Recently, the number of letters to the editor numbered greater than ever before. Is this an indication that the natives are restless, or was it just the release of the February blahs?

Personally, I found the several, on words and language, addressed to the editor, highly informative and likewise amusing. How easy it is to criticize the subtle imperfections of others.

At the moment, I am gestating mid-term the 26th year of publication in this paper. But let me tell you also that I have not had, nor do I wish for, any formal education in the art of reporting, journalism or writing in general.

For this, I thank God, for it allows me to scribble my own thoughts and my own opinions in my own way, based on personal experiences and happenings that have tumbled in my direction down through a life that is certainly not void of action but is lacking the addiction to fiction. What I write I have to experience. I tell it as I see it. I call a spade a spade. I am known in the trade as a freelance writer.

I have no objection to proper English, wording, spelling and punctuation, but in the past I have been grossly guilty of leaving that trivia up to the editors. I think writing should be fun, factual, understandable and expressively open. If I had wanted to educate readers in the art and skill of proper English, I would have been a teacher.

My first articles that I presented to this paper must have left the editor’s footprints high up on the wall. I scribbled words and thoughts on paper. I had little time, and less know-how at that time to self edit. My spelling was phonetic and my punctuation was such that a reader would pass out from oxygen deprivation trying to read a rambling no-breath sentence with a far- flung distant end.

But toying with those 26 letters can be fun, should be fun and is fun. On occasion, a chuckle will arise from a correction that could have been easily overlooked.

I once wrote of a little boy playing for hours by himself in our sandbox. Had the editor not caught my error, it would have come out in print as playing with himself for hours in our sandbox. Indicative that one word can change the entire character interpretation within a sentence.

On another occasion, my aunt, accenting a point in the importance of safe sex back in the days of my late teens, asked me how to punctuate this sentence: Fun, fun, fun, worry, worry, worry. When I showed her my thoughts, the glint in her eye told me otherwise. Her punctuation was Fun. Fun. Fun (notice, no period) worry, worry, worry. She was clever in educating me in a way that I would remember the importance of the conversation.

In a general conversation at a country fair, I once had a lady minister tell of her sure fire method of safe sex. She extolled the simple use of tomato juice.

“An eight ounce glass of tomato juice. Drink it, not before, not after, but instead of. It works every time.”

I once had a distant friend call to tell me that she had recently, quite late in her life, got married. When I asked her how she liked married life, her unique answer was complete and expressively simple. She replied, “Oh. I think it’s great. I never knew you could have so much fun without laughing.”

While on that subject, if you were to ask one of the opposite sex what one thought about sex and the answer came back “I like it infrequent,” would you be wrong in asking, “Is that one word or two?”

This too could be very confusing to an editor. The thoughts that I had had about the had hads that I had actually considered had had no relevance to which had had actually happened.

As noted by one letter, you not only have to be careful what you write, you also have to be very careful with pronunciation. I can remember a statement I made way back when my Little Lady and I were first married.

The first time I saw her as she spun out from the folds of a huge shower towel, in the rosy pink suit of her birth, stating “What you see is what you got,” I remarked, in an almost breathless whisper, “Oh my, you have a beautiful body.”

But there must have been something grudgingly wrong with that statement, ’cause she held it against me for the next 52 years of her remaining life.

Take care, ‘cause we care.  519-843-4544



Barrie Hopkins