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As time goes on, trouble with words not easy to fix

November 8, 2009
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

I seem to be having trouble with words these days.

That's not a good thing for a writer.

Most times the word I want starts with the same letter of the word I used, so I just sit there looking helpless until the real word comes. The kids here at work try to help me figure out what I want to say. Either that or they're making fun of me.

Some people who need a word can just leave a space for that word and go on, but I can't do that. I've got to know where I've been before I know where I'm going.

That's a little like what my sister, Cindy, always laughs at. She and I were taking Dad to Marshalltown for eye lasering one day long ago, so we tucked him in the back seat - he couldn't see anyway - and we sat in the front talking. And talking and talking.

Running down I-35, we passed the Highway 30 turnoff to Marshalltown. About two miles past that get-off, Dad crowded into the conversation.

"I think you missed the exit," he said.

Cindy looked at me so quickly she almost got whiplash.

See there - I just wrote whiplast, which, of course, isn't a word, though indicative of my problem. And, of course again, I changed it before you had to read such stupidity.

But, back to Cindy and her whiplash. She looked at me, frowned and said, "I thought you knew where we were going."

"I do," I answered. "I just don't know how to get there."

That's become a save-all through the years. If I can't figure out how to get someplace, that Dad fiasco comes up to take the edge off before I'm screaming mad.

OK, now back to my word problem.

I'm just letting you know ahead of time, if something totally nonsensical gets past my mind filter at any time, don't blame me. Don't pity me, either. It's kind of interesting trying to figure out what I want. Like a word game gone bad.

Just an aside - I love to see wild grapes growing on fence lines.

Well, two asides. I also love to hear Richard Sterban's rich bass voice when the Oak Ridge Boys are singing "Juliet" because you can almost feel the sound vibrating. Years ago it was hard for me to like the Oaks. I felt like I was being disloyal to the Statler Brothers, but after seeing the Boys live a few times, I can't not like them. They're magnetic. And they're back to their original wow factor with Golden - William Lee Golden - back in the fold.

It was 1972 when I learned to like country music, and the Statler Brothers came on the radio a lot. I didn't know there were four of them, and I was so impressed that one man could change his voice so much. I was standing in the back of the small newspaper we owned in Keenesburg, Colo., trying to set type for a headline when it dawned on me there were four of them, not one. That knowledge came when the deejay raved about Harold, Phil, Don and Lew.

When Lew left the Statlers, the group stayed popular, but it wasn't the same.

Just like my words. It's just not the same.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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