More Memories of June 19: What the Angels Eat

Yesterday I shared a Juneteenth memory–roasting ears. Today I’m sharing memories of two more foods that made June special.

The first is even better than roasting ears: watermelon, which is grown around Luling, ten miles from my hometown. Corn could be frozen for use any time, but when I was a child, watermelon made you w-a-i-t. And once the season was past, that was that. It took forever for Juneteenth to roll around again.*

For more than sixty years, Luling-ites have celebrated each harvest with the Watermelon Thumpa long weekend of music, dance, a parade,  carnival rides, arts and crafts exhibitions, the coronation of the Thump Queen, watermelon eating contests, and the event that stands out from all the rest–the World Championship Seed Spitting Competition, which takes place at the Watermelon Spitway. According to Thump history,

In 1989** a Guinness World Record was set for the first time in Luling for the longest watermelon seed-spit. The record of 65 feet, 4 inches was set by John Wilkinson, a festival attendee from Houston, Texas. Then in 1989,** a local man, Lee Wheelis, re-established the record spitting a distance of 68 feet, 9 1/8 inches. This year a $500 cash prize will be awarded to the top spitter in the Championship Contest and should Luling’s record distance be broken, an additional $500 will be added to the top prize.

In addition, “[s]pitting champions have also been featured guests on the Tonight Show starring Jay Leno, the Regis and Kathy Lee Show, and Howie Mandell’s show.”

Luling also claims to have the world’s largest watermelon. Click here to see a picture.

But, although the Watermelon Thump is a grand festival, it’s really beside the point. The pleasure is in the eating.

I don’t have the words to describe the taste of watermelon, but Mark Twain did:

Watermelon by andreeautza via morguefile

“The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart, and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world’s luxuries, king by grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took: we know it because she repented.”

The italics are mine. And Twain was right. Who could repent of eating watermelon?

(Not wishing to spread misinformation I looked it up. The Bible doesn’t say Eve repented after eating the forbidden fruit, but, all things considered, I’ll bet she did.)

My last Juneteenth memory is Aunt Bettie Waller’s birthday. She was married to my great-uncle Maurice from 1905 till his death in 1970, and I don’t think they ever had a cross word between them. That’s not an exaggeration. They were crazy about each other and spent a lot of time laughing. He was the quietest person I’ve ever known, though; when other people guffawed, he just shook. Occasionally Aunt Bettie would decide they should do something, such as air condition the house or turn a screened porch into a sitting room, and he would disagree. When that happened, she talked–quietly, mildly, just mentioning it from time to time–until, after a while, she’d convinced him it was his idea. And after it was done, he was always so pleased with the result.

Burger and Fries by Chance Agrella via Free Range Photos

She did report one major subject of discord. When their son, Pete, was very young, Uncle Maurice refused to discipline him because “he won’t love me.” Aunt Bettie pleaded: “If you don’t make him behave, he won’t know you’re his father.” Once when Uncle Maurice corrected him, Pete retorted, “Uh-uh. That’s Ma’s job.” Then one night at dinner, Pete lobbed a plate of food at Uncle Maurice, and family dynamics underwent a radical change. Everybody kept on loving everybody else.

We often celebrated Aunt Bettie’s birthday with a dinner, featuring corn and watermelon, of course–but the entree was always hamburgers. To her, that was what the angels eat.

Treated to lunch once at a fashionable restaurant, Aunt Bettie ordered a hamburger. Her host expressed disapproval, something along the lines of, “Miss Bettie, I didn’t invite you to this restaurant for a meal you can get at the Dairy Queen.  Order anything you want.” Aunt Bettie wanted a hamburger.

The menu at our gatherings rarely varied. Each woman brought a signature dish. Even for her own party, Aunt Bettie made potato salad. Unfortunately, no one asked for the recipe; there probably wasn’t one. The secret ingredient was probably sugar. That generation of Wallers put sugar into everything–and still, most of them were built like scarecrows.

Aunt Bettie lived to be 101. She would have been 132 last Tuesday. She was a delight to be around, and I miss her.

I miss that potato salad, too. I wish I had the recipe. More to the point, I wish I had a big bowl of it.

And I wish I were one of the Wallers built like a scarecrow.

***

*Watermelons are available all year in grocery stores now, shipped in from Elsewhere. No waiting. Small. Bland. They’re not the same.

** The paragraph from the Thump webpage was copied and pasted into this post. I assume one of the dates reading 1989 is a typographical error.

Concerning titles: In 1997, the Texas Legislature declared Knox City the “Seedless Watermelon Capital of Texas.” Both Dilley and Hempstead claim to be the Watermelon Capital of Texas.  

