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Proper pronunciation

When newcomers arrive “out West,” they often mispronounce the names of towns, villages, townships or actual cities. Maybe it’s only true “out West,” but be advised that the emphasis is always on the first syllable of the name regardless if it’s one word or two. I might add, especially if it’s two syllables.

For instance, my town is Big Timber. It’s NOT BIG TIMber. No, no! It’s BIG Timber. This emphasis on first syllable accent might be true nationwide. Look up your area, see if that holds true.

Meanwhile here’s a list of towns in Montana starting with the letter “B.” Not all first syllables are emphasized unless it’s a three-word name. Then the middle syllable gets the duty.

• Bainville

• Baker

• Ballantine

• Basin

• Bearcreek

• Beaver Creek

• Belfry

• Belgrade

• Belt

• Big Arm

• Bigfork

• Big Sandy (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

• Big Sky (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

• Big Timber

• Billings

• Birney

• Black Eagle (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

• Boneau

• Bonner-West Riverside

• Boulder

• Box Elder (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

• Bozeman

• Bridger

• Broadus

• Broadview

• Brockton

• Browning

• Busby

• Butte-Silver Bow (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

And here’s a few “C” starting names:

• Cardwell

• Carter

• Cascade (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

• Charlo

• Chester

• Chinook (Exception!! This is pronounced emphasis on second syllable.)

• Choteau (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

• Circle

• Clancy

• Clinton

• Clyde Park (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

• Colstrip

• Columbia Falls (three syllables in first word. Second syllable gets the duty)

• Columbus (three syllables in first word. Second syllable gets the duty)

• Conrad

• Cooke City-Silver Gate (oh, heck. Emphasis on all syllables)

• Coram

• Corvallis

• Crow Agency (although this can be pronounced with same emphasis on each syllable)

• Culbertson

• Custer

• Cut Bank

That’ll do for now. Eyeball your own area just for fun.

Even in Alaska (emphasis on second syllable as it’s a three-syllable word). However, note that Yukon is pronounced Yukon. ❖

Maude takes a stand against swear word

My neighbor, Maude, brought up a question: To wit: Is anybody else sick and tired of hearing the “eff…g” word spewed forth by comedians, talk show hosts, teenagers and politicians — and nowadays — even small children?

Passion, volatility, strongly enthusiastic words … nothing justifies use of a word offensive to grammas. Not to worry. Maude has conceived a replacement word. What — what — you may eagerly inquire. The word is — drum-roll please — “potty-mouth.”

Read on as Maude elucidates: The following is the nursery rhyme: Mary Had A Little Lamb. Most folks are familiar with it. Maude repeats it here using the adjective “eff…ng.” Following the “eff…ng” version, she repeats again using the newly invented phrase: “potty-mouth.”

Mary had a “eff…ng” little lamb, “eff…ng” little lamb, “eff…ng” little lamb

Mary had a “eff…ng” little lamb, its fleece was white as “eff…ng” snow.

And “eff…ng” everywhere that Mary went, Mary “eff…ng” went, Mary “eff…ng” went,

And “eff…ng” everywhere that Mary “eff…ng” went, the “eff…ng” lamb was sure to go.

Mary had a “eff…ng” little lamb, “eff…ng” little lamb, “eff…ng” little lamb

Mary had a “eff…ng” little lamb its “eff…ng” fleece was white as “eff…ng” snow

And “eff…ng” everywhere that Mary “eff…ng” went, Mary “eff…ng” went, Mary “eff…ng” went

And “eff…ng” everywhere that Mary went, the “eff…ng” lamb was sure to “eff…ng” go

Okay … now, says Maude, substitute “potty-mouth” for “eff…ng.”

Mary had a “potty-mouth” little lamb, “potty-mouth” little lamb “potty-mouth” little lamb

Mary had a “potty-mouth” little lamb, its “potty-mouth” fleece was white as “potty-mouth” snow.

