Cord

Cord: (n) (Electricity) a small, flexible, insulated cable used to transfer electrical power

Unpacking all the paraphernalia we decided to bring along to the cabin for a camping trip, we discovered that the waffle iron we had borrowed was minus the electrical cord to plug into the wall so the waffles could be toasted.

I remember saying to my friends who had gathered for this little excursion, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll figure something out.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I really believed it in that moment. Somehow or another I failed to recognize that the distance between my waffle iron and the electricity in the wall needed to be covered by some sort of cord that would make them compatible to one another.

When it was discovered that we had no cord or connection, or that an extension cord could not be plugged into it and work, on the third day of staring at the apparatus which was so promising of the possibility of delicious golden-brown waffles, I decided to tear into it and find a way to take a piece of my extension cord and wire it up, using the connectors from the machine to plug it into the wall.

I was convinced I could do it. Matter of fact, I was so confident that I was already considering various ways to humbly deflect the praise from my companions for being so ingenious.

I worked on it for two-and-a-half hours.

I don’t know why I worked on it for two-and-a-half hours, because within the first ten minutes it was obvious to me that I didn’t know one damn thing about what I was doing.

But that didn’t seem to make any difference. After all, there may be very little in life that is worse than a waffle iron without a cord.

Finally, I found two connections in the waffle iron that I hooked the wires onto, and then I took the plug—the end that goes into the wall—and stuck it in the outlet.

It sparked and nearly exploded the waffle machine. A burning electrical smell filled the cabin as a tiny cloud of bluish-gray smoke drifted through the air.

No one was killed. Really, that’s the best I can say.

But then, not only did not have waffles, but needed to come up with a real good excuse to tell the people we borrowed it from for why we decided to sabotage and blow up their machine.


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Cinder

Cinder: (n) a small piece of partly burned coal or wood that has stopped giving off flames

I really did not want to complain, even though I was quite capable of doing so.

After all, I was just a kid. If you tell a kid he’s complaining, he’ll explain that you never listen to him, and he’s “sharing his feelings” as you snuff them.

Here’s my story:

One day at church camp one of the more energetic counselors decided we should take a hike through the woods. He had sought out a trail and measured it at 1.2
miles. His contention was that “anybody should be able to do that.”

I apparently had not joined the “anybody family”–not even related. I had chubby legs that moved slower, reluctant to leave space between my sole and the ground.

On top of that, we could not have been more than twenty yards into the trip when my right foot started to hurt. I apparently was grimacing in some pain, because the zealous counselor came back and told me I needed to step up the pace–otherwise there was a danger the other kids would start making fun of me, and even though he would hate for me to be bullied, he did not know what would happen once the lights went out in the cabins.

Not knowing what that meant but sufficiently alarmed, I soldiered on. Every step hurt.

When we finally arrived at camp after the 1.2 miles, I had broken out in a sweat, was ready to pee my pants and fell to the ground like a sack of rotten potatoes.

I reached down, took off my sneaker (which is what we called them back then) and a tiny pebble-like substance fell out of my shoe. Apparently the night before, when we were sitting around the campfire and I removed my shoes to warm my feet by the flames, I had acquired a cinder in my footwear.

I had walked 1.2 miles on that cinder, leaving a sore spot which upon further inspection, was bleeding.

I did not try to make anyone feel bad, but the counselor did that all on his own.

All I remember is that I was required to put my foot up on a pillow during Vespers and the counselor, who was dwelling in a wilderness of guilt, toasted all my marshmallows and brought them to me. (He got a little grumpy when I complained they were not cooked all the way through, but got over it.)

Even today I have to remind myself that people who have a crooked walk, or have difficulty being what I would consider “righteous,” may be overcoming cinders of burnt-out experiences that I can’t even imagine.

 

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Cavort

Cavort: (v) to jump or dance around excitedly.

There was a time in my life when I did not feel as if I was having fun unless I had completely lost control.

I remember being twelve years old and arriving at church camp, running into the cabin, knocking over all my friends and wrestling on the
floor as the counselor looked on in horror at the tangling, giggling mass of melee.

That’s back when I had more energy than brains.

I had more naughty ideas than I did conscience.

And I felt if every part of my body was not moving toward pleasure, I was cheating myself out of the joys of being young.

I cavorted–I really did.

And I’m not so old that I’ve forgotten the sheer random joy of the endeavor. Even in discovering my sexuality, doing it in the back seat of a Mustang made it much more dangerous and therefore, appealing. (Nowadays, I couldn’t even get into the back seat of a Mustang.)

We become better adults when we remember the joys of cavorting, recalling those times when saving our energy was not necessary… because it seemed limitless.

 

 

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Cabin

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Cabin: (n) a small shelter or house, made of wood and situated in a remote area.

The human brain is not spacious.

Matter of fact, it’s pretty cramped.

When you add the clutter of prejudice, misconception, disappointment and selfishness, it can be extraordinarily confined.

That’s the way it was with my dad.

My dad never got a chance to find out if he was a good man or a bad man because he was surrounded by men just like him. Therefore he compared himself to them.

They were all frightened of change.

They were all nervous about not having enough money.

They were all intimidated by despondent and dissatisfied women.

And they were all looking for a retreat.

My dad went to Canada–sometimes twice a year–to hunt and fish, but mostly to try to find something in his brain that was his own.

My mother didn’t mean to be intrusive. She always felt she was being helpful. The problem is, helpful is rarely achieved if no one is asking for help.

My dad was not unhappy, he just wanted to be left alone. So he built himself a cabin out on a small piece of land that we owned outside town. It was rustic, it was small, and had very little in it–except my dad, when he wanted to be away from everybody.

My girlfriend and I occasionally slipped out to the location to “play doctor” which eventually led to “hospital.”

But every time I came into that room I could feel his loneliness. I know it sounds poetic, or even misplaced, but there was a quiet in the room which was disconcerting instead of reassuring.

The day he died, people gathered at our home to consume all the casseroles which had been brought in by well-meaning relatives. I slipped away and drove to that cabin, walked in and sat down on the cot that was in the middle of the room.

I don’t know what I expected. Perhaps I thought I would feel the spirit of my dearly departed father.

All I felt was the loneliness which was now even more lonely, because its only visitor had finally escaped.

 

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