Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, January 25, 2015

With the Grands in Houston and a New Series: What Inquiring Minds Want to Know

At Rayford Crossing RV Resort, Spring, Texas (Near Houston)...

We have returned to Houston for a month, helping Mindy get restarted in nursing school. Knowing her potential for success, we are more than happy to facilitate this as much as possible. We get the added benefit of being close to grandsons Mason and Pryce, who are much more than a little special to us. Watching them as they grow and change every day is most entertaining and, the older we get, the more important it seems to be for us to feel needed and to contribute what we can along the way.

Phannie provides the perfect means for us to be self-sufficient and not underfoot, as we would be if we were guests in Mindy's and Tyler's home. Living in the motorhome allows us to come by when we're needed and then scoot away, allowing them their own family time to the greatest extent possible.

We're doing some babysitting when needed, usually with Pryce, as Mason is now in kindergarten during the day. When Mindy is occupied with classes, Sandy busies herself by helping with the housework, and I help by doing a little cooking.

Didn't know I could cook? Well, I can--to a degree--and I find cooking's creativity enjoyable. But I don't bother to compete with Sandy in baking cakes, pies, cookies and the like. She is a baker extraordinaire.

Having revealed that little tidbit of personal information, it occurs to me that readers who don't know us very well may like to peek  further under the tent to see what other quirks may be inside. (Don't tell me people don't like to do this; have you seen the tabloids lining the checkout lanes at Wally World?)

I'm thinking the next few posts may form a short series of personal vignettes that explore some of our flaws, foibles and fetishes. You may be disappointed, however; we do not exactly walk on the wild side. Let's start with fetishes or, more properly, obsessions:

My life as a grammar policeman. I admit to a degree of neurosis here. I'm going to lay the blame on my high school and college English teachers, who were fanatical in insisting that their students should not corrupt the mother tongue any more than necessary. I clearly recall Mrs. Reid who, in sophomore English, would rap with a ruler the knuckles of those who did not properly recite her rules of grammar. (Had Mrs. Reid done this today, of course, she would be in jail, but her students would certainly use proper grammar when they came to visit her.) Thanks to these wonderful teachers, I learned to write correctly, and that single ability turned out to be more important than any other in ensuring the career successes I enjoyed in various management positions over the years. The downside, if it could be seen as such, is that I tend to over-analyze each post I write in order to avoid the embarrassment of clumsy syntax and errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. It takes extra time to stylize each post in this way, so I am, in a sense, bedeviled by my own self-imposed expectations.

Is it painful for me to read the tortured prose of those who were not subjected to Mrs. Reid's ruler? Well, sometimes, but I'm trying to let it go. Our language is getting more coarse all the time, and fewer people care about turning an elegant phrase. That makes me the dinosaur, I guess, stuck in an era when, as a society, we had more time to pay attention to such things. Friendships cannot be based on whether one can recognize a dangling participle, of course, and rapping someone's knuckles is not likely to win me any friends either. So, I write, and I rewrite what I wrote. But I don't care; I'm determined to get it right.

Next, we'll talk about Sandy; she is not without a few lovable quirks herself.


  1. Does Sandy know you are going to talk about her too? I see 'trouble in your future?'

  2. I understand and appreciate your well honed grammatical skills as documented in your blog. My memorable English teacher was Mrs Murphy. I loved her. She had a "look" that had the same effect as a knuckle rap. I was a good student and fortunately didn't get the "look". 50 years ago and I still remember her lessons.

  3. God Bless you Mrs. Reid!! One of your students has done good.....

    Sorry about this Mike. I just couldn't help myself.........

  4. Uh, oh. Don't read my blog until after dinner ;-)


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