Posts Tagged ‘words’

Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob

The Meaning of Words

I came across the word cowabunga recently, and it brought Howdy Doody memories floating through my head. For those of you a bit younger than me, Howdy Doody was a puppet with his own television show, which my children loved to watch.

 Howdy was created by Bob Smith – known as Buffalo Bob on the show –when Smith was a radio announcer, and later given a puppet’s body for the television screen.

The children’s show was pure corn – and I sometimes silently groaned when my children turned it on – and sometimes laughed along with the craziness.

But it wasn’t Howdy Doody who first uttered cowabunga. It was a character on the show in 1953, one called Chief Thunderthud, who used the then non-existent word.

Cowabunga, like the frabjous words made up by writer Lewis Carrol, took root, and today’s dictionaries define it as an exclamation used to express delight or satisfaction.

 Surfers adopted the word as slang for a great ride, and the word was also adopted by the Cookie Monster and the Mutant Ninja Turtles. These are all fun memories.

  The word, however, holds yet another memory for me, one closer to my heart. It was the favorite saying of my oldest grandson David, who is now in his mid-40s. As an adorable young boy, he used to stomp around shouting the word when he was excited about something — or wanted attention.

Years have taught me that the meaning of words has more to do with the people speaking them, or listening to them, than a formal definition. Because of David, my mind translates cowabunga as meaning joyful.

I also like the feel of how the word cowabunga rolls off my tongue. What’s one of your favorite words?

 Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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            “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world,” – Robin Williams.

Beside a lake in Maine. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Beside a lake in Maine. — Photo by Pat Bean

Just Call Me an Old Broad

Picture, if you can, an image of a little old lady. Then picture the image of an old broad. I suspect the two images are nothing alike, even if they’re of the same person.

Words can’t help but define how we see things. But then there are images that can put words in our heads. The best example I can think of was when I spent a week at Wassamki Springs Campground near Scarborough, Maine, back when I was still living and traveling full-time in my RV.

View from my RV at Wassamki Springs Campground in Maine. -- Photo by Pat Bean

View from my RV at Wassamki Springs Campground in Maine. — Photo by Pat Bean

My camp site was right next to a lake, and from my RV window I once watched a moose swim across the water, and exit not more than 50 feet away. Watching that moose, I thought how lucky I was to be able to see nature take place so up close and personal.

But I also did a bit of people watching, too, especially of one elderly couple who walked their fancy poodle past my RV several times a day. They were always happy and smiling. I pictured them as an old married couple, one of the very few couples I knew, whose love had grown stronger with each passing decade. I could even see, in my mind’s eye, this old couple at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration.

Boy was I wrong.

The night before I left the campground, I met the couple at the nightly Bingo game held in the campground’s community building. I couldn’t help but laugh when I learned they were newlyweds, having been married only two months previously.

Now, instead of seeing them as a happy couple, I wondered about their pasts – and their previous partners. They had sure fooled this old broad, and changed the images in my brain.

Bean Pat: Expectations when we travel http://tinyurl.com/gm86s7x My kind of traveling and hiking

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Butterflies -- that's another magical word. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Butterflies — that’s another magical word. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.” Buddha

Magical Words

            When I was a kid, I often told those who bullied me that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” What a crock of bull. I was hurting from their words even as I quoted the saying.


Friendship and Contentment. The two best friends,  Pepper and Dusty seem contented as they share a patch of sunshine.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Friendship and Contentment. The two best friends, Pepper and Dusty seem contented as they share a patch of sunshine. — Photo by Pat Bean

           This morning, as I was reading a blogger who listed 50 things that made her happy, I started my own list, and at some point the word “words” was added to the list, which made me want to start a list of my favorite words.

            Cacophony was the first one that came to mind. I’m not sure why, but the first time I came across this word – and then looked up its meaning – I loved it, and was/still am always trying to find a way to use it in my writing.

            I then thought of words that seem magical because of their meanings — or personal connotations. Peace and love led the list, followed by these 10:

            Grandchildren, Travel, Nature, Pepper (my dog, not the spice), Books, Inquisitiveness, Art, Friendship, Birds and Contentment – the last a state of being that only now am I coming to find in my life because of words like restlessness and ambition that are much a part of me.

            What words are magical to you? This inquiring mind wants to know.

            Bean Pat: 20 Minutes a Day http://tinyurl.com/hgnheby This flash fiction story by one of my favorite bloggers ends with words that I’m now incorporating into my life.

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“One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.” – Voltaire

Mr. Bearjanlgles: Now this is what I would call a play on words. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Mr. Bearjanlgles: Now this is what I would call a play on words. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’m a Writer – So Naturally I Love Words

The question was asked the other day about which word I would ban if I had the power. The F word came to mind first, perhaps because a grandson was in the habit of using it on Facebook.

I finally told him if he said it one more time, I was going to personally track him down and wash his mouth out with soap.

But then I was briefly married to a man who used that word often, and didn’t find it as offensive coming from him as I found it coming out of the mouth of an 18-year-old grandson.

Perhaps that’s because the man, who was my second husband for all of eight months – but we won’t go into that except to say we are still friends – was just about the most intelligent person I’ve ever met. He used the F word for its shock value, not because he didn’t have other words to express his thoughts.

“Meanings are in people, not in words,” he would say.

Remembering this, I changed my mind about what word I would ban. And this time the word itself shouted a cacophony – now that’s a word I love — of congratulations to me for choosing the absolutely perfect word to ban.

The word, if I had the power to banish it from all dictionaries, would be:  “Can’t.”

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat:  Discovering America  http://blogs.americanprofile.com/author/patbean/ Since I’ve settled, at least for a while in Tucson, my blog has become more of a thrice-weekly  journal than a travel blog, like it mostly was when I was living on the road in my small RV. But I’m still writing a travel blog. It is called Discovering America and it’s for America Profile Magazine. I post three times a week. I thought I would point this out by giving myself a Bean’s Pat today;  just in case some of you miss traveling around the country with me.

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 “You see the woman across the room, you think, She’s so poised; she’s so together. But she looks at you and you are the woman across the room for her.” – Diane von Furstenberg

“Identity is not found, the way Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses in the bulrushes. Identify is built.” Margaret Halsey

Life is full of both beauty and thorns. I'm thankful for the words of others that have helped me past the prickly patches. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Still Finding My Way

I found the two above quotes this morning on Story Circle Network’s weekly offering of wise words and writing prompts. They touched me.

I know that next year they may be words with no meaning to me. It’s often that way with the quotes I write down in my journals.

Perhaps tomorrow, or the next day or the next day, I will be more secure within myself. The loss of two pets within eight days took a toll on me. I know I still have a way to go to get back to feeling like the gutsy, daring old-broad that I’ve worked hard to create.

Perhaps tomorrow it will be Tolkien’s quote: “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him,” that is most meaningful to me. That was actually a quote that meant a lot to me during one exciting, but difficult year.

Other people’s words have helped me through life. They’ve let me know that I’m not as alone as I feel, that others have walked my same path.

Their words make me glad to call myself a writer. I can only hope that my words have occasionally touched others as I have been touched.

Bean’s Pat: The Blood Red Pencil http://tinyurl.com/6selj7b Simply a good blog for writers to follow

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