Monday, November 28, 2011


This and/or similar observations of our English language circulate the Internet, but I find this one uniquely, partially set to rhyme. As it came the circuitous route of "forwards" no author was listed. Just in case there is one, apologies for no attribution.

An Ode to the English Plural

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are
Square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
[N.B.:  I would call it the odd one at the end.
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English,
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
[N.B.:  Maybe we were, and just don't know it.]
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop? 

No wonder it is difficult for legal immigrants to learn the language before they can become American citizens! --NitWit1

After a lovely meal with church friends who have embraced us in the tradition that the Christian belief teaches, and, later, an afternoon and evening watching my favorite sport, football, where most of my favorite teams won, I read a few chapters of my current book, TALE OF TWO CITIES.

This is a rather dark setting of two cities, London and Paris, during the French Revolution. Despite its ominous setting, it is a characteristic of much writing during this period that I term morality themes, mostly how human beings treat each other. In this story, it was less that decent--in fact downright evil.

Afterward, I reflected how thankful many of us are who live in countries, where human decency encompasses compassion for us when we err, even court systems which provide a decent trial of peers. It is by no means perfect, and sometimes errs in its decisions, but it is the best that man has determined.

The setting is 1775 and the "American problem" is vaguely mentioned in the TALE.

My reflections included my personal year of frequent mountaintop to valley experiences, the wonderful vacation despite my infirmities, our humble contributions to those less fortunate than myself, the deepening of my health problems, and the continuing joy of having found fellowship in a caring church family after searching most of my life, which may be no reflection on any certain church as my finding some peace within myself.

Some facets of these experiences have been shared with you, often with humor pointed at myself. Once in a while I whine, but laughter at my own infirmities and shortcomings is far more palatable.

Now we are entering the season of remembering the season where emphasis is good will and giving which are supposed to reflect the message of the belief, not only of the Christian belief, but also other beliefs.

Now, with this long soliloquy finished, I am now transitioning Christmas Season which all to often becomes frenzy, madness, depression and utter lack of its original intent.

We feel most blessed to have arrived at old age, with reasonable stability, to be able to share with those who have not been so blessed. We have changed our focus over the past years to a far more gratifying mission of spending more of what we allotted to so called Christmas frenzy, to the many opportunities help others anonymously.

We have settled into a routine of (1) adopting a Christmas Wish family (more description) later, (2) assisting in fulfilling the needs of 3 families our church Life Group adopts from area schools, and taking close friends to dinner so we all enjoy friendship, (3) taking a few personal couples to a special restaurant for good food and fellowship. (4) Decorations are nil. (5) Christmas Day-duel solitude and reflection. (6) Gifts?

These ideas are further detailed below -if you care to read them:

(1) One of the charitable ventures we choose at Christmas is sponsored by the area daily Baxter Bulletin newspaper of Mountain Home, AR called Christmas Wish. The program started as a way to manage needy persons who slip through the usual charities to find some help. It mushroomed so greatly, it was morphed into a charity whose goal is to provide families with children some semblance of Christmas. Their entire focus is on children, other than some food provisions.

Christmas Wish  participation may be in several ways: (1) adopt a wish, (2) provide items needed, (3) volunteer. Therefore, persons who do not have sufficient funds participate in some way, like volunteering--always needed, or buy some only a  few items that may be needed by dozens of wishes.

How they do it I don't know, but the 400 plus wishes will be fulfilled in some measure before Christmas Day. I love this program, because it gives people several ways to contribute--not just money and shopping. They always need more volunteers who have time to help sort, the multitude of merchandise given them, sorting gifts, calling the families requesting help.

We have chosen to adopt a family this year. My husband picked one family out of the 400+ letters submitted. The family had one boy and two girls, and wanted help with a Christmas dinner as well as clothing and reasonable personal list of items for the children. The program has shopping guidelines  for those who adopt a family which makes the adopted families wishes conform similarly to those not adopted. anonymity is carefully guarded.

My husband (H) picked the Christmas Wish letter he wanted to adopt. Being childless, we are not accustomed to selecting clothing, much less toys. He picked one that the children were older and did not have a long list of toys.

H did his shopping early for the boy-having no trouble with a male teenager. He finished on a couple of hours one morning, and picked up one more item later.

Now to my shopping trip on Black Friday. No, I did not participate in any midnight sprees. A decade ago I did stand in ques to fight over deep cuts in merchandise, often on ourselves vs. the true spirit of giving.

A decade ago I did stand in ques to fight over deep cuts in merchandise, often for ourselves vs. the true spirit of giving. But I did venture to the king of merchandising, WalMart on Black Friday afternoon to shop for a family we adopted via a very successful charity established by our area newspaper.My trip caused more angst and anxiety, than pleasure, as I obsessed on being sure I got the appropriate requests an sizes right.

 I can barely shop clothing for myself being very short and chubby. The females on our Wish request were a subteen and barely a teen, both, apparently large. I drove the ladies at the dressing room desk nutz! nutz! nutz!, before I left. I also bought two, what I perceive to be, wallets for them. Then I had Best Friend (BF), who works for the Baxter Bulletin, re-check my purchases the same evening.

