March 31, 2013

Words about weight, 'up' and ketchup


Gary Snow said starving actors in New York City back in the ‘60s would go into a place and order a cup of tea. They would drink the tea and then fill the empty cup with hot water and ketchup.

Martha Bachman spoke of living near Pittsburgh and having “pickle pins” from the pickle factory that sent pickles to the Heinz plant. She said there is a legend that when Heinz first made ketchup, people didn’t like it. Apparently, homemade ketchup has to be stirred constantly; otherwise, it will burn, and people were used to that taste. The story goes that he altered his cooking method slightly, and it worked.

Les Bradford said he joins me in enjoying a “bread-and-butter-and-ketchup sammy” every now and then.

Ron Dame wrote, “When I was young, I would have cocoa and toast with ketchup and dunk the toast in the cocoa for breakfast.”

Lyn Premo sent two pages of marvelous ketchup memories, including one about a younger brother who, while circling the table with a stubborn bottle for his dad to “smack” with his palm, dropped it, and “the problem was immediately resolved. Ketchup flew out of the bottle and straight up the wall.”

An email of unknown origin has been circulating about “up.” I followed it up by doing a great deal of research. It has more meanings in my dictionaries than any other word with just two letters. My personal list indicates it can be used as a noun, verb, adverb, adjective or preposition.

Some of its uses border on the vernacular or obscene; others are much more benign, and many are hilarious. Did you enjoy the popular movie “Up”? Can you remember the lyrics to the song, “Up, Up and Away”?

Think of how many times each day you utter the word. I challenge you to come up with uses different from my own. I filled several pages in my not-so-idle moments. Here are a few: giddyup, upchuck, sup (as a contraction for what’s up), uptake, hook up, slip up, make up, follow up, up and down, uptown, seize up, up the ante and about a thousand more. I had to sharpen up my pencil several times during the exercise. Try it if you’re up to it.

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