Washington Post subscribers can read more about seed spitting in Luling at  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/at-texas-festival-watermelon-seed-spitting-is-big-sport/2014/06/26/4c58d270-f588-11e3-a606-946fd632f9f1_story.html

Memories of July 19: Ros’nears

On June 19th, I wrote about the official Juneteenth holiday. Today I’m sharing a memory that surfaces every year when June 19 comes around.

Ears of corn by mensatic via morguefile

In my corner of the world, Juneteenth marks the time corn is ripe and ready to eat.  Although most people prefer sweet corn, my family ate field corn–roasting ears, commonly pronounced ros’nears–the same kind cattle eat after it’s dried. Considering the amount we ate or froze to eat (usually sheared off the cob and served creamed) after the season ended, it’s a wonder there was any left for the cows.

My father’s uncles grew corn. When it was ready, we made a pilgrimage (or two or three . . . ) to the cornfield on Uncle Maurice’s place. Picking was an itchy job. The men usually took care of that. Shucking and removing silk was no picnic either, but everyone participated. I helped shuck (also an itchy job) and silk, but I wasn’t strong enough to chop the stem end off. More to the point, my chopping technique lacked accuracy,  so I was best occupied elsewhere.

Ears of corn by mensatic via morguefile

The variety was Yellow Dent–so-called because the kernels have “an indentation in the crown of each kernel.” Wikipedia helped me with crown; I didn’t know the word. (I use capital letters in the name because the it deserves them.)

Field corn has a heavy, musky taste; or maybe it’s musty. Neither word is correct, but they’re the best I can do. No matter–boiled, slathered with butter and covered with a sprinkling of salt, it’s delicious.

Several years ago, I mentioned Yellow Dent to some of the teacher-farmers I worked with; they’d never heard of it. I assumed that over the years it had been replaced by hybrids. A paragraph in Wikipedia corrected the assumption:

Most of the corn grown in the United States today is yellow dent corn or a closely related variety derived from it. Dent corn is the variety used in food manufacturing as the base ingredient for cornmeal flour (used in the baking of cornbread), corn chipstortillas and taco shells. Starch derived from this high-starch content variety is turned into plastics, as well as fructose which is used as a sweetener (high-fructose corn syrup) in many processed foods and soft drinks.

So Yellow Dent is still with us, serving a number of worthwhile purposes.

Its widespread use in the American diet has brought corn under scrutiny in recent years. Corn syrup is widely used as a sweetener and is an ingredient in many refined foods. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, in 2001, Americans consumed 62.6 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup. Corn is also used as cattle- and chicken feed, and is indirectly responsible for the high doses of antibiotic given to cattle. Scientific American, citing a 2008 study in which researchers analyzed meat from hamburgers and chicken sandwiches produced by three separate fast food companies in six cities across the United States, reported that “93 percent of the tissue that comprised the hamburger meat was derived from corn.” More recently, it’s been linked to the obesity epidemic.

Other sources claim that health problems arise from a diet rich in processed foods containing products derived from corn. One nutritionist says,

Ears of corn ready to eat, by Jonathunder [CC BY-SA 3.0 () or GFDL ], from Wikimedia Commons
When eaten in an unprocessed way and properly prepared, non-GMO whole corn kernels actually have some impressive nutrients to offer . . .  For example, organic corn is a vitamin C foodmagnesium-rich food, and contains certain B vitamins and potassium. It also supplies a good dose of two antioxidants linked to eye and skin health called zeaxanthin and lutein. Eating fresh corn on the cob also gives you a good amount of the daily dietary fiber you need, along with some complex carbohydrates that are a good energy source.

A friend recently remarked that ours is the last generation to eat “real food.” The corn I remember wasn’t organic, but it was real food. And it makes for happy memories.

What You Can Do When You Don’t Turn on Your Computer

On June 18, I didn’t turn my laptop on. At all.

I got out of bed, trekked up to Central Austin for a mammogram, came back home, picked up a book, and read from roughly 11:30 a.m. till midnight. The mammogram was nothing to speak of, but the rest of the day was lovely. I hadn’t spent an entire day reading for a long time.

While unplugged, I finished Terry Shames’ latest mystery, A Reckoning in the Back CountryIt’s a good book, as are all of Terry’s mysteries.

I did a brief review of her first, A Killing at Cotton Hillhere–actually, it’s a review of a sentence I fell in love with–and later wrote more about the book.

A digression: I am honored that one of my stories is in the crime fiction anthology Lone Star Lawless (see cover picture on sidebar) along with one of Terry’s.