And “potty-mouth” everywhere that Mary “potty-mouth” went, Mary “potty-mouth” went, Mary “potty-mouth” went, the “potty-mouth” lamb was sure to “potty-mouth” go.

Several conclusions can be determined from the above exercise, Maude claims:

One: The new word should be sent to all talk-show hosts, screamers and radio blabber bullies, as well as all state and national politicians and those awful comedians who can’t think of anything witty to say unless it’s prefaced with the ultimately, endlessly boring “eff…ng” word.

Maude claims postive results such as: All the excessive passionately expressed verbiage could and would still be spit out but without embarrassing anybody. (Maude is sure we’d all “get it”).

And, Maude further insists, it’s obvious that “potty-mouth” is a whole lot funnier word especially if adopted by (which it won’t) Twitter Addicts. ❖

Rancher/farmer blues

The following poem was birthed nearly 20 years ago, but in light of the current nutso political circus, it still resonates loud, clear and worried. This version bemoans the drought years and, while this season, we’ve had rain (so much so, it’s hard to get hay baled before it rots), the daily challenge of growing food and fiber for the nation (including vegans and vegetarians) is not a walk in the park — tra-la.

Worried Farmer/Rancher Talking Blues (rap style)

Well it didn’t rain today, and it didn’t last night,

The grass is turning brittle and the pastures look a fright,

The springs in the hills are flowing pretty slow,

When will it rain? Nobody knows.

Well, it got so hot, the hens quit layin’,

Now they just sit around a-cluckin’ and a-prayin’,

And all of the bugs are hatching again,

Some of ‘em act like they’re real old friends.

And the dogs and the cats are lyin’ all around,

With their tongues hangin’ out and draggin’ on the ground,

If they see a critter movin’, and it’s goin’ real fast —

It’s too hot to chase, they just let it pass.

The pumps belch mud, and the streams go dry,

And the sun beats down and skin begins to fry,

And the wind stirs dirt all across the land,

And the dust gets thicker than snooze in a can.

Ranchers wean early, so the cows eat less,

Oh, when will it rain? Nobody can guess.

Ranchers sell down, no grass on the ground,

And not much hay anywhere around.

If you want to farm or ranch, here’s what to do,

Borrow money from your banker, he likes to worry, too,

Then sweat in the heat while you’re waiting for rain,

Misery’s part of the farm/ranch game.

A rancher’s creed says stick like glue,

Wear out your life like an old worn shoe,

You’ll know for sure when you fuss and stew,

You’ve got those worried farm/rancher blues. ❖

Friendship precious beyond measure

Friendships along the fragile and sometimes frenetic trail of one’s life are precious beyond measure. Here’s my sincere tribute to the friends I have known over the years. You may recite or sing to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. I plan to have the chorus imprinted on my tombstone.

ODE TO FRIENDSHIP

Chorus

For friendships I have known my dears

For auld lang syne

I’ll ne’er forget the kindness shown

For auld lang syne

Should friendships I have known my dears

I’ll always bring to mind

Should friendships err be forgot

And auld lang syne

Chorus

For friendships I have known my dears

For auld lang syne

I’ll ne’er forget the kindness shown

For auld lang syne

And here’s a hand, my friendship friend

And gie a hand o’ thine

And take a cup o’ kindness yet

For auld lang syne

Chorus

For friendships I have known my dears

For auld lang syne

I’ll ne’er forget the kindness shown

For auld lang syne

For friendships have been dear to me

For all these many years

How blessed I am to know each one

For auld lang syne

Chorus

For friendships I have known my dears

For auld lang syne

I’ll ne’er forget the kindness shown

For auld lang syne

And now I’m on my final ride

Along the trail of life

I’ll miss you everyone my dears

For auld lang syne

Chorus

For friendships I have known my dears

For auld lang syne

I’ll ne’er forget the kindness shown

For auld lang syne

A play in a bull corral

Today’s column is a short play. The characters: a pair of bulls — Cuthbert and Bonebag — are attempting to out-bellow each other in order to impress a pair of cute heifer cows, Fiona and Undine.

