Day O: Obstinate and Ohhhhhhhhhhhh! #AtoZChallenge

I just confessed to a friend that I’m obstinate, and I did it in an email, so I might as well make it the subject for Day O. I’m convinced all my secrets are available online anyway, so what the heck.

It happened in this wise:

I was seven, visiting my grandfather for a week in my hometown, my favorite place in the whole world because it was very small and safe and many of my father’s aunts and uncles, all of whom were over sixty, and some over eighty, lived there. I pity anyone who’s never had the privilege of sitting on a front porch on a hot summer day while old ladies play forty-two, or of sitting with old men on the bench in the shade of ligustrums outside the post office.

Eudora Welty describes what can happen there:

Eudora Welty,” by Anonymous (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ds.07842) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”

My great-aunt’s front porch was the best place to listen, because those ladies told the most interesting stories. (This story, however, isn’t theirs; it’s mine.)

My grandfather, whom younger people, even those not related to him, called Dad or Uncle Frank, lived around the  corner from my great-aunt. His house faced the side street and his front porch wasn’t visible from hers, or even from her back windows, so I had a measure of privacy; female relatives so often think children need supervision. My grandfather assumed I could take care of myself. I appreciated that and didn’t take advantage.

One day a friend who’d been hunting, probably on my grandfather’s farm, brought Dad a rabbit he’d shot. Dad said we would have fried rabbit for supper. I was delighted. Fried rabbit was a delicacy.

That afternoon, I wandered over to my great-aunt’s front porch, where a group of ladies had congregated, and announced Dad and I were having rabbit for supper. That got their attention.

One of the aunts said, “You’re not going to eat that rabbit!”

This is where the word obstinate comes in.

I was going to eat that rabbit, and her statement–really an order–ensured I was definitely going to eat that rabbit.

And I ate it.

Twelve years later, thanks to a college anatomy and physiology course, I learned about tularemia and why I shouldn’t have eaten the rabbit, or even touched it or breathed around it.

It’s a wonder I’m still alive.

My only consolation is that if my aunt had told my grandfather not to eat the rabbit, he’d have gone ahead and eaten it, too.

Changing the subject–O is also for Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh! I remembered, for the nth time, that today is the deadline for submitting my chapter to my critique group, Austin Mystery Writers. It’s written, but I have to clean it up. Otherwise–another O word–my advisers won’t be able to see past the parts I already know are wrong.

As a pilon, I’ll add omnishambles, which means a situation, especially in politics, in which poor judgment results in disorder or chaos with potentially disastrous results.

According to Dictionary.com, and based on the Random House Dictionary (2018), the word was “first used in the BBC TV series The Thick of It, political satire,” in 2009. It’s chiefly British but, I assume, can refer to situations anywhere else in the world. Use it as you think fit.

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In “The Making of A Writer: Listening the Dark,” excerpted from Eudora Welty’s memoir, One Writer’s Beginnings, Welty explains the connection between listening and her writing. It appears on The New York Times on the Web.

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To read more Day O posts from Blogging A to Z, click AtoZ.

 

By Anonymous (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ds.07842) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

10 thoughts on “Day O: Obstinate and Ohhhhhhhhhhhh! #AtoZChallenge

    1. Tularemia, also called rabbit fever, is rare in most places now, but sixty years ago in rural areas, the rule was no rabbit on the table in summer. Between 1984 and 2012, Sweden had nearly 5,000 cases, but I don’t know what the carrier was. I was just glad my grandfather didn’t observe the rule, and I didn’t tell my aunt what we had for supper.

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  1. Kathy, I’m sure the first settlers in the west ate rabbit, simply because their options were limited. They were more concerned about starvation than tularemia, if they even knew about it back then, which I doubt. When I realize something is due today that still needs work, I say, “Oh” then a four-letter S word I learned from my daddy.

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    1. I ate rabbit even when I wasn’t starving, but rarely. I think I saw it for sale in a grocery store years ago, but maybe not. The disease was named for the place in California where it was identified–a singular honor. According to Wikipedia, it would make a dandy biological weapon.

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  2. Obstinate is the nice version of the word I often want to use to describe my 5 year old. Lol. My husband calls it having a “strong character”. Good luck finishing your submission.

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    1. I like “strong character.” It has a much nicer sound than “obstinate.” I sent the submission off after midnight, but since my partners were asleep (they’re sensible people), they wouldn’t have read it then anyway, so I claim to have made the deadline.

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  3. I tasted rabbit once in a fancy San Francisco hotel, and couldn’t eat more than one bite, so I’m safe from tularemia. I’m glad you didn’t get it! I’ve missed too many of your daily posts–you’re writing them faster than I can read them.

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  4. I don’t know that I could eat it now. I can’t eat lamb. I’m not sure about cabrito either. I rarely have the opportunity to eat it anyway. I doubt a fancy San Francisco restaurant cooked rabbits fresh from the field, but who knows? My daily posts are getting shorter and shorter, which is a good thing. Today’s may be only one word. I can’t think of many Q words. Quirt, maybe.

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