All right. That’s my self-serving plug for the day.

Tomorrow, I’ll write more about Juneteenth.

 

 

 

 

 

Juneteenth

Today is Juneteeth, the holiday commemorating the announcement of the end of slavery in Texas. Because it was relatively  isolated from the rest of the Confederacy and had not been a battleground, and because word traveled slowly, news of war and politics known in other Confederate states was slow to reach Texas. News of Lee’s surrender in April 1865 didn’t reach there until May.

On June 18, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived with troops in Galveston to occupy the state. On June 19, Granger read “General Order No. 3,” which announced the emancipation:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Juneteenth celebration in Austin, Texas, on June 19, 1900. By Mrs. Charles Stephenson (Grace Murray) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The order came nearly three years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Former slaves celebrated in the streets, and the next year the first formal Juneteenth celebration was organized.

As is well known, things didn’t go as they should have after that. Black people weren’t allowed to use public parks for celebrations. Some pooled money and bought land for parks where they could celebrate (such as Houston‘s Emancipation ParkMexia’s Booker T. Washington Park, and Emancipation Park in Austin.) (Austin’s Emancipation Park has had a difficult history: Read “Staring Down Development, Neighbors Seek Historical Recognition for Emancipation Park, by Syeda Hasan, KUT Austin (NPR), January 19, 2017.)

The Texas Supreme Court finally recognized emancipation in a series of decisions between 1868 and 1874.  But Texas and other former Confederate States wrote Constitutions disenfranchising black people and, during the 1920s and ’30s, passed Jim Crow laws that lasted until the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s.

Over the years, Juneteenth celebrations spread to other states. The day was made a holiday in Texas in 1980. Now forty-five states observe it as a state or a ceremonial holiday. In 1997, Congress recognized the day through Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56.

***

Some of this post was drawn from memory; Wikipedia helped me with the rest. Find much more information at Juneteenth.com.

With Reservation: #SoCs for June 16, 2018

A post from my friend Shan Jeniah–

Shan Jeniah's Lovely Chaos

I’m about to write a post I don’t want to write, and which I’ve put off writing for most of the day.

My reservation is a bit of a mystery to me…but I think it goes back to attitudes impressed upon me in childhood. About how it’s somehow a failure to ask for help, or maybe even to need help.

But I do need help.

A year ago, my husband and I were well on our way to launching a successful cottage industry selling his artisanal hot sauces. It was something that had been a passion of his even longer than I was – I remember him telling me that he wanted to marry flavor and heat way back when we were only dating, and I really had no idea that he would be my husband in a matter of months.

He went through all the legal steps to be…

View original post 803 more words

The Revenge of the Yoo

More confessions on Writing Wranglers and Warriors

Writing Wranglers and Warriors

 Posted by M. K. Waller

After years as a modified Luddite, I’ve finally acquired a smart phone to replace my dumb one. David gave it to me. He bought it a couple of years ago and used it for a while, then decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

I still carry my dumb phone. Before using the new one to make and receive calls, I’m learning to use the essential functions nobody knew were essential till phones got smart. So far, I’ve learned that people go around staring at the little screens all the time because they’re trying to figure out how to make them work.

The backstory is that I bought one of those bracelets–sort of a faux Fitbit; there was a discount, and it didn’t cost much to begin with–so I can see how many steps I take every day, how many calories I burn, how much deep…

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Day Zed: Breaking the Rules and Thanks #AtoZChallenge

Searching Wordfind for a word starting with Z, I found the following words accepted by Scrabble:

zebra – any of several fleet black-and-white striped African equines (“A horse in striped pajamas” in the song I learned from watching Captain Kangaroo, but larger than the horse; one tried to bite the inspection sticker off our windshield at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Park when we stopped to gawk.)

zoa – any of the individuals of a compound organism; sing. zoon. (An epiphanic [Well, d’oh] moment when I realized how the word protozoa came to be. Once upon a time I knew that.)

zed – the British spoken form of the letter z. U.S. word zee (Zed was used by Dorothy L. Sayers’ character Lord Peter Wimsey, as played by Ian Carmichael, the only actor who has done justice to the role.)

It’s zed that fits today, the final day of the April challenge.

I shouldn’t post at all, since I bailed out of the challenge after R. On day S, I could have written that I’d run out of steam, but I didn’t think of it until Day U. Posting wouldn’t have been fair.

This Zed post isn’t fair either, but it has a purpose: to thank the bloggers who read my challenge posts. While my energy was at low ebb, I fell behind in reciprocal reading, but I have your addresses and will make it up. And then some.

