Husband’s Grandmother Sends Message Via Dictionary
Today’s word-of-the-day is ethyl, noun: 2 a type of anti-knock fluid, containing tetraethyllead and other ingredients for a more even combustion. 3 gasoline to which this fluid has been added. The term also has a first definition, which is a chemical adjective, complete with chemical compound listing, but didn’t seem to fit the discussion. To say the happenstance of this word choice is explosive is overkill. There is, however, a sense of spiritual play at work as this word was plucked from the page.
Today I learned that the dictionary I am using for this month’s exercise belonged to my mother-in-law’s late mother, Ethel Smock Blatchley. The dictionary rests on the stand that has held it for decades – previously in my mother-in-law’s home in Central Florida. And, prior to that, the farmhouse where my mother-in-law, Carol, was raised in New Jersey. Ethel gave her six children a strong legacy of reading. In turn, Carol passed it on to my husband. And, then, we have given the love of words to our children, too.
Former Educator’s Legacy of Literacy
Ethel was an educator in the local school district where she lived. In her later years, she frequently substituted. She knew what every reader knows: that a good companion to literacy is an unabridged dictionary. The Random House Dictionary of English Language is used in our home’s library. It happens to be a third printing from 1966. It has a magical quality about it, probably from its age.
Yes, yes, I know. It is dated. Doesn’t even include most technology terms that are commonplace today. And, yes, I know, language evolves. We supplement with other contemporary dictionaries used in our home office. Yet the lovely tome still has a job to do. Even with rival automation. I admit that I frequently look up words online at sites like Merriam-Webster. See more here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethyl
Ethyl’s Message from Ethel
The connotation of the word ethyl clearly brings to mind my husband’s grandmother, Ethel. My husband remembers that she had a one grandchild at a time rule for week-long summer visits. And in that vein, I am finding Ethel’s message: Concentrate your reading or writing on one book or article at a time. Focus carefully and fully and you will quickly motor your way through a project!
(I must note here that I never had the privilege of meeting Ethel, but did meet her husband, George, when I was engaged to marry my husband. I am indebted to her for the use of her Random House Dictionary of English Language. And I promise my readers to post any other messages I get from Ethel. She probably would enjoy it if this project went on for a year or more, but lets focus on getting to November 30th!)
Open your journal. Take 15 minutes and free-write about what projects you are writing that have stalled. Then, choose one project and set a timeline and focus your energies on completing the task at hand.
Until tomorrow, here’s to growing your flow,