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Words are everything to me!

November 12, 2010
By Terri Kelly Barta

I love words. Always have.

We played many word games as a family when we were growing up. My favorite was a game our grammie taught us called the Dictionary Game. Grammie would give us each a sheet of paper and a pencil. Then one person looks up a word that is unknown to the others and tells everyone to define that word. Everybody writes their own definition down on paper and turns it in to the one who looked up the word. The one who looked up the word copies down one of the definitions for that word on a piece of paper. Then all the definitions are read one by one in no particular order with the real definition mixed in. Players get to guess which one they think is the dictionary's definition and a player whose definition is picked get points for being picked, the player who picks the dictionary's definition gets double points, the player who picks one of the other players' definitions gets no points.

This is really fun because the definitions can sound very funny and a player thinks they have it figured out and they really don't, sometimes. We played this game in the 1960s long before Balderdash came out. Balderdash is similar to grammie's game.

I have always said if I were stranded on a desert island, the three things I would take with me would be a dictionary, the Bible, and a jar of peanut butter. And I would be blissfully happy. I'd probably start my own newspaper like the one in a familiar Gary Larson cartoon where there are two guys stranded on an island. One is named Wayne and the other is Joe. Joe starts up a newspaper and the first headline is "Wayne is a whiner!'

Words are wonderful! For instance, a word can be spelled a certain way, yet have two different meanings. One example is the word 'fair', for some this word conjures up a ferris wheel and cotton candy, but it can just as likely mean justice. The word fair might need to be used in a sentence to determine which word it is.

Have you ever read a bigger word that was unfamiliar to you in a book? Of course, you have. My grammie would always say, "Look it up in the dictionary." And I still do that to this day. I may be able to figure out what the word means in that particular book, however, if I look it up, I will remember it.

Just a thought...

I saw the cutest little boy in church a couple of weeks ago. He wasn't quite three-years-old but he could speak in full, well thought-out sentences. He was being good in church, but he had a few things to say to his dad, out loud, of course. I found it amusing, since my sons are already raised and the pressure is no longer on me to keep them quiet.

My boys were no angels, but we did try to teach them about their quiet voices. In fact, we practiced using our quiet voices at home before church. Then during Mass, I would remind them to use their quiet voices. One time one of the boys saw his dad glaring at him and son #3 said in the loudest whisper I ever heard, "But Dad, I wasn't picking my nose." Humbling, isn't it! The things that embarrass parents today will be really good memory stories later, I promise.

 
 

 

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