It was a pleasure blogging with you. I look forward to April 2019, when I will again sign up to write.

*****

The etymology of zed is worth noting:

c.1400, from Middle French zedefrom Late Latin zetafrom Greek zetafrom Hebrew
zayin, letter name, literally “weapon”; so called in reference to the shape of this latter in ancient Hebrew. U.S. pronunciation zee is first attested 1670s. Other dialectical names for the letter are izzard, ezod, uzzard, and zod.

All my life I’ve heard the phrase “from A to izzard,” but I didn’t know izzard is officially related to Z.

Source: Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

“zed”. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 30 Apr. 2018. Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/zed.

*****

Other Z posts appear at AtoZ.

*****

Image of zebras by COFFEE under CC0 via Pixabay
Image of Cryptosporidium parvum Protozoa ooycysts by Geoffrey Whiteway under CC0 via Free Range Stock

Day R: Rescue #AtoZChallenge

 

 

 

 

William and Ernest, rescue cats from Austin Pets Alive, came to live with us in 2009. Nine years later, David and I live with them.

More contented

Ernest came first. David named him Earl Gray, which morphed into Mr. E., which morphed into Ernest. It takes time to find the right name. A gray tabby, he was six months old and had had a traumatic experience. First, the veterinarian prepared to spay him and then realized he was a neutered male. Then he escaped from his foster mom’s apartment and was out for several days before they managed to trap him. He showed no signs of trauma, however, the day we met him: when the APA volunteer put him in David’s lap, he turned belly up. There was no doubt he was ours.

We got William about a month later. He’d been traumatized, too–he escaped the shelter and was found under a trailer on the property three days later. David named him William of Orange, but since he’s a cream tabby, I changed it to William of Orange Cream Soda. With two darters, we had to double up on door watch duty. We’d had William a week when Ernest came down with a digestive malady. Our vet couldn’t identify the cause, so we left him for observation. The next day, William became lethargic and refused to eat. I held him all morning, but saw no improvement, so I hauled him to the vet. He had a high fever, she said, but she didn’t have a diagnosis. I left him for observation.

The next afternoon I called to check on my children. Both were doing well, she said. She had put William in the cage with Ernest and his temperature returned to normal and he was gobbling up food. I agreed to leave them over the weekend to be sure they were okay.

On Monday I went to get them. The tech brought Ernest out, then started to add up the bill: Ernest–one male, intact.

Wait a minute, I said. He’s been neutered. APA had it done.

She pulled him out of the cage and turned him belly up. He was indeed a male, intact.

Okayyyyyyy. Poor thing–first he was a female about to be spayed, then he was a neutered male, then he was a male, intact.

A couple of weeks later, he went back to the vet and, for the second time, came home a neutered male.

William’s life hasn’t been nearly so eventful. He began as a neutered male and continues to be one. He’s developed diabetes, so David gives him an injection of insulin twice a day. Since the injection is accompanied by food, he appears in the kitchen promptly at five o’clock every evening.

Although they were rescue cats, William and Ernest have thrived in our home. At social events, I am popularly known as “the one with cat hair all over her black slacks.”

They’ve also starred in David’s video “Invisible Men Invade Earth,” (see below), which was screened at film festivals in Beaumont, Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas (twice). The highlight was their appearance at Fantastic Fest in Austin. Audiences love them–we’ve noticed that the older the audience, the louder they laugh.

One critic at Fantastic Fest called their film “weird.” They applied the same adjective to David.

We’re proud of William and Ernest’s accomplishments, but we would be just as proud if all they did was lie around and sleep.

 

*

Invisible Men Invade Earth–David Davis, writer, producer, director, sound effects, and everything else

 

 

Day Q: #AtoZChallenge

 

 

 

 

 

My Day Q post is recycled from last year,  a short-short story prompted by this photograph by Fatima Fakier Deria, on Friday Fictioneers. The event it’s based on occurred in 2002, but it will forever live in infamy.

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria – from Friday Fictioneers

 

Day 1

Beautiful . . . waves, sunset . . .

Deck chairs . . .

Can’t wait, two nights at sea,

then—Can Cun. We’ll shop till we drop.

Uh-uh. Swimming, sunbathing, siestas. Bar open yet?

#

Day 2

Soooooo relaxing. Waves rocked me to sleep.

Hurry, let’s claim our chairs.

Breakfast?

Chairs. There’s pizza near the pool.

#

I’m queasy.

Wearing your patch?

Don’t have one.

Sit here. Sea air helps. ‘Bye.

#

Find a doctor.

You’ll be fine.

Move, or I’ll ruin your sneakers.

