Me

Family Lingo

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In keeping with this week’s theme on words

…a few months ago, I wrote about going “Crafty Stitches,” which is the most recent addition to an ever-growing list of family dialect. Phrases that are nonsensical to anyone living beyond the farm’s boundaries, but laden with meaning among our crew.

Many of these terms evolve spontaneously, spurred by a single incident, but they take hold and cling to our family vocabulary.

Like what, you ask? Well, here are just a few:

 

 

Term: Purple Karate Belt

Definition: A lie, specifically a statement that one wishes to be true

Origin: When fetching the kids from camp a couple years ago, the counselors expressed admiration for young Hadley’s prowess in karate, specifically, reaching purple belt status. I clarified that she’d never tried karate, much less earned a belt of any color. Hadley later admitted that she told this tall tale because she really wanted a karate belt, and purple was her favorite color.

Sample of use: “Brynn, you’re telling me that your friend rides her pony to school everyday? Really? That sounds like a purple karate belt to me…”

 

Term: Going Crafty Stitches

Definition: Overly agitated; borderline irrational

Origin: Hadley’s sewing shop moved locations while Brynn was hospitalized. I assumed the store had closed and I wanted to harm the sewing store staff.

For example: See this blog post

Term: Donkey Traffic

Meaning: Traffic due to high volume, unrelated to an accident or an obvious delay

Origin: The local afternoon rush often causes a back-up at the stop sign in town; years ago, donkeys lived in a pasture along this section of road and we always got a good look at them as we inched along. Now it applies to heavy traffic anywhere.

For example: “Sorry I’m late. I was nearly home when I hit some donkey traffic.”

Term: Go Count Cows

Meaning: Go away, take a hike, leave me alone

Origin: When the kids were driving us nuts, Martin and I would tell them to walk up the driveway — at least as far as the neighbor’s field, which is often stocked with cattle or dry dairy cows. To this day, the term is used literally.

For example: “I have a work related call to make and you guys are way too loud. All three of you: go count cows.”

Term: Frogging

Definition: Farting

Origin: Big John, this is all you. Several years ago, the aforementioned let one go and told the kids that a frog was responsible for the sound.

For example: Do you really need an example?

Caveat: We have barn cat named Frog, and I have a friend nicknamed “Froggy.” Neither Frog nor Froggy are associated with the above reference.

So, there you have it. If you have a problem — I don’t care if you get stuck in donkey traffic — you better go count cows.  I don’t want to hear any purple karate belts about frogging. I’ve had enough today. Don’t make me go Crafty Stitches.

A few words about words

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Last week at softball, I was chilling out — sitting on the ground — and one of my teammates remarked that he can’t sit “Indian style” anymore, due to bad knees.

I felt obliged to tell him: “You don’t have kids, so you don’t know this, but sitting like this is now called ‘criss-cross apple sauce.'” He looked bewildered by this statement; I rolled my eyes in response.

Of all the new iterations and terms scrubbed clean of race, creed or culture, this one is the most perplexing. What is offensive about sitting Indian style? I understand why phrases with negative connotations, such as “Indian giver,” have faded away. But there’s nothing disparaging about sitting cross-legged on the ground.

And who played Dictionary God and replaced the term with criss-cross applesauce? What the hell does applesauce have to do with the way a person sits?

I cracked open my laptop and clacked away. Some internet digging unearthed a few nursery rhymes which refer to pureed apples, including:

Criss-cross, applesauce

Spiders crawling up your back

Spiders here, spiders there

Spiders even in your hair

Cool breeze, tight squeeze

Now you’ve got the shivers

I also found this one:

Criss-cross, applesauce, no one else can play with us. If they do, we’ll take our shoe and beat them ’til they’re black and blue… criss-cross applesauce.

Boy, that last one is catchy and it certainly gets the message across…

Anyway, at some ill-defined moment in the last 20 years, teachers taught kids, “Criss-cross, applesauce, give your hands a clap. Criss-cross applesauce, cross them in your lap.”

And with that, “Indian style” was quietly retired.

As for that term, its origins are murky. While it sounds like an obvious reference to the way Native American Indians sat on the ground, some challenge this theory. They believe its roots are British, and relate to people of India, seated in the lotus position.

Who knows? What is clear is that it’s no longer part of the classroom vernacular.

I mentioned this to Martin and he said, “By that rationale, that’s the end of the song, ‘Walk Like An Egyptian.'”

I looked that up, too. Apparently, the writer of this 80s hit composed the lyrics after watching people walk awkwardly to keep their balance on a pitching ferry, which reminded him of ancient Egyptian figures.

I told Martin that he can listen to “Walk Like An Egyptian” until someone releases a PC version entitled, “Walk like a person from the ancient kingdom in North East Africa, as they are depicted in hieroglyphics.” Or maybe a re-release related to the impetus of the song: “Walk like an off-balanced individual aboard a boat.”

Both of those choices… really suck.

They make me want to take my shoe, and beat someone black and blue.

Worn-out old work boots, isolated on white.

Happy April Nothing!

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The long fox hunting season came to a close on Thursday, and today we celebrated “April Nothing.” It’s a revolving date. This year it happened to fall on Sunday, April 3rd.

April Nothing is the only empty square on the calendar for the next two months. It is blissfully bare, unscathed by any events.

Truth be told, there are plenty of blank weekdays, but that’s only because I haven’t written in the repetitive weekly practices, and coaches haven’t released game times or field locations.

But tomorrow it all begins. We submerge ourselves in spring activities: Hadley’s softball, Cayden’s flag football, Hadley’s pony club, Brynn & Hadley’s riding lessons, my softball teams (a co-ed weekend league, and Thursday nights with the guys), and then I’ll squeeze in as many hunter paces with Jazz as time allows.

(Martin doesn’t get to duck and cover; he hikes and is coaching Cayden’s football team.)

We shoulder this weighty load through April and May. And before the kids’ spring sports wrap, we have one manic week in June where all of the above activities overlap with swim team. Then we resurface, gasping for air.

So April Nothing is a pretty special day. It is the only holiday not embossed on the calendar — acknowledged by emptiness. In fact, I shouldn’t even call April Nothing a holiday, otherwise we’re bound to schedule something to celebrate it.

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