Setting: a bull corral built for stout.

Characters: Cuthbert and Bonebag, two stud-bulls. Fiona and Undine: a pair of cute heifers.

Outside the bull corral, Fiona and Undine, roll their big bovine eyes, switch their tails and shift from hoof to hoof as they stare between the corral bars where Bonebag Bull and Cuthbert Bull are squared off. Bonebag sighs. Cuthbert twitches. They lower their heads and commence whacking each other’s horns.

Fiona and Undine thoughtfully chew their cuds as they listen to the rattling of horns and pawing of earth which makes little dust-devil explosions.

Bonebag: “I’m the best bull here! My heritage goes way back!”

Cuthbert: (who suffers from a slight lisp) “How dare you thay that? I’ve obviouthly got better heritage than you. It theth tho on my papers. (The ring in Cuthbert’s nose rocks as he bobs his head to underscore his statement).

Bonebag: Rolls his eyes and sighs deeply. “What drivel! My plan calls for each and every newborn calf that gets born — due to my better bull service of course — is to receive its own computer free of charge.”

Cuthbert: “Ridiculuth! A calf should have the opportunity to make it on hith own like I did.”

Fiona: (Outside the corral) “Say, Undine, did you notice Cuthbert looks taller than he used to?”

Undine: (squinting) “You know, I think he really is taller. See there? He has chunks of two-by-four glued to the bottom of his hooves.”

Fiona: “Well, no wonder he’s twitchy. It must be hard to keep your balance perched on those little platforms.”

Undine: “Yeah, but they make him almost as tall as Bonebag, so maybe it’s worth it?”

(Inside the corral, Bonebag and Cuthbert begin yelling about whose calf offspring are the fastest-growing, best reproducers, and easiest on the eyes).

Fiona: (hiccuping her cud) “The way those bulls dodge and duck, makes ‘em look like cloven-hoofed dancers.”

Undine: “Ya think so? So, which one are you going to dance with?”

Fiona: (glancing down at her front hooves, discovered she was hock deep in sticky, gooey brown stuff).

Undine: “Probably, but you didn’t answer my question. Which of those two big bellerin’ bulls you gonna dance with.

Fiona: (Expelling a huge sigh and burp declared, “Undine, I tell you right here and now, if I dance at all, from what I can see from here, I’m a-gonna dance with the bull that’s got the biggest …”

Undine: (hurriedly interrupting) “NO! YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!”

Fiona: (puzzled) “Say what? I was just gonna say I won’t dance with either of those bulls unless he’s got a big …”

Undine: (again hastily interrupting). “Fiona! You can’t say THAT! It’ll never get printed!”

Fiona: (raising her left front hoof free of sticky brown cow-posy stuff, glanced askance at Undine).

“I can’t? All I was gonna say was that unless he’s got a big shovel with which to scrape this goop off my hooves, I won’t dance with him. (She paused). “What’d you think I was gonna say??!!” ❖

Trivia Quiz Game

Batch No. 2 of Cowboy Cowgirl Trivia Quiz Game.

21 What is a beaver slide?

A) Where baby beavers slide off the creek bank.

B) the b-flat wail of a blues song on a clarinet.

C) a device for stacking loose hay.

22 What is a houlihan?

A) an Irish jig.

B) a particular roping toss for catching horses in a crowded corral.

C) a character name on M*A*S*H* TV series.

23 What is a cowdog?

A) a dog that stays with the herd at all times.

B) a dog that has a sloping “cowlike” head.

C) a stockdog used to help trail a herd.

24 What is a cantle?

A) the raised back of a saddle.

B) a church liturgy.

C) a candle with an extra long wick.

25 What is a saddlehorn?

A) what a rider toots when meeting another rider.

B) the beeper bell when going through airport security.

