I’ve been busy lately. Very busy. Extremely busy. The activity? Allowing Sylvia to spoil me. I must say that she’s been doing a fine job of it.
Recovery from last week’s cancer surgery continues. Not as rapidly as I might have hoped, but it’s been a half-century since I was 23 years of age. I’m able to spend only a few minutes at a time here at the computer. The pain killer has the wonderful side effect of killing brain cells.
What’s in a word?
Several days ago, as I entered that twilight zone that lies between sleep and consciousness, I began to muse on the word “paraphernalia.” Does it always come in twos? Can you find, or have you even heard of, a single paraphernalium? It seemed like an important question at the time.
Paraphernalia comes from roots that mean, “beyond + dowry.” And one of the meanings is the personal possessions of a married woman exclusive of the dowry that she brought to the marriage. Now that makes sense, doesn’t it?
The meaning, with which I am familiar, is “a collection of equipment or apparatus.” The drug culture has taken this over and thus another fine word falls victim to popular culture.
My later research revealed a third meaning, “that which is beyond natural talents and abilities.” I love that! Don’t you? Perhaps we should work on building our own paraphernalia. Sounds to me like a worthy project.
One evening last week, just after sunset, Nellie was being very playful and active. She has been doing that more and more of late and we are greatly encouraged by that.
I heard her run quickly behind Sylvia’s recliner. I looked and there she sat looking under the chair. Her small red ball lay beside her, and I thought she was just playing with that. Then she reached out a paw . . . and . . . a mouse ran around the corner of the chair. Nellie in pursuit. I rose and tipped up the recliner, but Nellie was back over beside my chair.
Sylvia had heard the commotion and came to investigate. She had seen enough and leaned my recliner forward. Nellie sprang to the back and lunged as Sylvia lifted. Nellie ended up with her rear quarters six inches above the floor. She turned and exited from beneath the chair. In her mouth she held her prize.
I wish you could have seen her body language as she bounced on tippy toes toward the archway that leads to the basement. Her head was high and lifted up. She exuded pride and satisfaction. We didn’t see her again until the next morning.