre. Better yet, you have a whole week to do it.

This week’s picture is a rather forlorn old mill. Check it out HERE

Go For It!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is GO.

To be or not to be?” might be the pertinent question of life, but it’s one we’ve never debated at our house. “To go or not to go?” frequently comes up.

For example, today my husband wants to go to the city, but the thermometer reads -33 C. “To stay home where it’s warm or to go out in the extreme cold and risk freezing my nose?” That is the question — and the answer isn’t hard to guess. 🙂

Interestingly, the post that appeared in my In-Box right after this one was the poem “FLY”, by Bill at The Write Idea. In a flash my mind jumped to phrase, “Go fly a kite.” Common when I was young, it’s probably considered antique by now.

GO is a basic word, yet my dictionary has over a whole page of variations in meaning as well as idioms formed with GO. Makes me think of a mother duck with her bunch of offspring trailing after.

Ducks.IanWilson
Photo credit:  Ian Wilson — Pixabay

Get the go-ahead
Go back on…
From the word go
From the get-go
Go great guns
Go out with
Going together
Go off in a huff
Go for it!

Nice chatting with you. Now I’d best get going…