Sunday BF and I returned to WM for one additional "feminine" gift for the girls-makeup kits. This week we will carry our bounty to the Christmas Wish center for distribution.

(2)  Our Life Group has adopted three families, one from each of three schools in our area. H an I provide a fully cooked Christmas Dinner boxed by a local grocery chain. We bought 6 which is 1 extra, and one for us. We have given funds for other in the group to shop. We also contribute to the purchasing of gifts, while blessedly we have others who like to shop, usually in Branson, and wrap packages.

A Life Group shares in all facets of a project. Some cannot provide funds themselves, but they will shop, or wrap packages, deliver, etc. Some are able to do many things. We choose to give monetarily on gifts, but have tackled some sticky problems like last year we found a good used bicycle for boy. H cleaned it up and touched it up. We happen to know a citizen who renovates bicycles. Everyone shares as they can; no one is judged by what they do, or don't do.

(3) Then we take some couples from our circle of friends to dinner at a well-known fine restaurant, instead of buying gifts. This way we have the joy of their fellowship and friendship. This has proved more satisfying than gifting.

(4) After years of storing and putting decorations outside and inside, we gave away most of our outdoor decorations to a neighbor with children. We can enjoy them from afar. They live behind us. I put up two tabletop LED Christmas items, IF there is a clean table for them. If not, no big deal.

(5) Christmas Day, we lounge around, and I cook a box precooked Christmas turkey from local grocery chain. It has servings for 8-12, which we share around the neighborhood and with best friend, who is food editor where she works. She COOKS all year, as anything she prints she first runs a trial effort. Not to cook a huge dinner for two is relaxing, and she probably enjoys a day from doing work, but she does love to cook. Occasionally, we have all bought dinners at the local VFW, too.

(6) After years of trying to get appropriate gifts for each other, a couple united from diverse heritage, education and culture, we agreed to personally purchase one "gift" for birthday and one for Christmas. These are not necessarily done at the specific date, nor is there any price limitations. However, I usually mention my choices. My birthday is Oct. 13 but this year I purchased a new lens for my camera in August so I would have it for our Sept. vacation. Christmas will probably be a camera body which will also fit the same lens. No doubt this purchase will be made after Christmas.

And if something else pops up, we help, too. This goes for the whole year. Yes, we have been scammed a few times, but we learn to discern, without judgment.

For me personally this year, my part in these efforts has been somewhat tiring, but it is a pleasant "tired." 

Hanging over our heads is the limitation the present heart medication is effective has expired; I can tell the next step, whatever it may be, is looming, probably this coming year. I have had a few fibrillation episodes through this drug routine, but they have been short. The episodes are becoming longer but so far, no more frequent.

I hope to be back with another episode from our trip, probably the Badlands.


rosaria said...

This is so rich, in so many ways!

Arkansas Patti said...

Your choices display the real spirit of Christmas. Well done.

Lorna said...

Rosaria and Patti have said what I wanted to say about your approach to Christmas. The diversity of the english language is fun to see in that poem; not only is it funny, it rhymes.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

We have a Christmas Angel program here which must be like your Christmas Wish program. It's an opportunity to help less fortunate children have a happy holiday.

Good for you for practicing the real meaning of Christmas.

Sandi McBride said...

Wow, I just loved this post...from beginning to're an accomplished writer in so many ways!
Sandi (and Hound)

Cheryl said...

Wonderful post. We have adopted a child through our local YMCA for many years...our children have all grown up doing this. It truly is a fun shopping trip to find the one "special" gift the child has asked for...last year though one request was for snow boots and the other for a winter jacket. It breaks my heart to know a child needs such necessities and doesn't ask for toys as those fortunate children can. We also take dog/cat food and blankets and towels to our animal shelter for the pets Christmas. You have touched upon the true Christmas spirit here. Thank you.

Amber Star said...

Not only did your post show your wonderful take on the true Christmas spirit, but from others I realized I'd missed the animal shelter. We have what is calle an Angel Tree where we live and sometimes my daughter in law and I get one tag and buy everything on the list.

I have been a recipient of your kindness in the past and think fondly of you whenever anything about lillies comes up. *hugs*

Dimple said...

I got several good laughs from the poem, bless those who wrote it (I suspect there was more than one author!) and you for publishing it here!

It is good to remember the original reason for Christmas, and to help others in ways that Jesus would have done. But it is unutterably sad that it has become so weighed down with stuff.

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

What a great post. I so enjoyed reading how you are celebrating the season.
I too have thought that I needed to do more for others this year than I have in the past. You have given me some great ideas.
Wanted to come by check on you and to give you heads up on my giveaway.
Hope you get a chance to put your name in the hat

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

What a great post. I so enjoyed reading how you are celebrating the season.
I too have thought that I needed to do more for others this year than I have in the past. You have given me some great ideas.
Wanted to come by check on you and to give you heads up on my giveaway.
Hope you get a chance to put your name in the hat