C) a leather-covered protuberance on the front of a western saddle where a cowboy can dally his rope.

26 What is a cinch?

A) a sure thing.

B) a wide strap or band that goes around the horse’s belly to hold the saddle on his back.

C) a Victorian woman’s undergarment.

27 What is a honda?

A) Japanese made auto.

B) a men’s cologne.

C) an eyelet in the end of a cowboy’s lariat for making a noose.

28 What is riding drag?

A) riding at the tail end of a cattle drive.

B) men dressing in women’s garments.

C) making a horse drag a tire around to get the animal over fear of dragging objects.

29 What is a wrangler?

A) speaker of either House.

B) once, a man who took care of the horses, now most any cowboy riding the range or herding dudes.

C) a wrestler who pins his opponent in under 10 seconds.

30 What is a remuda?

A) a non-alcoholic diet drink.

B) a Mexican dish.

C) a herd of saddle horses.

31 What is riding point?

A) someone who tests the wind direction by holding up a wet finger.

B) one who rides ahead to locate a camp spot for the night.

C) a rider at the head of the herd to slow them down.

32 What is riding swing?

A) a swing for kids adapted from a saddle, attached with rope to a tree branch.

B) a cowboy dance.

C) a rider at the side of the herd — behind the flank man.

33 What is a cattle prod?

A) a talk show host

B) a steer with a bad attitude.

C) a stick, sometimes battery operated, used to encourage cows to move on.

34 What are jinglebobs?

A) pearshaped metal ornaments that dangle from spurs or bits.

B) earrings with tiny bells.

C) short commercials in verse.

35 What are chaps?

A) a group of Englishmen.

B) what happens when you don’t use lip balm.

C) seatless leggings.

36 What are batwings?

A) presidential ears.

B) the webbed tissue on bats allowing flight.

C) wide leather seatless leggings.

37 What is a headstall?

A) a clogged toilet.

B) vice-president

C) part of the bridle that fits over the horse’s head.

38 What is a hogging rope?

A) after butchering, the rope used to hang the carcass.

B) lariat used to rope a boar hog.

C) short rope used to tie wild cattle to trees.

39 What is a hackamore?

A) a computer whiz kid.

B) a western bridle without a bit consisting of a headstall, a bosal, a mecate and a fiador.

C) a chonic respiratory ailment.

40 What is a bosal?

A) Hungarian grain and vegetable salad.

B) the noseband of a hackamore.

C) a fancy hair clip for long hair.

41 What are shotguns?

A) What Dick Cheney uses to impress his friends.

B) a gun that has been fired.

C) tubelike leather seatless leggings.

42 What is a mecate?

A) a Starbucks specialty coffee.

B) twisted horsehair or cotton rope used on a hackamore for reins and lead rope.

C) a vegan meal.

43 What is a slick ear?

A) what happens after frost bite.

B) a term used to designate an unmarked animal or a maverick.

C) Rod Blagojevich.

44 What are Prairie or Mountain Oysters?

A) tiny mussel-like creatures found in creek beds.

B) dried buffalo dung — what early pioneers used for fuel.

C) breaded, deep-fried items removed from bull calves during branding. Considered a gastronomic treat by cowboys.

Older-than-dirt clubs

As one ages, one must inevitably give up all the things that make one want to live longer. Once you’ve wandered, shuffled, staggered or achieved the status of older-than-dirt maturity (through no fault of your own), you are eligible to join certain OTD (older-than-dirt) clubs. Be advised that these fellowships are not exclusive to older-than-dirt members. The clumsy, inept, bungling, young, old or bonkers individuals are welcome as well. However, OTD clubs are found mostly in old folks’ homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and gramma digs. To spice up the activities, many of these club-organizations hold regular contests. Winners get extra deserts with meals.

Club Drops-A-Lot: This activity is where the OTD (older-than-dirt) person chalks up how many times a day he or she drops a dish, a sack, a bag while carrying the item or picking it up or merely passing near where said item is quietly resting, minding its own business. At day’s end, the chalk marks are tallied. The OTD with the greatest number of drops wins an extra desert at mealtime. This game is played mostly in assisted living institutions and nursing homes.

