May 25, 2014

Column idea came about willy-nilly

People walk up to me in the grocery store and ask, “Where do you get your column ideas?” 

There is no single answer. I told you how a man approached me and said, “Cattails.” I told you how a woman said, “I learned to iron on handkerchiefs.”

The response to that “hanky” thing was like a groundswell. Who wudda thunk?

I was thrilled and delighted. You noticed that, in deference to people who are prim and proper, I never called them snot rags. It just seemed too gross at the time. Today? Not so much. Hey, we have to plow a little new ground every now and then.

Of course, one thing leads to another. With the word hanky comes the hyphenated combination hanky-panky. And with that, comes hokey-pokey. It’s a natural progression.

Tuesday morning, as I took Kaye to her friend Opal’s house for their trip to a workout session at the Senior Center downtown, I looked over at her lovingly (I do that often) and said, “I think I’ll write about hanky-panky for Sunday.” Without skipping a beat, she replied: “Okey-dokey.”

BINGO. I had the first brick laid in the “Small Talk” wall for this week. This is not about when to hyphenate and when to omit it. I’ll leave that to the more pedantic among you. I try hard not to be pedantic, at least until I look up the meaning.

When I ask for your first reaction to “hanky-panky,” there are those of you who will think thoughts about something dubious or devious. Others of you (and I know who you are) will conjure up some kind of illicit sexual behavior. I’ll leave you alone with your thoughts.

My warped mind comes up with a hundred so-called rhyming compounds. How many can you name? Artsy-fartsy is one of my favorites. Fancy-schmancy is another. Hoochy-koochy comes to mind along with handy-andy. Get to work and list some more.

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