Crispy Kansas

12 12 2007

As I was starting to say, before my wireless signal was so rudely interrupted by a falling tree limb, I spent most of today in front of a computer in a windowless office. I emerged at about 5:30 to an ice encrusted world and a steady 32 degree rain. Aside from the obvious inconveniences of a layer of ice on everything, it’s actually very pretty. I didn’t catch much daylight today, but the streetlights and headlights make the trees and power lines glisten in a most agreeable way. Unless, of course, you’re a Westar Energy lineman trying to restore power from an open bucket twenty five feet in the air in a steady freezing rain.

Anyway, just as I was starting to write, we lost our power. I hated being a girl scout as a kid, but in my best girl scout manner, I had already lined up the candles and flashlights. So I did the only thing I could do in the situation, which was to drag a couple of candles upstairs and read in bed. That didn’t bother me a bit, but now that I have electricity, let me tell you about a word I learned today.

Gongfermor: the well-paid fellows in medieval times who emptied residential cesspits. I haven’t yet tracked down the origin of the word, but my not-so-complete unabridged dictionary at least tells me that the word gong means privy. I can work out the rest, though I’d love to know where and when the word came into use.

So, if you don’t want to have to drag around an image of cesspit cleaners in your brain, just think about my sparkling, singing ice world. Every time a small breeze stirs, all the ice encrusted trees crackle and sparkle.

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One response

13 12 2007
Walt

The Online Etymological Dictionary doesn’t know. Have you tried “honey dipper”?

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