Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Bookshelf full of booksOne of the things about our dad was he had a huge vocabulary. He was a voracious reader even as a young child, and reading was a habit he enjoyed all of his life. He used certain terms around my sister Abby and me when we were very young, and by doing so he exposed us to the magic of words.

He called certain people scoundrels instead of using the word jerk. You knew exactly what he meant by his tone and the way he used it. Of course, it enlivened any tales he told and encouraged us to do the same. No swearing was used but the terminology was way more effective.

This trait also served Dad very well in both the courtroom and his law practice. He never did it to unduly impress someone. It was part of his character and it certainly made for lively conversation.

Trashy BookMother had a rather large vocabulary also but of a different kind. She devoured trashy dime store paperbacks and picked up some rather unsavory “phraseology” there. I am sure she also knew all the names for every alcoholic drink known to man, woman, or lush. She certainly had a handle on all the recipes one might make that included alcohol, like fruitcake and rum balls.

Leave it to mother to find a way to sneak alcohol into the house with the pretense of making a sumptuous meal for the family.

Once Dad married our stepmother Beatrice, she seemed to pick up Dad’s vocabulary and used certain terms also. One of her favorites was malingerer. She never wanted to be one and used it as a very negative commentary about someone. She also discussed her faith or lack thereof in explaining her Unitarian beliefs.  She said:

You can believe everything or nothing and that’s exactly what I like about it.

BuffetMy reaction to this statement was a wholehearted “Huh?” Very curious to say the least. I guess it was the perfect place for Beatrice: she didn’t have to listen to, or follow, anything anyone said. Kind of like going out to eat at the local buffet (another activity that our stepmother quite enjoyed).

My sister Abby and I love words also and try hard to incorporate just the right ones when we talk, write and blog. It’s no wonder we score well on vocabulary tests and are spelling wizards. Now, as for math, that is another story!

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