Croissant

Croissant: (n) a rich, buttery, crescent-shaped roll of leavened dough or puff paste.

For the sake of our little essay I shall refer to him as Martin.

This is not his real name, but perhaps if the actual individual reads this, he can come to the conclusion that he’s Martin. Then I can tell a story without people making fun of him personally.

Boy, was that a useless preamble.

So let’s pretend like I’m starting again.

***

Martin was the kind of guy who loved to come up with new things to try and insisted it was the cutting-edge practice from “the coast.” I was never sure whether he meant the East Coast, the West Coast or some other coast I might not be familiar with.

Many years ago, Martin arrived at a brunch we had put together.

(We did not call it brunch at that time because the word was not yet invented. We called it “late breakfast.”)

Martin arrived with a box—the kind you get at a bakery and usually has a cake in it. While we were laying out our eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, cereal boxes and a little fruit here and there, Martin exploded into the room and dropped his box on the table, pushing back a jar of homemade marmalade.

He turned to the gathered souls and said:

“Save your appetite! I have got the thing to eat today.”

Well, we were all a little suspicious. Martin was known for providing oddities and insisting they were delicacies. If you don’t know the difference, an oddity only becomes a delicacy if it tastes real good.

For instance:

He was the first to bring jalapeno peppers—with no warning on how to survive them after consumption.

He brought calamari and waited until we had chewed on it for a while before revealing it was squid.

Of course, there was the time that he offered our first box of Muesli Cereal from “over there in the Scandinavian lands,” which we all tried.

We all resembled cows chewing their cud.

But on this day, his offering was a croissant, which he pronounced with as much of a phony French accent as he could muster. He told us that croissants were better than biscuits, superior to rolls, left toast in the dust and of course, forced cornbread back to the farm.

He brought enough for everyone, so we all indulged in our first croissants—which were scrumptious. (Well, some folks took a couple bites and reverted to their primordial biscuits.)

But they were flakey.

Not that different from Martin.

(And now I jest.)

Also, they were just chewy enough that they did a fairly decent impersonation of bagels (Martin’s contribution three months earlier).

I cannot lie:

We all felt a little continental eating our croissants, imagining the French people who may have made them.

Since that day, if offered toast, biscuit, bagel or croissant, I will tell you—bagel and croissant do top my list.

So even though I may have found Martin to be pretentious, overbearing, a bit self-righteous and a social bully, he did introduce me to things I might not have found as quickly on my own but have become intricate parts of my life.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Advertisements

Cranny

Cranny: (n) small, narrow opening in a wall, rock, etc.; a chink

 Some people just get better advertising.

This is also true for words.

And on that occasion when we create a phrase, one of the elements of that thought often gets more attention than the other.

Never was this more evident than in the case of “nook and cranny.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Can you explain to me why “cranny,” which got second billing, is also totally ignored and misunderstood?

We know what a nook is. Matter of fact, we’ve even created one for breakfast.

But do we have a cranny in our home that stands by itself—without the aid of its overbearing nook?

Matter of fact, when the word was brought up to me today I nearly passed over it, thinking it to be so obscure that it was unworthy of my comment—and that it might cause the reader to bustle away, perplexed,  wondering why anyone would tarry to give a passing insight on such a loser.

But would there be “nook” without “cranny?”

Would “nook” have ever gained any attention if it had not hooked up with its traveling partner?

Would people have adopted the phrase, “I searched every nook of the house…” if they also didn’t pursue the “cranny?”

As is often the case in the human journey, it is one that carries the weight, and another which takes the bows.

 

Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Burlap

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Burlap: (n) coarse canvas woven from jute or hemp, used especially for sacking.

I once was young enough that a hostess offered me accommodations in a barn. (You have to look like you’re brave and strong, able to survive the elements and sleep on hay.)

I was grateful. She explained that she had so many guests in the house that she had run out of blankets and pillows, but I was more than welcome to draw from a huge stack of burlap bags in the corner of the barn to use for such purposes.

Upon entering the barn, I first found a collection of hay that was dry enough, without suspicious damp portions. That was pretty successful, although I will tell you, a bed of hay gets thinner and thinner as the night goes on and you crush the straws.

As she noted, there were innumerable burlap bags, which I grabbed and pieced together to form a blanket and a pillow. I would not consider myself to be a woodsman or an individual given to outdoorsy experiences, but I’ve had my share. Yet on this particular night, it was impossible for me to sleep.

The burlap was so coarse, so itchy, that I was convinced I had thousands of ants crawling all over my body, which was further reinforced by the knowledge that I was lying on a bed of straw.

I tried to throw the makeshift burlap blanket off, but then I got too cold–but every time I covered with it, I got too itchy.

So I faced a perplexing situation in the morning when I stumbled out of the barn and headed to the house for breakfast.

