Sitting-around talk

The proposal to de-gender the Bible appeals to me, but I must decline all invitations to assist in this scholarship, since I can readily think of all manner of other things I would rather do. But I am amused to imagine the deep seriousness with which the Committee on Gender will ponder the feminine and neuter of manna.m I'm pretty sure that in the plural you change the vowel sound -- menna, or manna. Then, at other times, I think on such things as Samson's heifer.m Balaam's ass was a she,m too.

Otherwise, things have been going rather well around here. The wind was unfelicitous for too many days, so several outdoor chores were neglected while I stood with my back to the stove and whittled push-me-pullme's. These are easy to make. I find a piece of straight-grained hardwood in the woodshed and rip it into 16 by 1 by 1/2. A couple of passes at the band saw and a 5/8-inch hole for hanging, and you get a stick with a push- place and a pull-place for helping hot things in and out of an oven. So far, all the ladies I have favored with these have plentifully attestes to their handiness, and I keep a supply head with the hope that I shall continue to meet more and more ladies.

I did have a couple of digital steeple clocks in progress, meaning to pass them along to two young women I know who would appreciate my whimsy more than others would (and don't), but I got tangled with a tape recorder and completion was delayed. These are handsome clocks, copied from the old ones that stood on fireplace mantels ad had little wagging pen-doolums you could watch through the glass. I made these from black cherry I also found in the woodshed, and I turned the little spires on my lathe, but I have to buy the small bedside digital movements that fit into the belfry. It's all rather silly -- if you have the digital movement you don't need the steeple, and a steeple ought to have a pen-doo-lum. So I make the things just to see an occasional kindred spirit smile, and so far I haven't dared tell any clerk in a store just what is afoot. Lately Sears, Roebuck sent me a supplementary catalog that offered just the kind of digital clock I wanted for my two Christmas gifts, and I dialed the catalog order office at once, charge card in hand.

I found myself connected to a taped response which, in pleasing language, told me to await the sound of the tone, and then state my name, address, telephone number, and . . . I hung up. I hang up on any tape, and also on any answering service. Oh yes, I try not to be rude to anybody except public utilities, and I dislike having anybody rude to me. I think it's rude to dial a number and be shunted off. Besides, I don't pay for those calls. On the local exchange, there is no charge and I just walk away, but when a toll charge is involved I immediately dial the operator. It says to, in the directory. It says if you hace difficulty completing a call, signal the operator. I told her I had dialed thus and so and needed assistance in completing the call. I told her I got a tape. She said there was nothing she could do. If I liked, she said, I could call the business office and perhaps . . . . Yes, I said, I think I ought to do that -- will you connect me with the business office? She said I could dial that number myself. So I dialed that number and -- you don't believe I got a type? Anyway, the two digital steeple clocks remain incomplete and I understand Mother Bell is going to sue me for an unpaid toll charge.

Another item that owes itself to the continued excess of windy weather is a moose sled or hand shark. The difference is farm vs. forest. The sled in context is a work sled, the wintertime substitute for a summertime wheelbarrow. It has wide wooden runnerS, unironed, and sometimes is pegged together so it can be taken apart for transport or for storage. I needed one to bring fireplace wood from the shed to the house, so I ripped some oak and had at it. I'm told that the term moose sled is because moosement was hauled on it in the old days when lumber camps served it. On the farm, it was a handy vehicle and we called it a shark.

I hope these few examples will demonstrate why I am much too busy to assist in de-gendering any Bible this winter.

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