When I was 8, my grandma gave me a big fat Webster's Dictionary for Christmas, and I read it.
A few years later, my aunt Norma gave me a Roget's Thesaurus for Christmas, and I read it.
If someone gave me a book, I read it. Even the Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedias my mom would bring home from the grocery store, one volume a week.
My grad school program was heavy in linguistics courses (which I loved, despite their difficulty) and I think that if we had stayed in Ohio, I probably would have gone on to a career in linguistics. (My unfinished MA thesis was titled "A Linguistic Analysis of Patterns of Politeness in the Novels of Jane Austen" -- are you yawning yet?)
Instead, I blog, which gives me a chance to indulge in word love.
And I work on my books, which gives me a chance to bang my head against the computer keyboard.
And I write poems, which gives me a chance to channel my inner Nipsey Russell. (Match Game '78, anyone?) Here's my most recent, an homage to the thousands of cheeseballs made by hundreds of Psi Otes this time of year:
Ode to a Psi Ote Cheeseball
You take a lot of cream cheese, you take a little Bleu,
Throw in some shredded cheddar, maybe Swiss and Colby, too.
Add your secret spices; add your nuts and beef --
Mix it all together for a treat beyond belief!
Over 50 of our Chapters make thousands of cheeseballs,
Working in school kitchens or maybe parish halls.
Starting early in the morning and rolling cheese all day,
They wrap it, and pack it, then haul it all away.
Because folks in all our little towns just love the Psi Ote snack;
They buy a cheeseball once, and you know that they’ll come back
To buy a DOZEN next year to serve at their affairs
(Some take off the Psi Ote label and pass it off as theirs!)
Sisters sell their cheeseballs and deliver them with pride;
They know that there is more than just cheese and nuts inside.
Each cheeseball has a purpose, a blessing and a creed --
To aid those who are less fortunate and ease their time of need.
So eat them with some veggies, eat them with some chips;
Don’t bother with a knife -- apply directly to your hips!
More than cheese and crackers – they’re books and songs and arts;
A cheeseball is a true gift made by Psi Ote hands and hearts.
PS I still have my dictionary and thesaurus. You would think I would be better at Words With Friends.