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The Reading Room
Pg 5 - The Sunshine Express
2012 August
Positively Karen
Kelly's World
Collecting
THE LOST LANGUAGE
I collect... things. Collecting, for me, had its begin-
It seems the older I get, the more I just want
ning the year our family spent some time at the
to step back from technology and focus on the
"Respect for ourselves guides our
beach during a vacation. We had stopped at a curio
simple elements of communication. I have about
shop where my Mother sorted through salt and
as much use for my cellular phone as I do my ap-
morals; respect for others guides
pepper shakers to send to Grandmother who col-
pendix. The funny part is I no longer have my ap-
our manners." - Laurence Sterne
lected them. When I ask for something to remind
pendix while any attempts to surgically remove
me of the beach I was told to find something, in
my cell phone results in a contingent
nature, to remind me. Thus it began-my affliction,
of irritated co-workers and con-
my children call it as a hint of a smile plays around
cerned family members (and prob-
their mouth.
ably an irate IRS auditor).
Time was we lived in South Texas. All our spare
I would gladly participate in a dozen
time was spent on Padre Island a short distance
cell phone conversations, though,
from our house. Husband fished, children played
over a single conversation conducted
in the surf, and I beach-combed. Early on I learned
by text messaging. It saddens me to
the truth of the words "time and tide waits for no
think that the intricacies and art-
man or woman". When seeking gifts from the gulf
istry of the English language, gently
I had to be on the beach at low tide. For when the
scrolled with quill pens onto delicate
tide came in it gathered all treasures and returned
parchment by great authors of the
them to the sea. After six years we relocated back to
past such as Shakespeare, Wilde,
Colorado and our beloved mountains. Space in the
Hemingway, Clinton and Clinton
moving truck was at a premium. However, room
could be detailed elements that are
was made for a large basket of special sea shells, a
sybmolically shredded and tossed
net, some driftwood, some barnacle covered bottles
out into the language compost heap
that had Washed up on shore near the spines of a
(where, if you look, you may just
ship wrecked shrimp boat, partiality covered with
find a sentence with proper struc-
sand, that had come from somewhere far far out in
ture, agreement and tense usage).
the gulf.
From a very early age, I loved
Back in Colorado we settled into an old log ranch
writing. It frustrated some of my
house in the Cochetopa Mountains many miles
elementary school teachers to know
away from husband's job in Crested Butte. I still
that, when I was assigned to write
have my collection from there reminding me of a
sentences as a form of punishment, I
beyond incredible time in my life. There are fossil
relished the idea. I had pen-pals
rocks, a very old fragile buggy wheel found by the
few family members and a lovely wife may
from various locations. (Jill Scott from Eglinton, New
front door of an old crumbling cabin, up the can-
be less than appreciative of his fostering en-
South Wales, if you're reading this, let not your heart
yon beyond the house, a remnant of lichen covered
couragement at times.
be troubled. I will neither incriminate you for your
elk antler - memories.
Anyway, back to technology and it's symbol-
association with me nor will I criticize your wisdom in
Packed away for safekeeping are other treasures.
ic raping of our language and the finer points
corresponding with such a nerdly person as I.)
Petrified wood from the valley where a magnificent
of communication. I suppose I'm a purist,
In college, my creativity in writing was encouraged
bear went walking one summer afternoon, a small
a bit old-fashioned, dare I say, antiquated.
and allowed to blossom by a kind gentleman who, back
leather pouch holding a cluster of small sticks a
I'm not the best at face-to-face interpersonal
then seemed elderly. I read in a college publication
Golden Eagle who nested on a huge rock wall near
communications, but it seems like even my
that, last year, this instructor was inducted into the col-
a waterfall had cleaned out of her nest one spring
ineptitude in conversations may be some-
lege's hall of fame! The disciplined, yet somewhat un-
and rocks.
what professorial compared to how people
adulterated, style he encouraged was right up my alley.
My Mother collected rocks from her and father's
these days communicate via text messaging.
He told me, once, that sarcasm is one of my language
fishing trips to the mountains. Her collections
The seemingly random sequence of letters
gifts. I believe a few of my workplace supervisors, a
resulted in wonderful flower
and numbers is well beyond my tiny brain's
filled rock gardens. I have one of
understanding. I confess that I get more liter-
those rocks. It would be one of
ary benefit from reading license plates than I
the first ones that young Illinois
do reading a typical text message.
woman collected when they
As we're firmly pushing further into the 21st
moved to Colorado in 1947.
century, is there any chance that we may
Grandchildren came to visit
"de-evolve" back into one-on-one conversa-
two weeks ago. Upon return-
tions or, better still, letter writing? It seems
ing from a "walk" with Granpy
unlikely, which makes me about as relevant
one grandson came running to
to a modern conversation as the string that at-
me hand held out to show me
taches a pair of tin cans. Perhaps I will initiate
a Treasure. He'd found a small
a public service campaign to resurrect the lost
multicolored rock. Mother would
art of legitimate communication. I could just
be pleased to know that there is
see the television spot which a Mr Belvedere
another family member who col-
style gentleman sitting at his desk writing
lects things. . . .from nature.
then the caption pops up in front of him that
Bear lumbers out
reads, "Don't let English be the next Aramaic!
of Pines long reaching fingers
Write, speak, read...but don't text!" LOL!
into the meadow.
(Kelly Turner is the station manager at
-karen
KRTZ-FM Radio 98.7/92.1 in Cortez. www.
(Karen Schafer lives and writes
krtzradio.com and he can be reached at
in Gateway)
kelly@krtzradio.com)