Club Wrinkle-Counting: The number of face-wrinkles increases almost daily, thereby making regular re-counting a reliable repeat game. Note: Acquiring wrinkles as one achieves an OTD status is inevitable. Tallying them requires a certain skill as well as tri-focals — particularly for those horizontal lines on the forehead. How to test for horizontal wrinkles: While looking in a mirror, your brow may appear relatively smooth. Now, decisively lift your eyebrows. Note the myriad horizontal lines texturing your forehead. Those are wrinkles. (They look like weensy, skinny venetian blinds). These horizontal fine lines are difficult to count but give it a try — at least until you tire of holding your eyebrows in a lifted position.

Club Cursing: The Art Of Colorful Blasphemes. Choose one or two favorites to employ whenever you drop something or otherwise become irritated.

However, choice cursing may not be comfortable for everyone. If he or she is a habitual non-curser, trying to develop profanities could cause discomfort which contravenes the benefits. But not to worry. Non-vulgar-language individuals can create their own lexicon of words designed to be uttered in times of stress. Such as: “Durn!” Or: “Oh, Potholder!” Or: “Greasy spit!”

Club Memory Hopscotch: The art of trying to recall what it was you said, did, meant to do or should have done last month.

Some memory-jogging techniques include: Making lists. Keep a stack of small pocket-size spiral notebooks on hand. At any time, day or night, jot on the page of a notebook: a) what you intend to do that day (or night), b) what you plan to purchase at any store in town, c) what time you plan to go to town, d) who you mean to email this day e), who you mean to phone this day. Clearly, an OTD person can go through the entire alphabet and list stuff you need to accomplish, say, do or remember. Just as clearly: Nothing works. As you age, you can’t remember squat.

Club Cane Chasing: The art of capturing a rogue cane which has been dropped, forgotten, lost or strayed. If you’re an OTD and have adopted a cane as a constant companion, you will find that canes are notoriously guilty of hiding, falling and otherwise causing serious anxiety, wrath and discomfort. Coping with unruly canes requires some modest physical agility. Catching one as it dives for the floor improves your eye/hand dexterity.

There are other clubs I could mention, but just to reassure folks, this column is meant to be humorous, not derisive. Though you or I may have arrived at the older-than-dirt stage of life, and regardless of the joys or sadness, ups, downs, disappointments, tragedies or suffering that you or I have encountered on the journey, I, for one, consider myself fortunate — and grateful.

Steven Colbert (host of a late-night comedy program) said it beautifully: It’s a gift to exist and with existence comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.

Mantra: Onward to the next adventure along the path of existence! ❖

The Vegetarian March

Being a rancher means a lot of things. It might mean you get to buy an expensive pedigreed bull to improve your herd and he either shoots blanks or snubs your cows and tears through three fences to breed the neighbor’s scrub heifers. The neighbor sells 700 pound calves every fall and hasn’t had a bull on the place in years.

Being a rancher also means you must defend your occupation to vegetarians because you grow animals intended to become food. Vegetarians, vegans and various in-between life-choices are those who have never seen actual earth-dirt except that which oozes up between cracks in sidewalks. These holier-than-thou persons preach, with pious conviction, that eating tofu, plastic butter and pretend burgers will allow them to wear a halo, make childbirth a pleasure and live forever.

Here’s news: Someday the “Vs” will find themselves lying in a hospital bed dying of nothing.

I may have “shared” all this in the past, but just in case, here’s the Meat-Eaters-Marching Tribute to the “Vs”.

You may sing, play or recite … Just do it loudly … (tune: Battle Hymn of the Republic).

