First, I've just realized I write a lot about signs. I guess this is not surprising given that I am a compulsive reader.
On with the post, then. In answer to the question"Who doesn't love a camo hat[?]", found on a sign at a local restaurant that is, presumably, giving them away with a meal, I think we all know that my first response is likely to be of the smartass variety.
(In fact, I already own a knit camo cap that the dogs brought home. They bring a lot of things home, including a foam rifle case--though we don't have a rifle; a pair of tennis shoes in my size which I actually wear for yardwork; softballs, playground balls, rubber baseballs; gloves--generally not in pairs; dolls; various articles of clothing; and of course squirrel and bird carcasses and various deer parts. We have a don't ask, don't tell policy with the dogs on these things. I have no idea where they come from, the dogs or their gleanings.)
But back to the question. Considered more metaphysically, maybe a camo hat would be a nice thing to have every once in a while, when you're grubby but need to run by the grocery store, when you're present for something you'd rather not see or hear, when you don't wish to be the [fill-in-the-blank]-est person present.
Camouflage comes, not very interestingly, from the French word meaning "to disguise," but it gets better, because that word comes from a word meaning "puff of smoke" which comes in part from a word meaning "to muffle or cover up" (that's the -moufl- part of camouflage).
And a little muffling or covering up can be a good thing on occasion.
So who doesn't love a camo hat, after all? Not I.
- Jennifer Horne
- Jennifer Horne grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has lived in Alabama since 1986. The author of a book of poems, Bottle Tree (WordTech Publications, 2010), and a poetry chapbook, Miss Betty’s School of Dance (bluestocking press, 1997), she is also the editor of Working the Dirt: An Anthology of Southern Poets (NewSouth Books, 2003) and co-editor, with Wendy Reed, of All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality (University of Alabama Press, 2006). She has worked as a teacher in elementary, high school, college, international, and prison classrooms, and as a journal, magazine, and book editor, and has received fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Seaside Institute. She holds a BA in the Humanities from Hendrix College, and an MA in English, an MFA in Creative Writing, and an MA in Community Counseling, all from the University of Alabama. She is married to Don Noble, a writer, editor, and literary interviewer.
Monday, February 21, 2011
A week or so after Valentine's Day and then after Easter are good times to buy hyacinths and other bulb plants on sale at your local grocery store. I scouted them out yesterday and went back today, where the woman in the floral section offered me three hyacinths for the price of one. They'll bring pleasure for a few days in the big pot on the patio, while I'm waiting for the ones I've planted in previous years to come up. Then I'll put them in the ground for next year, near the base of a tree so I know where to look for them.
Each year I remember the story my mother told me, and the poem that goes with it. When she was a little girl, her older sister recited a poem to her. She loved it and asked her sister to write it down for her. "No," said her sister, "I'll teach it to you so you can memorize it. Then you'll have it forever."
The poem gets attributed to various sources, but I don't usually see it with the last three lines, as my mother taught it to me--having remembered it all her life, thanks to her sister:
If thou of fortune be bereft
And in thy store there be but left
Two loaves, sell one
And with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.
For well we know--
Tis not by bread alone
That man is fed.