Kathy Rohloff

Columns / Aug. 6, 2009 12:00am EDT

Kathy Rohloff:

Just What Was That You Said?

I’m sure everyone has at least one instance where they have garbled the English language or overheard it being abused.

Russ remembers the time many years ago when I commented during harvest about “all of the concubines in the field.”

“Solomon had concubines, about 700,” he replied dryly, “I think most Vermonters have combines. At least that’s what their wives hope.”

Russ has listened to me refer to others as "loose guns" on ships, there have been "birds in belfries", we’ve been "up a creek without an oar", "birds in the hand have been hiding in a bush", and "It’s always darkest before a storm". Need I say more?

I have been in church services where the reading has been from the book of the Philippines. Odd, I didn’t know St. Paul wrote to that island. We were once encouraged to "go into the land and perspire" as the Israelites did. And there was that awkward moment when in a parable the “hire” was to be seized. I’m still looking for him.

For years I have been a Creedence Clearwater fan and I would blithely sing along, "Don’t go out tonight, for you’re bound to lose your life, there’s a bathroom on the right." Sounded practical to me, especially as I age. Alas, it’s a “bad moon on the rise.”

When our youngest, Elisabeth, was in fifth grade and preparing to sit through yet another graduation ceremony, she sighed, "I really don’t like that song ‘Pomp and Circumcision’."

And the list goes on. What song don’t you know?

My grandchildren are carrying on the legacy of misunderstanding and mispronunciation. D’s and T’s have been hard for them. Dominic will call to Karl, "Dum on Darl," and Karl replies, "I’m tumin’."

We’ve been steadily working on this and I must admit, someday I’m gonna miss it.

Since Dominic is quite small at four, size 2T jeans still fit him except in length. He has heard the constant refrain of, "You’re growing out of your pants."

While I was helping him ride his bike the other day, he glanced at my capris and commented, "Monya, you’re growing out of your pants."

They are in the process of adding on to their home, and when Karl overheard his parents talk about digging a new leach field, he commented, "You can’t do that. It’s creepy."

He doesn’t like leeches.

My favorite, though, came before we left for the Fourth of July parade. Scattered showers were predicted and we were attempting to find enough ponchos and umbrellas for the seven of us.

I came up with the bright idea of using large garbage bags. "Karl, I know what we can do. We can put a garbage bag over your head."

He stomped his foot and stated, "I would never do that! Never!"

"Why? It’s just a bag."

"Papa said I would die!"

Great! The kid will grow up convinced that his grandmother once thought of suffocating him. And I thought a legacy of mispronunciation was bad.

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