Our Fair or Fare Language

Fall Table decorations by Martha Jr (aka Barb)

Many of us use different figures of speech to emphasise things. Most of the time it is an appropriate saying such as "Can't dance and it's too wet to plow." But often some obscure words come out and no one really knows the origin of the saying or the exact meaning. "Heavens to Betsy" as an exclamation doesn't have a literal meaning, just that it sounds like what we mean. Is it fare to say that it is it complicated or that we need to pay the price (as in fare) to use them. The other night as we went to hear the Topeka Festival Singers, we were regaled with the Westborough Baptist Church's all girl "A Capella" choir singing their rendition of God Hates America. Instead of our favorite song, they filled it with all sorts of creative sayings some of which were amusing to me but none of them I will include here.

Here in the Heartland, a term I adopted because Ohio thinks they are in the Midwest, many sayings have come to us from whence we came. I grew up with Art's use of Gott in Himmel and I never was sure if it was jars in a figurine or god in heaven. All I was sure of was it was never said when a pretty girl walked by, only when something dastardly had happened. As a young man that loved food, I was easily swayed to his way of thinking by some of the great German food put on their table by Carrie. She was my kindergarten teacher and next door neighbor and always good for a graham cracker handout now and then.

Where I absolutely fell in love with the funny use of words was in the Army Field Artillery. They would take something like laying an aiming circle to make sure the guns are all pointing in the same direction and turn it into phrases. SAD-ULU was not a description of an African Warrior. It was simple subtract the Azimuth of fire from the Declination Constant and using the Upper, lower(floating the needle), upper motion putting that setting on the aiming circle. Another was take the fire out of the old lady. Subtract the Azimuth of fire out of the angle of the end of the Orienting line (Upper recording motion) and put it on the circle while siting on the end of the Orienting line (Lower Motion). Then of course, what young hot blooded male didn't want to yell, "The Battery is Laid" once the common direction is established.

I also love word stories that end with mixed up phrase such as, "People who live in grass huts shouldn't store thrones." I had a friend that would start every class he taught in the Guard with one of those funny twisted word stories. Most of us thought it was great if we could evoke a chuckle from the audience and he would absolutely shine if people threw paper wads at him when he would tell a bad pun. He once spent several minutes to set up a baseball story to use the line, "It was the bear that made Mef Famey walk us."

In my history of living in Kansas, I can't remember many falls that have been nicer or longer. The mornings start out cool enough to wear a jacket but the afternoons have been glorious. Almost too nice to stay inside for an afternoon nap. A year ago we about froze our butts off at the Lenexa Chili Festival. This year we wore short sleeved shirts and loved it. It is my hope that we can continue to ride our bikes at the lake until well after Thanksgiving. Yes, hard core people would ride outside all year long, but don't confuse me with that 20 year old hard core Lieutenant I 0nce was. I could "Hump a ruck" (carry a back pack) with the best of them once but now I work hard to remember punch lines.


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