Decency

Decency: (adj) conformity to the recognized standard of propriety, good taste, modesty, etc.

A young man who I sheltered and loved in my household when he was abandoned by his father asked me a question.

“What was your upbringing like?”

Well, candidly, I have written so much on that issue over the years—and you dear souls who have read me could probably write my biography without too much difficulty—that I wouldn’t know exactly how to direct a simple answer toward this beloved human of my acquaintance.

But I do think it revolves around the word “decency.”

I think my parents, for the era in which they operated, were average, except they had too many kids. If they had stayed with two or maybe three, they might have had the stamina to remain involved and finish the race with a bit of flair.

But my parents had five sons.

My dad was fifty-eight years old when I turned ten.

And I’m not talking about a young, vibrant, television-star fifty-eight. I’m speaking of a cigarette-smoking-never-getting-enough-exercise, wouldn’t-eat-a-vegetable-if-you-shoved-it-down-his-throat and somewhat cranky fifty-eight-year-old.

I was son number four, and by the time I arrived my parents were just exhausted with the fruit coming out of their relationship, which they were finding difficult to bear.

So not knowing what to do, they did exactly what human beings pursue: the wrong thing.

Sometimes it was just too much.

Most times it was absent.

And then suddenly it would appear out of nowhere and seem phony.

Decency is difficult because it requires our full attention. The first time we do something indecent, we need to quickly confess and repent—or our hypocrisy will sully all future events.

So here’s what I would tell the dear fellow who asked me about my upbringing:

It was decent, considering the fact that it possessed neither passion nor decency.

 

Bait

Bait: (n) food used to entice fish or other animals as prey.Dictionary B

My dad was a fisherman.

Some folks would say my dad fancied himself to be a fisherman.

My mother might have concluded that my dad went fishing to get away from home.

Whatever the case, he had an adequate array of rods, reels, hooks, sinkers, bait and tackle to be considered worthy of the aspiration.

My dad had five sons, and he quickly assessed which ones he thought were better suited for hunting and fishing.

Being the fourth son, for some reason or another, he decided that I was not bent in the direction of the standard woodsman. I don’t know how he came to this conclusion. I was actually the only one of my brothers involved in sports, and certainly had an aptitude for floating in a boat and throwing a line in the water to snag a hapless aquatic creature.

I only went fishing with him a few times–and because I wasn’t given many opportunities, on the paltry occasions when I was with him, I acted a little squeamish.

Especially when it came to the bait. We used two kinds: night crawlers and minnows.

Night crawlers are worms and minnows are little, tiny fish-like creatures with one big eye on them. (Or I think it’s one.)

I was not real thrilled about the idea of grabbing a worm from the peat moss and putting it on my hook. It wasn’t because I was sensitive about killing the crawler, it just felt funny.

My dad thought this was hilarious.

I also did not know where to place my hook into the minnow to make it the most appealing to the creatures we were trying to trick. I did catch on, but not before my father had a chance to stereotype me as a “weinie-woman.”

So much to my chagrin, I have not fished as much during my life as I would like to, because of those run-ins with the bait.

I think it is completely permissible to be a little bit nervous around worms and minnows…until you finally get the feel for it.

 

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

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