Creek

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creek: (n) a stream smaller than a river.

I’m sorry. That’s hardly a definition.

“Smaller than a river?” Isn’t that a rather broad category?

That’s not my recollection of a creek.

My memory of a creek is that if you waded in, it wouldn’t go much above your knees. The water, that is.

And there were so many rocks, fallen trees and leaves nearby that the flow was pretty brisk, a little splashy, and you could often see all the way to the bottom.

I was always taught that if you couldn’t see to the bottom of the creek or if the water wasn’t moving, you should probably not drink it. (This information was not given to me by a Native American or some scout hunting buffalo. I think it was my older brother, and I can’t count how many times he was wrong.)

But we had a little piece of land outside town that we owned, and we called our “farm.” It was a rather pitiful situation. My dad wanted to get some agrarian roots into our lives, so he tried to raise chickens, strawberries, some corn—and he built himself a little cabin in the nearby patch of woods, so he could occasionally escape, to play the part of Jack London “calling to the wild.”

Right next to that cabin, though, was a creek.

It wasn’t much of anything, but it was certainly shallow enough that every once in a while, when a fish got trapped because it missed a turn in one of the nearby rivers or got distracted from the reservoir—well, you could see it as clearly as if it were staring you in the face.

We had such a fish which I tried to catch on several occasions.

It was extremely odd. I could see the fish moving, imagine what it was thinking, but I still ended up frustrated as the fish stole my bait and wiggled away.

One day I came home from school and my older brother had an iron skillet on the stove and was frying up what ended up being a big fish.

I said, “Hey, Dan, where’d you get the fish?”

He laughed and replied, “You know that big ole’ fish that was in the creek? I caught it.”

I went to my room and cried.

I don’t exactly know the complete reason for my tears, but I imagine it was the mingling of getting bettered by my brother, not catching the fish myself, seeing it lay in the pan as an entrée—or maybe just knowing that my creek had lost its only friend.

 

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Chandler

Chandler: (n) a dealer in supplies and equipment for ships and boats.

Looking back, I realize my oldest brother was a chandler. He was only in his twenties when he decided to open a marina. He sold boats, fixed boats, tied boats, and also sold boating equipment.

I remember as a young man, being very impressed, surprised and intimidated by his success. (My greatest success at that time was getting two A’s in a row in
chemistry–neither of which I deserved.)

My oldest brother was a chandler. I do not know if he loved boats or not. I don’t recall him talking incessantly about watercraft. He did like to fish.

But what prompted him to take the big leap of faith in his youthful years, to establish such a business for the folks who wanted to sail the waters of Hoover Lake, near Columbus, Ohio? (We called it a lake–actually, it was a reservoir.)

My brother ran his business for several years, and then a bigshot came to town with more boats, more equipment, more floor space, more advertising, and more of whatever more will buy. My brother could not keep up. He lost his business.

He was a determined man of discipline and taut feelings. If he was truly devastated, he never let anyone know–at least, not me.

But he never quite found anything to replace his marina. Perhaps it was a chandler he was intended to be–and by intended, I mean desired. Once that was gone, he found himself selecting from Column B.

Yes, perhaps that’s where we all lose our zest for life–wearily thumbing through Column B to try to find something that comes anywhere close to what we once had in Column A.

Yet it feels good, now that my brother has passed on, to write this small article and tout him as the chandler he was.

I think he would like that.

 

 

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Abstain

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abstain: (v.) to restrain oneself from doing or enjoying something 2. to formally decline to vote either for or against a proposal or motion

l have discovered the quickest way to make sure that I eat a chocolate candy bar in the next twenty-four hours. All I have to do is promise to abstain from them.

This works with almost anything else, too. It’s like the decision to abstain is really similar to purchasing a billboard in your brain to advertise the product. Once I’m convinced that I’m deprived, it’s is an easy journey to convince myself that the deprivation is … terminal.

This is why I have to giggle when people talk to me about encouraging teenagers to take the “vow of abstinence.”

When I was sixteen years old, I only thought about two things: food and sex. And most of the time, in some bizarre way, I mingled them.

So to turn to an adolescent and suggest that he or she should make a vow of celibacy when they are sitting on a raging reservoir of tempestuous hormones is to create the tiny cracks in the dam of their resistance, which will certainly lead to a flood of error.

I raised a whole bunch of boys. Here’s what I found out about their appetites: unless they were totally exhausted, ready to fall into bed, to enter a coma of sleep, they were constantly pursuing, through their curiosity, the entire panorama of feminine mystique. To eliminate the power of exhaustion from a teenager is to grant them license to explore their lusts to an inevitable result. (After all, the Catholic church has learned that asking its clergy to abstain from the “pleasures of the flesh” does NOT mean that they will not find divergent methods.)

Abstain is a funny word–and by funny, I mean strange, unusual and not particularly helpful.

I taught my sons to be busy, active and to burn off a lot of their physical energy instead of sitting around studying all the time, having temptation lure them into porn sites on the Internet. I also instructed them in the intelligence of masturbation as an alternative to becoming a daddy with pimples. It was quite successful.

And when I sensed that they were still bursting and bubbling with sexuality, I sat down with them to talk and giggle about it until they were saturated and once again ready for a good night’s sleep.

Abstain. It’s a word old people impose on the younger of our flock–once the elder rams have lost interest in what now preoccupies the young bucks.

Like I said … it’s a funny word.