VEGETARIAN MARCH

Mine ears have heard the stories from the vegetarian nerds

They are trampling on the ranges where my cows once roamed in herds

They have voiced their goofy slogans till we’re sick of silly words

Chorus…

Holy, holy, vegetarians

Holy, holy, vegetarians

Holy, holy, vegetarians

Their shoes are made of cow.

The vegetarian watcheth from the safety of his camps

He babbles his religion in the evening dews and damps

As he worships leeks and lettuce in the dim and flaring lamps

He will not eat a chop

Chorus…

He hath eaten fiery peppers mixed with eggplant he hath peeled

For protein he eateth tofu which hath yucky taste appeal

He can see a carrot growing far across a farmer’s field

He will not eat a steak

Chorus…

He hath crunched the red, red radish and he loveth lowly beets

He hath swallowed raw alfalfa and hath taketh garlic neat

For broccoli he hungers; he finds cauliflower a treat

He won’t eat burger meat

Chorus…

Oh, he eateth veggies holy so he’ll never come to grief

He prattles and he preacheth that it’s wrong to feast on beef

He keeps his gums a bumping till and he prays for his belief

And forever he doth bleat

Chorus…

Holy, holy, vegetarians

Holy, holy, vegetarians

Holy, holy, vegetarians

Their shoes are made of cow. ❖

Resourceful cowgirls

“Resourcefulness” — noun — defined in my dictionary as “the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.”

Such a quality is true of ranch women, especially cowgirls. Many moons ago, I worked on a dude ranch in a southern western state. No, not as a horse wrangler. Rather, because I was a girl, naturally I was relegated to wrangling food in the kitchen. Partnering with me was another gal, a cowgirl by the name of JoAnn. She and I hit it off right from the start.

Our stint of resourcefulness occurred one afternoon when we had to prepare snack finger-food to be served to guests during the late afternoon cocktail hour. Not a problem. We whipped up two platters of assorted goodies. We set the trays on a side counter while we attended to other tasks.

When cocktail hour arrived, the dude ranch owner (the wife — whom we had christened “Witch Woman” — except we privately replaced the “W” in witch with a “B”). Anyway, when Mrs. B.W. strolled into the kitchen to inquire if the snacks were ready, JoAnn and I chorused, “you bet!”

“Good,” said Mrs. B.W. “You may bring them,” she said, looking at her watch — “in about 10 minutes or so. The guests are just now assembling.”

“Okay,” we answered.

The 10 minutes or so passed by. JoAnn and I each turned to pick up a tray of yummies. Oh, oh … the assorted snack-food choices had been invaded by ants, an entire battalion of ants and all their relatives! JoAnn stared at me. I stared at her. Without a single word being exchanged, we reached into the dish cupboard, brought down two clean trays, plucked two paper doilies from the doily drawer of the counter cabinet, placed doilies on new trays and set these on a separate spot a good way away from the ant-infested trays.

Still wordless, JoAnn and I both began brushing, blowing, whisking and hand-picking ants off the snack-food items, then placing said ant-free pieces onto the fresh trays. We had almost finished ridding scurrying pesky insects from all food items when Mrs. B.W. swept into the kitchen.

“Girls! The guests are all assembled in the fire-place room. You may bring in the hors d’oeuvres,” she said trying — and failing — to sound as if she spoke French.

“Yes, Ma’am,” we said.

While I continued the task of separating ants from finger-food, JoAnn swiveled around, standing with her back to the counter in order to shield the trays from unwanted observation. “We’ll be right there,” she warbled.

Mrs. B.W. nodded, apparently satisfied, and departed.

As JoAnn turned around to eyeball the trays, I whispered, “almost done,” and flicked off what I hoped was a last slow-moving ant from a 4-inch square of cucumber sandwich.

Then, proudly, we each bore a tray of finger-food goodies into the fire-place-living-room-cocktails-served room. Carefully, JoAnn placed her tray on a coffee-table, and I established the other on a sideboard counter.

“Thank, you, girls,” said Mrs. B.W. in her best “hostess-of-the-manor” purring voice. “That will be all.”

