Cook

Cook: (v)  to prepare food by the use of heat.

Traveling on the road doing musical presentations with my family, which bounced us often from poverty to temporary riches, I discovered that our little gathering of souls required—every day—to eat.

This became an interesting situation, because we stayed in motel rooms before these establishments began offering microwaves and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
refrigerators. Since there was no refrigerator to keep food cold and no microwave for cooking, I purchased two—count them—TWO electric skillets, for the purpose of preparing meals for our family band.

Everything had to be cooked in these two skillets, and food that was perishable needed to be purchased daily. My wife had no desire to become the chief cook, and even turned down the position of bottle washer. I didn’t blame her. She was busy being Mama to the kids and helping out to secure our arrangements for gigs.

So I took the job on myself, and began teaching my nine-year-old son, Jerrod, to be my fellow-cooker. Some people might consider this to be cruel or unusual—asking a child to figure out how to make hamburger helper, vegetables and a side, using two electric skillets, for eight people. But honest to God, this kid was great. I don’t know whether he just enjoyed working with me, or actually found it intriguing, but by the end of the summer he had taken on the entire responsibility as the chef of the motel room.

Because the front desk at these establishments did not want cooking in the room, he had to be careful that smells did not escape, and that his washing of the pans at the end of the experience wouldn’t clog up the sink. Even though I cannot tell you I would do the same thing again—either traveling across the country with my family or asking my nine-year-old son to be in charge of the galley—it turned him into a dynamic young man who grew into a fabulous human being, married with two children of his own, and still continues to cook with glee.


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Convivial

Convivial: (adj) friendly and agreeable

It becomes obvious to me why some words are foreign to my ear, or for some reason, have ceased to be popular. After all, when would the word “convivial” actually come up in our present-day society?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I suppose if we found ourselves at a particularly exciting party, and inebriation was only making people silly, a wordsmith might offer “convivial” to describe the event.

Yet to live a life where you are pursuing a convivial attitude might cause the large majority of fellow-travelers to be suspicious, if not angry, over your lack of awareness about how miserable everything truly is.

I have often wondered what I would have done if I were on the deck of the Titanic the night it struck the iceberg, and it became obvious that in a short time I would be floating in the water, an iceberg myself.

Would I turn religious?

Would I pray, scream to the heavens?

Would I get angry and push people around because I wanted to be the last one in line to croak?

Would I crawl into a lifeboat and pretend I was “Mrs. Something-or-Other?”

Would I grab my banjo and join the band in playing, “Nearer My God to Thee?”

Since I assume the galley would be deserted, would I go down and hit the pastry tray, knowing it wouldn’t make any difference anymore?

Or would I look around into the frightened, horrified and distraught faces of my cohorts and try to make our last moments convivial?


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Abaft

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abaft: {nautical} adv. in or behind the stern of a ship. prep. nearer the stern than; behind: the yacht has a shower just abaft the galley.

It was weird.

One morning I put on my sweat pants backwards. I knew almost immediately–because the tag was in the front. Tags aren’t supposed to be in the front. They’re supposed to be abaft.

See, I found that out this morning.

Stubbornly, I decided not to take my pants off and put the tag abaft. It bothered me all day. I became convinced that my crotch was being crushed by a lack of cloth which was intended to caress my backside, and was now kissing up to my front portions.

It was so annoying that when I saw a public restroom in a shopping center, I went into the bathroom, took off my pants to turn them around.  As I was disrobing, another fellow walked in and saw me pantless. His eyes twinkled, obviously seeking an explanation.

“A religious practice,” I stated, making the symbol of the cross on my chest.

Though bewildered, he continued about his business and I restored my pants to normalcy.

Likewise, I once heard an English professor refer to the US as a backward nation because we still cling to our religious fervor. I smiled. I thought about how many times we refer to other countries as backward, and now to have ourselves thrust abaft was unnerving.

I have never used the term again.

Also, at one time we called people who were shy backward. Now we insist they have some attention deficit disorder and give them a pill. Obviously, medication is thrust forward and never abaft.

There are many things I wish were abaft. Prejudice. Anger. Violence. Stupidity presented as pseudo-intellectualism. I-Phones that don’t seem to have a “we” application. And for that matter–back to the original definition–being stern. Yes, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we actually WERE abaft to being stern? If we realistically stopped thinking that serious faces have deeper thoughts?  Yes, let’s put THAT abaft.

And for the record, I became so obsessed with my sweat pants and which way to put them on that I took a pair of scissors and snipped the tag. Sometimes it’s just better to be ignorant than obsessed.

Yes, obsession of that sort should be abaft.