Have I mentioned that we are a very wordy family?
Yes. I have. That was easy wasn’t it? I gave the answer away as quickly as I asked it.
We are logophiles. Words are like music to us. But so is music. Don’t let the fact that words are music to us convince you that music isn’t also music to us. Music is of course very musicky, more so than words, and we are a very musicky family. If you have a problem with the word musicky, I’m very sorry. No. It’s not a word. (That I know of.) But I like it. It works. And therefore I am allowed to decide whether or not it is spelled with just a ‘C’ or ‘CK’ or two Cs and two Ks. It is spelled with a ‘CK’, just so you know. See, this is the beauty of being a logophile. Sometimes words are wonderful just to say even if you have no clue as to what they mean.
Canadian towns and cities prove this truth over and over. Kamloops. Saskatchewan. Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump. See? Just fun to say. Am I right? Guelph. (Okay, so Guelph has been likened to the sound that a cat makes when it’s coughing up a hair ball but still…)
Today as we were driving merrily along in our usual family fashion, as the children were laughing and chattering and trying to whack each other with anything that would reach a brother within spitting distance; nothing out of the ordinary you know, my husband suddenly blurted out a command that went into the ether of the mini-van. Though it was a kindly worded command, it left the children suddenly silenced. Instantaneously all efforts at whacking a brother over the head with jacket sleeves and that extra strappy bit of the middle seatbelt momentarily came to a halt.
Rarely perplexed or surprised by anything, I stared blankly at the man that I pledged my faithfulness to almost ten years ago, the man with the cane who sat in my passenger seat and I said to him, “What the heck are you talking about man?”
He repeated himself, “Somebody say Petawawa.”
“Because I need to hear a kid’s voice saying the word Petawawa. Won’t someone just say it?”
You see, the children are just now beginning to collaborate in their efforts to stifle the more inane wishes of their parents. Just yesterday my husband tried to rouse a three cheers type of Mother’s Day Greeting for me with the children at the breakfast table. As he counted to three the faces on the youngsters told me everything I needed to know. They were going to leave Dad hanging. I continued filling cereal bowls and fetching other breakfasty items about the kitchen. Dad decided to have a second go at it, “ONE, TWO, THREE…. HAP….” Nope. It wasn’t going to happen. A third try left Dad shouting the entire greeting all on his own with an audience of boys holding their bellies in laughter as Dad wished his wife a happy Mother’s Day at the top of his lungs all by himself. And that request actually made sense.
So as we drove along, Dad’s sudden and inexplicable need to hear the word Petawawa spoken by a gravelly voiced prescshooler was far less reasonable and therefore much less likely to be complied with. After a punctuated silence wherein everyone waited to see who would volunteer to utter the words that had no mouth to call home, the typical clamor of four boys in a car began to resume and Dad was left hanging by a tiny weed, maybe smaller than a clover, from a cliff in the Land of Logophilia.
I felt the man’s pain. I have at times just needed to say a word. And I have to admit, saying it just once by yourself somehow is less satisfying than amassing a chorus of childrens’ voices who might just willingly play along with about any ridiculously stupid game that their parents think up. We have, at times, managed to get the children to sing quite forgettable renditions of previously nonexistant songs made up completely of words that just needed saying.
“Would someone please, for the love of all that is holy, say the word Petawawa for your father!?” I pleaded.
Finally amid the noise the seven year old dutifully filled the void in his father’s soul by, parrot-like, echoing, “Petawawa.”
“Now, remind me what Petawawa is again now that I begged my children to say it for you?” I queried. Which of course the walking encyclopedia that is my spouse gave me a very brief overview of his understanding of the historical and military significance of Petawawa, Ontario.
Though I feel very blessed to be married to this hot pastor of mine, he better thank his lucky stars for me too. For only a fellow logophile would understand and moreover love him for his random need to hear someone else say the word Petawawa. I think any other girl might just have hung a U-ee and dropped him right off at the front porch of Happy Acres! But me? I understood perfectly. Some words just need to be said. More than once.