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As times change, so does our every language

The Master's Touch

The Master's touch is evident

As winter yields to spring

'Twas He who wrote the music

For the birds that sweetly sing.

 

He sets the dainty violets

And ferns upon the hill,

Then beckons rain and sunshine

With hands invisible.

 

He tends the nodding lilies

That bloom beside the brook

And bids the graceful butterfly

To come from cozy nook.

 

His voice is heard in gentle tones

Of comfort to the soul

In every breeze that whispers

In streams that peaceful flow.

 

He sends a token of His love

When not a sound is heard,

Each time He paints a rainbow

Just too beautiful for words.

By Loy Combs Guy

Snow fell on the crocuses, covering up their yellow, purple and white blossoms. They have collapsed on the ground; their petals are limp and faded. However, tiny new buds are beginning to appear, and they will bloom again. Tulips are putting forth green shoots, hopefully awaiting warm weather.

Old Man Winter took a swipe at our hills last weekend, with snow, wind and cold temperatures. We can't complain, though, with the mild weather we have had this winter. Someone commented the other day that they believed the reason we have had so much sickness this winter was because it hadn't been cold enough to freeze out the bacteria and viruses.

To look at the barren hills and bare branches now, it seems impossible that they could ever come alive again with green leaves and flourishing growth. The coming of spring each year is a renewed miracle, all wrought by the hand of our Savior. No matter how many spring seasons we have enjoyed, we look forward to seeing another springtime come to the hills.

The melodic notes of songbirds are heard at morning now. There is nothing more encouraging than to hear these cheerful songs announcing another morning. Mom used to tell us that birds mated on Valentine's Day, and while this is probably an old wives tale, it is a sweet thought. Brilliant red cardinals and their more modest mates are thronging the bird feeders now. Bossy blue jays try to crowd out the smaller birds.

We have had some wonderful responses to the query that Joanne Exline sent, regarding the expression "You got a good scald on that!" Sydney Dent explained it quite well, "My great-grandfather John Surbaugh used the term in relation to hog butchering time. After the hog was killed and bled out, it was lowered into a barrel of scalding water to loosen the hair so it could be scraped off.

"If the hair came off easily, he would say, 'That was a good scald.' The term was used in reference to almost anything that was a success." Jo O'Dell called from Craigsville to agree that it was an expression used when butchering hogs. Charles Bennett elaborated some more on this term. He said, "If the water was too cold, the hair would not come off. If it was too hot, it would set the hair and it wouldn't scrape off. The water temperature had to be just right."

He added, "My grandfather, Will Lewis, who lived at Canvas always said that he could always get the temperature 'just right!' Even the hog was happy with the scald!" Marilene Bibb said her dad used the term a lot when some job was well done, or he was enjoying some delicious food. So now we know.

Now I know how the expression, "He sure set the hair on you!" that my dad used a lot originated. He would say that when someone got cheated in a trade, or paid too much for an article. Now we have some more colloquial terms we'd like to have explained. Bunny Proffitt writes from Richwood that a recent column "struck her funny bone!"

JD Beam, who also knew about getting a good scald, asks if we remember the word "jakey" and if it is still in use. Yes, JD, we use that word quite a bit. I don't know where it started, but we use it to describe someone who is dressed in a sloppy or inappropriate outfit, such as a flowered blouse and checked skirt. I've heard, "Boy, that looks jakey more than once.

I guess we use these terms that we've heard all our lives automatically, yet sometimes we confuse our grandchildren. I told granddaughter Abigail one time that someone had "stretched their blanket." She looked at me blankly and asked, "Mommaw, what do you mean?" I explained to her that it meant someone had exaggerated or told an untruth.

It is amazing how times have changed -- I sound like an old fogy -- I guess I am! When we were growing up, we weren't allowed to use the word "liar" or "lie." We said someone told a story, or they were a storyteller. We did not say "Jesus" or "God" in ordinary conversation, just in prayer or testimony. We said "the good man" and the devil of course was "the boogerman." I can't keep from cringing when I hear someone blurt, "Oh my God!" It is a common term now, and it bothers me that people use our Savior's name so carelessly.

I have been going through some old files and found some items that I'd saved to use sometime. One was a request for a real old song sent in by Grace Rinehart of Charleston. She said she had asked several older singers about it, but none seemed to have heard of it. It is called "The Old-Aged Couple."

It begins like this, "An old aged couple stood out on the street, begging assistance from each one they'd meet. . . " Does anyone know it? I also found a poem sent to me by Cousin Ellyn Dawn.

Marriage Poem

Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true.

When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate.

If you wed when March winds do blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.

Marry in April when you can, joy for maiden and for man.

Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day.

Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go.

Those who in July do wed, must labor for their daily bread.

Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to be.

Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine.

If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.

If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.

When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.

Contact Alyce Faye Bragg at alycefaye@citlink.net or write to 2556 Summers Fork Road, Ovapa, WV 25164.


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