2002.10.16 They write the darndest things

Written by David Green.

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 

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