Neither JoAnn, nor I, said a word. We merely turned — with utmost dignity — and exited.

Back in the kitchen, we each inhaled deeply. “Whew,” said JoAnn.

“Ditto,” said I.

As far as I know, not one of the assembled dude-ranch guests ate an ant. If anyone did, a little extra protein never hurts.

Cowgirls are ever resourceful. ❖

What did you say?

Maybe it’s because I’m used to a rural ranch-country drawl, but I ask you. Is the entire population speaking faster than anyone can listen or decipher what’s been said?

Or maybe, I have a “condition” that happens as one enjoys one’s later years? Which is to say, I don’t understand spoken words anymore. Which is to say that warp-speed conversation is today’s method of communication. Or at least I believe that must be true. I’m not positive as I’m not sure what anyone is actually saying.

To illustrate, allow me to run the above paragraphs together with no spaces, no periods, no punctuation, no pauses and no place to take a breath.

MaybeitsbecauseImusedtoarural- ranchcountrydrawlbutIaskyouIstheentirepopulationspeakingfaster thananyonecanlistenordecipherwhat’sbeensaidOrmaybeIhaveaconditionthathappensasoneenjoysoneslater yearsWhichistosayIdontunderstandspokenwordsanymoreWhichistosaythatwarpspeedconversationistodays methodofcommunicationOratleastIbelievethatmustbetrueImnotpositiveasImnotsurewhatanyoneisactuallysaying.

See what I mean? By the time the above is decoded, one has forgotten what one was meaning to write/say in the first place.

Recently, I ate lunch in a local restaurant which employs lots of youngsters during summer break. When I asked the young waitress to tell me what was the special for the day, she said: behappytotellyouitsbeefribsandriesandslaworbeefstroganoffovernoodleswithfriesandslaw. She managed every incomprehensible word in one breath.

I could only stare. I uttered, “what?” And she repeated the babble. Again, I could only stare as I attempted to interpret. Finally, I requested, “would you mind slowing down a bit and say again?”

It took about 10 minutes for me — eventually — to put in an order for a meal.

Later, I went to the local ACE hardware store to purchase a fresh battery for my wristwatch.

“Do you have batteries that will fit this watch?” I asked as I placed the said watch on the counter.

The young summer-employee girl picked up the timepiece while saying: Imsurewedoletmelookjustaminutyeshere-weareilltakethebackoffandputinthenewoneshallitosstheoldbattery?

Since the end of her phrase ended on a rising note, I figured she must have asked a question, so I nodded and watched as she efficiently stuck a new battery in my watch. “Thanks,” I said. “And would you please just add the cost to my charge account?”

Certainlynoproblemjustsignthe -monitorthereyouareyouregoodtogo.

“Okay,” I answered, not at all sure what I was answering to, but the word, “okay,” will usually get one by in most circumstances.

So, there you are. I’m either suffering senility or I’ve turned into a politician answering questions during a Congressional testimonial twixt the usual Your-Side-is-Evil versus My-Side-Is-Sainthood-Into-Eternity session:

Questioner: Onpagesixteenparagraphfourofthe-fivehundredpagereportyouwroteyouwroteyouvisitedblah

blahblahblahblah.

Questionee: “What?”

Questioner: Onpagesixteenparagraphfourofthe-fivehundredpagereportyouwroteyouwroteyouvisitedblah

blahblahblahblah.

Questionee: I didn’t get that.

Questioner: Onpagesixteenparagraphfourofthefive-hundredpagereportyouwroteyouwroteyouvisitedblah

blahblahblahblah.

Questionee: Could you slow down a little?

Onpagesixteenparagraphfourofthefivehundred-pagereportyouwroteyouwroteyouvisitedblah

blahblahblahblah.

I’m now going outside to pet my horse and dog. Thankfully, both critters speak plain English. Or as the projectile talkers might say: Imnowgoingoutsideto-petmyhorseanddog. ❖