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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


The following is concerning words that I have stumbled across, run up on, saw out of the corner of my eye, found in crossword puzzles or just ones that generally are not heard in everyday conversation.

When I think of the word caldron, the image that comes to mind is one of a huge black pot sitting on a roaring wood fire. This image comes complete with a witch stirring her brew with a large wooden stick or paddle.

But then the reality of my memory brings back to mind the caldron we had in the country when I was a kid. It seems that my Mom used to boil our clothes in this large black pot. Of course this was done outside and this was also the same pot in which my Mom made lye soap. Don’t remember all the ingredients of the soap but I know it contained lye and the fat trimmed from slaughtered animals. These and possibly other ingredients were boiled together – then was taken off the fire and allowed to cool and harden. It was sliced in blocks that made it easier to handle. I understand it was good soap but not exactly easy on the skin.

The crossword puzzle clue was ‘pin-up’s leg’ – the answer was ‘gam’, a word that hasn’t seen much use since the ‘40s and even then not in proper circles. A quick check in my hand-held dictionary revealed the word gamin – defined as a boy who hangs around on the streets. Following that is gamine – which describes a girl with the same hang out habits. Then there was gammer – defined as an old woman. The very next word, strangely enough, was gammon – a cured ham or side of bacon – don’t know if any of these ‘g’ words are related or if one might lead to the other.

Many folks, even younger ones, suffer from the condition of ennui and don’t even know it. At first glance this word sounds like a weird medical condition and in a way I guess it is, but boredom – which is what it means – can be cured by simply having a meaningful something to do. This doesn’t mean just having a multiplicity of things to do without any time between, because we must have some quiet times to think and recover our peace of mind – but most importantly to listen to God.

It is a bit disturbing to me to see a generation coming along that must be constantly entertained and have continuing noise of some sort every moment. God can speak to us in many ways but most often does in a still small voice that we cannot hear unless we quieten the noises in our life and listen to God on purpose. ec


Blogger Bonita said...

I've never heard the phrase 'listen to God on purpose', and I like it very much. I'm losing my hearing, so I'm also trying to listen to the sounds of Nature, embedding them to be cherished when I can see a brook, but not hear it, see the Chicadees, but not hear them.

2/14/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Mr Eddie ~~ Words are interesting
aren't they? Especially ones in
crosswords. They can be quite
tricky. I like words like Gentle
Serenity, Fond and Peaceful.
I guess we all have favorites.
Have a great day.

2/15/2006 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

Logically then, gammon, would indicate old men. I guess that's right as we are some kind of hams.
It's intresting you bring up that "still, small voice" as it was the subject of study at church Wednesday last.

2/15/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Jayleigh said...

I love "ennui" because it's so descriptive, it's almost an onomatopoeia!

2/15/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger thebeloved said...

I have this great book called The Dictionary of Word Origins and it tells all about the etymology of a huge number of words.

2/15/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - And I like the fact that you are storing up the sounds of nature, using what you can, while you can. So many that are not losing their hearing are not taking advantage of it.

merle - Words are fascinating to me, among my many favorites are Love and Joy.

TMG - I like your train of thought, I have been somewhat of a ham a time or two. :)

jayleigh - Yes - even many folks don't know how to pronounce it - I like the sound of French.

thebeloved - I have a few on etymology and find them very informative - when I take time to read them. :) ec

2/16/2006 12:31:00 AM  

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