I knew my hostess was going to ask me how I fared amongst the animals, so I quickly grabbed two biscuits, stuffed them in my mouth, took a big swig of milk, and kept my orifice filled the entire meal– so I was only able to communicate with nods and grunts.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

 

Brunch

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brunch: (n) a late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch.

I hate brunch.

I always have.

There are foods I enjoy at breakfast, and certainly foods I prefer for lunch–and I never really wanted them to meet each other.Dictionary B

“Soup and sandwich” just doesn’t seem to be compatible with scrambled eggs and bacon.

They were brought together by lazy people who didn’t want to get up for breakfast but felt stupid for eating lunch at three o’clock in the afternoon.

So they made up a meal where they could gorge themselves in one sitting, with foods that were never meant to co-habitate, and therefore justify snoozing.

It also ended up being something that many younger folks did on Sunday instead of going to church, the park or flying a kite with the kids. Add a little champagne, fresh produce and you have a fantasy date for anyone under the age of thirty-five.

I know I sound grumpy.

I’ve always been a little bit dour when confronted with people who insist that they are “not morning folk”–when every job in America begins before nine o’clock.

So, dammit–get used to it.

I will even tolerate folks who say they need coffee before work or insist they’re not quite alive until 10:17 A.M.

But somewhere along the line, we have to stop adjusting all of life to our predilection for sleepiness.

Otherwise, there is a frightening possibility that omelettes will fellowship with chicken salad.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

 

Breakfast

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Breakfast: (n) a meal eaten in the morning, the first of the day

It is part of the “wearing a coat” syndrome.Dictionary B

When I was a younger man, I often walked out into Ohio winters in a short-sleeved shirt, portraying to those lads and lasses around me that I was so engorged with virility that my body was nearly aflame.

Every attempt by adults to get me to wear a coat was eschewed as being “weak,” comically unnecessary.

I had much the same feeling about breakfast. Although I was a fat guy, I never ate breakfast. So all my food consumption fell within an eight-hour period–from noon to eight o’clock at night. Then I would go without any consumption of treats for sixteen hours.

It made me grumpy and actually ended up causing me to overeat–because once I was unleashed at the noon hour, I was a consuming hellion.

I don’t know why I didn’t want to eat breakfast. It was just that cool kids did not sit down in the morning in front of a plate and have their mommies make them bacon and eggs. I could have eaten cereal, but that would have required a bowl and retrieving milk from the refrigerator.

It was easier to walk out of my house coatless, nearly freezing to death, on an empty stomach–to prove that I was truly a beast of the wilderness.

 Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 


 Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 

Borrow

Borrow: (v) to take and use something that belongs to someone else with the intention of returning it.

I have an inkling that determining whether people are getting older can be evaluated by judging the shows they watch on television.Dictionary B

For instance, when I was younger I would never have watched “Wheel of Fortune.” And even though I would not call myself an avid viewer now, it is occasionally on in the background while I do other things.

Likewise, I would have made fun of myself for watching the judge shows like “People’s Court.”

I bring this up because on these court TV shows, each case finishes up with an interview in the outside hall, where the announcer asks the litigants what they learned from the experience. Universally, the eternal truth that falls from their lips is, “Don’t trust anybody.”

Benjamin Franklin intoned, in his pseudo-intellectual way, “Neither a lender nor a borrower be.”

It is a wonderful philosophy–if you are never in need.

But since my life has been bespeckled with all varieties of poverty and prosperity, I can appreciate the fact that every once in a while … you are one cup of milk and one bowl of cereal short of breakfast.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 


Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

Click here to get your copy now!

PoHymn cover jon

 

 

Arm

dictionary with letter A

Arm: (n) each of the two upper limbs of the human body from the shoulder to the hand.

I do believe that many times we are actually upset about how well our body parts work together. Let me explain.

If the foot hurts, the rest of the body expresses its sympathy by having the brain note the pain and informing all the other members that they may be pulling extra duty during the day.

This became obvious to me when I woke up one morning and had slept on my arm in such a way that it felt sprained. The shocker came when I realized that this particular dangling participant in my human form performs many functions that I never even think about. So it was virtually impossible to wash myself in the shower, brush my teeth, comb my hair or reach for my box of cereal at the breakfast table.

Each time I did, I was reminded by a conscientious brain that the part of my anatomy I wished to be using was presently on sick leave.

This was communicated through pain.

Within an hour, though, I had become somewhat adept at utilizing my other arm for some functions. I also used my legs more to perform duties instead of reaching to achieve my quest.

I was mindful of my hurt arm and gave it the respect it was due, while simultaneously trying to gently “exercise” it of its demon.

It lasted all day long–and even though I was very glad when I woke up the next morning to discover I had usage back in my limb, I was impressed by the efficiency of my body and simultaneously humbled that some way or another… I can’t always find that same cooperation with the people around me.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix