Brave

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Brave: (adj) ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage

I have discovered that one of the more brave things to do is choose the correct moment to be a coward.Dictionary B

First, you have to be fearless about the characterization. Is it cowardly to know that you’re outnumbered, ill-prepared, uncertain, or to proceed with caution–even delay?

I don’t think so.

Bravery always reminds me of the Native American going hunting, only having the resources and time to make four arrows. Yet at the end of the day he knows two things: he must come back with dinner, and he’s only got four shots.

So what is the goal? Avoiding foolish undertakings that may seem noble or adventurous but will steal the quality of his supply.

So he waits.

He waits for that moment when he can get close enough to the deer.

If he does that–if he passes over the long shot, refuses to chase tracks that lead nowhere and simply allows the opportunity to come close to him–he has a much better chance of returning home with game … as the brave instead of a foolish archer.

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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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Antler

dictionary with letter A

Antler: (n) one of the branched horns on the head of an adult (usually male) deer, which are made of bone and are cast off annually and regrown.

As is often the case, I will now expound on issues I know absolutely nothing about, but still manage to muster an anemic opinion.

I have gone hunting but am timid to mention it because around those who actually have a “Daniel Boone mystique,” I would appear to be less than a novice and probably considered a “dandy.”

But hanging around a lot of people who have hunted animals with antlers, I have discovered that the male of our species has succeeded in projecting its own insecurity about the penis onto the head decoration of the local, assumed macho, deer.

So supposedly, it is much better to shoot one of these animals with seven points than it is one with five.

I would assume the deer have obviously learned not to be so presumptuous to tout their prowess of being “boneheads,” knowing full well that come spring, they will have to start all over again.

Actually, to the deer a set of antlers is very similar to the savings account of the average American family–just when you think you’ve got a good start, it falls off.

So I do not think there really is “antler envy” among this deer species. It is something we attribute to them because of our male insecurity about our own growth potential.

Maybe we’d be better off if “it” fell off every year … and had to grow back.

 

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Ammonia

dictionary with letter A

Ammonia: (n) a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell which dissolves in water to give a strongly alkaline solution.

I was a punk.

What I mean by that is that I was twenty years old, married with two children and thought I knew everything. And if I didn’t, it wasn’t worth knowing.

We were poor.

Not the kind of ditch-digging poor, but impoverished … because we didn’t have jobs.

We lived in an upstairs hovel that a dump might consider suitable to deposit its trash. We tried to keep it clean, striking an agreement with the cockroaches to only come out at night.

Both of my young sons were in diapers. This was long before the practicality of Pampers. We’re talking about cloth diapers, which we kept in a pail of water in preparation for the laundromat.

So one of my downstairs neighbors took it upon herself to call Children’s Services to report our lack. They showed up and complained that the house smelled like ammonia from the diapers.

It did.

It was very difficult to disguise it. It’s similar to the situation where people own a cat and insist that the kitty litter deters the odor, until you walk in and sniff the air.

Apparently the ammonia thing was a big deal to this lady from Children’s Services. We had to go to a hearing in front of a judge to discuss our dirty laundry.

The lady railed against us in front of the magistrate for a good fifteen minutes. She closed her indictment by describing in vivid detail the stench of the ammonia in our abode.

I have never felt such a collision of emotions. I was embarrassed, enraged, convicted,  confused and basically helpless.

When my accuser was done, “Your Honor” turned to me and asked me if I had anything to say. For the first time in my young adult life, I was speechless.

So the judge stepped in, sensing my plight, and cited, “Don’t all diapers smell like either poop or ammonia?”

Although my attacker tried to object and further elaborate on the odor, the judge silenced her and dismissed the case.

I had experienced the mercy of the court.

I grew up a lot that day. We tried to wash our diapers more often, to prevent ammonia from filling the air.

It is a rather nasty, stinging aroma.

 

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Ammo

dictionary with letter A

Ammo: (n.) informal term for ammunition.

My dad decided to take my older brother and I rabbit hunting.

I didn’t want to go but I had used up all my excuses trying to dodge attending school on undesirable days.

So I was dressing, getting ready for the excursion, when my brother stomped into the room and declared to everyone, “I stored the ammo in the trunk.”

He then posed for a moment, seeking approval over both his deed and proclamation. I quickly ran into the other room and hid in the closet so as not to suffer the intensity of being knuckled on the head by my older sibling.

Once inside, with the door closed, I giggled until I cried. What a doofus!

One thing was sure–all the rabbits in Delaware County were safe for another day.

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