2002.10.16 They write the darndest things

Written by David Green.


Enough drivel from me. Time to let readers provide their own.

A few weeks I wrote about the 100 words that high school graduates and their parents should know. This parent didn’t really know a lot of them and there was one that he claimed he had never even seen in print before. That was “moiety,” pronounced MOY-uh-tee.

The next week Brad Whitehouse wrote a note to let me know the word appears in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. “Tom divided the cake and Becky ate with good appetite, while Tom nibbled at his moiety.” That refers to definition number one: one of two equal parts; a half.

Brad gets “Word for the Day” in his email, and moiety was the guest of honor.

In August, I reported on the rattlesnake found in Fayette. Bob Husband of Adrian—himself the subject of a story we had about his mite research and now an Observer reader—wrote a letter about snake bites.

He recalled a Michigan Out-of-Doors television program from about 40 years ago that featured a snake collector from the Saginaw-Flint area. He wanted to demonstrate that the bite of the massasaugua rattler would not prove fatal.

The man batted the snake around until it bit him on the hand, which proceeded to swell. The man said, “It hurts pretty bad but I’m not going to die.” A later sequence showed his forearm swelling. Once again he stated that it wouldn’t kill him.

The next sequence showed his upper arm swollen. “Well, this hurts a lot, but I’m not going to die.”

The man was right, Bob writes. He didn’t die. At least not that day, but a few weeks later he died from the bite of another snake in his collection. It was a non-native species and there wasn’t enough time to get the anti-toxin to him.

Here’s some fresh news on an old subject. I don’t know how long ago it was that I wrote about Kentucky burgoo, but Gary and Mary (Huff) Merillat thought about the Observer as the pot was stirred Saturday afternoon.

 Gary’s church members in Robards always gather for burgoo—both the food and the process—on this day in October.

Volunteers start cutting up 50 pounds of onions at 6 a.m. A fire is built under the big black kettle around 7 a.m. When the water boils, the onions go in and later the potatoes. Some of that is eaten for lunch, then in goes the tomatoes and later the chicken and finally the carrots and corn.

And then comes the squirrel and the road kill.

Not so, says Gary. That’s a misconception. At least it’s not part of his church’s burgoo. Gary has some photos of the event posted on a web site. I suggeset you take a close-up look for yourself at the contents of that cooking pot. You can’t convince me there’s no coon, possum and skunk in there. (http://members.truepath.com/BluegrassGrandpa/Burgoo.html)

Gary refers to burgoo as the stew they eat and to burgoo as the word to describe the day. “If you ever have the chance to join our burgoo…” he writes. True enough, the dictionary describes burgoo as a spicy stew and also as  a picnic featuring the stew. There was also an earlier New England burgoo based on oatmeal.

At Pleasant Valley Christian, burgoo means Chicken Burgoo and that seems a little tame to me. Burgoo without squirrel? I think they’re chicken.

    – Oct. 16, 2002 
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016