Redneck Yokels, Grammar in Real Life, and Dead Groundhog Walking

No fighting with my sons about grammar today.  Here’s why:

So, there I am, half listening to Nephew13 while I’m driving home in rush hour traffic on the Baltimore Beltway last Friday afternoon.  He’s prattling on about how he makes maps (some sort of graphic) for a computer game he likes, and I’m uh-huh-ing, and dodging and braking and trying not to be too conspicuous driving around in Maryland with my Pennsylvania plates.

I know what Maryland drivers think of PA drivers, since I used to be an MD driver.  They think that PA drivers are a bunch of redneck yokels who can’t drive their way out of a paper bag.

The MDers are wrong, though.  PAers don’t drive badly.  In fact, they’re very polite drivers.  It’s just that they don’t understand “rush hour.”  When we bought our house here in PA, the previous homeowners told us, “Closing will be in Gettysburg.  Oooo.  You’d better plan to get there with plenty of extra time because of the rush hour traffic.”

There were like, 6 extra cars in Gettysburg during “rush hour” traffic.  We were 40 minutes early and had to sit in the car, sweating.  I thought we had just misunderstood a local joke, because no one could possibly be serious about 6 extra cars being “rush hour.”

But no, just ask any of the locals in the area and they are dead serious about the  hassle of “rush hour traffic” in Gettysburg.

I have more trouble in the middle of the day when I get stuck behind a tractor.  Now, that’ll make you late to your appointment.  Not rush hour in G’burg.

So, anyway.  There I am, driving in real rush hour traffic with the other 300,000 cars on the road, half listening to Nephew13…when he says the magic words that almost killed us all.

“…but they rejected my applications, so I’ve been working really hard on my grammar.”

Working on his grammar?  What?!?  I almost caused a 300,000 car pile-up.

“Whoa!  What was that?  Can you say it a little louder?  Boys!  Listen!”

Apparently, Nephew13 filled out some applications, hoping to work with the makers of the games he enjoys and share his maps with them.  But they rejected him and were kind enough to tell him why: “Try again when you learn grammar and spelling.”

My boys, who have been fighting me tooth and nail about grammar and asking, “When will we ever need this in real life,” needed to hear this.

“Go ahead, Nephew13.  Tell us again what you just said.”

“I said, I’m working on my grammar because it’s really bad.”

“And why is this–you wanted a job but you couldn’t get it? Is that right?”


“Say it in a complete sentence, so we can all hear.”

“I wanted a job, but I couldn’t get it because my grammar was too bad.”

Fortunately, my kids were so stuffed with Cici’s pizza and brownies and high on the adrenalin rush from getting toys from the gumball machines, that they were good-natured about their mother’s crowing and I-told-you-so-ing.

I assured Nephew13 that there was hope for him, and if he wanted to send me any of his writing, I could assess it for him.

‘Course, he doesn’t have a job, so he can’t afford my fee…


Picture of the day?  Eep.  I only have this bad picture.  It’s of the groundhog that lives in the backyard that ran away when I opened the window for a better shot.

The next door neighbor–remember him?  The ex-soldier who is currently in the marine reserves, who spooks easily?  He’s got a vendetta against this groundhog and warned us that if we heard a gunshot, it would be him taking out the groundhog.  I think he was kidding, but if not, see above about redneck yokels.


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