#

I’m going home . . .

You’ve had a shot of phenergan—you’ll be fine.

. . . if I have to walk on water.

#

Day 3

Phenergan worked! Can Cun! Let’s shop till we drop.

. . . I’m queasy.

***

Author’s note: Day 3 is fiction. The speaker in green did not become queasy. Life is not fair.

***

For more Day Q blogs, click AtoZ.

Day P: Papillon in Paris #AtoZChallenge

This afternoon I was in a panic because it’s Day Q and I didn’t know what Q stands for. I was desperate enough to google “words starting with Q.” But halfway through the list, it occurred to me that yesterday my word was obstinate, which makes today Day P. And I was so relieved, because I had a word ready.

If I hadn’t fallen asleep in the recliner, my post would have been online hours ago. But heaven forfend that I should miss out on the Great Race Against Time.

Anyway–sixteen years ago, after I learned I’m descended from Clan MacLean of Duart, I just had to see our castle, so David and I flew to London, then drove to Oban, Scotland and the Isle of Mull–and then we drove down to Lorna Doone country and and saw Robber’s Bridge, and left a bit of paint the same color as the lime green Peugeot we were driving–the bridge is narrow, not much wider than the car, and, preparing to cross, David said, “Is there enough room over there?” and wanting to be agreeable, I said, “Yes,” and I was wrong.

Robber’s Bridge By Maedin Tureaud [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
On our way back to London, we spent one night at a B&B that had photographs, prints, paintings, and figurines of cats all over the place, and live cats in whatever space was left over. She said, “The kitties just keep coming, and what is one to do?”

The next night we stayed in a catless B&B thirty miles south of London. David spent the whole evening mapping out a route to Waterloo Station that ensured he wouldn’t have to make any right turns. Getting out of Waterloo Station on our arrival had been exhilarating, and we knew if we had that much excitement on the way back, we might end up in Scotland again and miss the Chunnel to Paris. Or we might get stuck in traffic around the Marble Arch, another experience we didn’t care to repeat. (I didn’t know a round-about could have so many lanes.)

But we got to the train on time and all was well until we got off the train in Paris and I saw that every sign was in French.

I posted about our first two days there–“Getting There” and “Starving and Art”–several years ago but didn’t get around to writing about the second night, which I think of as “Papillon in Paris.”

~~~

After dinner that night, we walked the short block to the hotel and then back to sit outside the cafe across from where we’d had dinner. David ordered two scoops of chocolate ice cream for me. When the waitress left, he confided that he might have ordered two soccer balls. But she brought ice cream.

Later we took a walk. We passed an empty building with a old sign out front that said “Moulin Rouge.” (It didn’t resemble the one that inspired the movie.)

We walked past a long line of knotheads waiting to get the counter at McDonald’s. (A travesty.)

We walked and walked, and when we were ready to go back to the hotel, we discovered we didn’t know how to get there. We’d paid attention, walked around a just two or three blocks. We couldn’t be lost  . . . Then an epiphany:

Paris blocks are not rectangular. 

We were lost.

So we started walking again. And walking. And walking. And, it seemed, compounding our error. Finally we stopped at a sidewalk cafe and asked a couple sitting there for directions. The woman stood and gave us detailed instructions complete with arm waving. David’s French and her English didn’t quite mesh, so he had to ask her to repeat several times. She patiently answered. What it boiled down to was that we must go to the Arc de Triomphe and at Rue Papillon, turn left.

We had seen the Arc de Triomphe that afternoon. It was miles from the hotel. David asked for clarification. She clarified–Arc de Triomphe, Rue Papillon, turn left.

The man was watching from his seat at the table. He looked like he was enjoying the drama. Suddenly he chimed in: “Right.”

Huh?

She repeated the instructions. “. . . and turn left.”

“Right.”

This was getting scary.

She said it one more time, paused, and asked, “You know papillon?”

David nodded and flapped his arms.

We thanked them and went on our way. We could hear the man laughing almost to the Arc de Triomphe, which was (thank goodness) a faux Arc not too far away. At Rue Papillon we turned left.

And soon we found Rue Cadet. We passed a store with a vase of purple irises in the window. I recognized them. They were the same irises I had admired three times that evening during our search for the hotel. The two lost lambs had passed the hotel three times.

So that is the story of Papillon in Paris. I wish my narrative could do it justice. But there’s no way I can adequately describe David’s impromptu imitation of a butterfly. Flap, flap, flap.

You just had to be there.

By the way, we finally figured out that the man wasn’t saying, “Right.” He was telling us to turn left at the light.

I guess we did.

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.

***

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.

***

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