Indeed, we’re on our way home. There is only one teensy problem. We have no home to go home to. Well, at least not the bricks and mortar kind.
As you may recall, when we retired last October, we sold our home and our possessions, to go on this journey. But we’re not sad about that – no shoveling snow, no cleaning gutters, no mowing , no replacing fencing or the roof, and no endless time-consuming, money intensive other prevention and maintenance chores that have to be done. But now, more than ever, I know that home isn’t really a building or a specific place. Home really is where the hearts is. My husband Tim is my partner in life and in crime. He’s my best friend. And so it’s easy to say that when I’m with him – I’m home. But there is more to the story. My heart has a few loves who, unfortunately, do not live in the Casita with us. My three grandsons – how I miss them.
My sons, Gene and Chris, and their wives, Jenny and Liz. My brother Lou, and his wife Bev. And of course, my sister Joan. Tim’s sister Patty, who we have gotten to see twice in the last year, while traveling through California. But there are even more – all of their children, and their children’s children. Cousins galore. Friends from school days. Now that is a family – our family – and I miss them one and all, from the bottom, and with all of ,my heart.
We’ve been on the road for over a year now. it has been a true blessing. We have seen breathtaking beauty. We’ve met unforgettable people. We’ve pushed the limits of our envelope. It hasn’t all been a bowl of cherries, not when you’re sharing a space that’s probably not quite 100 sq ft. People who live in tiny houses can learn a thing or two from us. Comments have run the gamut from, “That’s fascinating”, to “You’ve go to be kidding”, to “And you’re both still alive?” We’ve been asked so many times, “How do you do it?” There are a few things that make this work – respect for one another, and a sense of humor . And a willingness to “make it work”. (Thank you Tim Gunn).
It isn’t always easy. The most difficult part is missing family. That’s why we are so happy to be heading “home”. I feel like a horse going back to the stable. We’re driving faster ( of course within the speed limits), and putting in more time at the wheel.
The towns we’re passing through are not on our bucket list. Hugoton, Kansas, whose main attraction is Wagon Bed Springs, a “once vital watering source on Santa Fe Trail” – okay. Then we have Goddard, Kansas, home of Tanganyika Wildlife Park. Having just seen wildlife in many National Parks, we took a pass on this one. And let’s not forget Odessa, Kansas – home of One Good Taste Country Store – and our campground, owned and operated by One Good Taste Country Store. I haven’t even been able to find roadside oddities in these towns. But we’re not home yet, so let’s see what happens.
The next state we passed through was Missouri. Is it pronounced like Missouruh, or Missouree? My question is why the controversy – how did this happen? For the answer, I turned to The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations, Charles Elster discusses, in detail, the ongoing debate about the correct pronunciation of the last syllable in Missouri.
Elster informs us. In June 1976 and again in 1989 the Midwest Motorist magazine conducted a poll of Missourians In 1976, 60 percent of Missourians chose -ee as preferred. In 1989, 66 percent of Missourians chose -ee as preferred. For more on this “fascinating” debate, go to the end of this post and read the article by Danita Allen Wood. By the way, I say Missouree.
Just as I was hoping that this pronunciation debate wasn’t the only thing I could write about besides possibly Mark Twain, who was born in Hannibal, Missouri (even though we aren’t passing through Hannibal), a wonderful thing happened. We stumbled upon Warm Springs Ranch, in Boonville, Missouri.
This ranch is one of three hubs for the breeding and raising of Budweiser Clydesdale Horses. We took a tour of this magnificent place, even got to pet Radar, a long-time resident of the ranch.
The tour was full of interesting info about the Clydesdales and how they became the symbol for Budweiser. I like this tidbit: Check out this Clydesdale horse shoe. Most of you know what a regular horseshoe looks and feels like, right? Look at this one. Humungous!!!
and they love being combed…look at him raising his head high…
We saw two – two-week old Clydesdales, Shay, daughter of Sheila, and Jedi, son of Judi. This is a picture of Jedi. Baby Clydesdales weigh about 150 pounds when they’re born. Isn’t he fabulous?
They told us about the naming of the horses. For the last 30 years or so, the ranch manager, John Soto, got to name the foals. Everyone is named depending on the mom’s name. So – the first letter of mom Judi’s name starts with the letter “j”, so her baby’s name starts with a “J” – Jedi. Now this has been going on, as I said, for 30 years. With one exception. When Belle gave birth, her son was given the name Taco. Don’t you just love that?
At the end of the tour, the group was treated to ice cold Budweiser beer. Here’s a picture of guess who? Tim at the tap.
`What a great day!
The next day, being in a “horsey” mood, we swung through Paris, and Versailles, Kentucky. This is Kentucky horse country. The horses, farms, stables and pastures are truly a sight to see.
I am currently sitting at Flatwoods KOA campground in Sutton, West Virginia, doing my laundry. After washing several loads, I find that only one dryer works. So here I shall remain for several hours to get this done. Oh well – I told you it wasn’t all a basket of cherries…
We are 6 h 13 min (404.4 mi) from Philadelphia, PA. As anxious as we are to see our family and friends, we haven’t had a taste of the most delectable food on earth – and we’re running out of time, because there is a “season”. I am speaking , of course, of the succulent Maryland Blue Crab. Tim and I both love them. Tim even has a pair of khaki shorts with blue crabs embroidered all over them, which he only wears when we eat crabs (thank goodness).
So I guess we won’t go straight to Philly. We’ll stop in Charlestown, Maryland at our favorite place for crabs, The River Shack, at The Wellington Inn.
We arrived at the River Shack at 8:50 pm, And they close at 9 pm. I called a few times while we were on the road, so they knew we were coming. Kris the manager said that if we get there by 9, we get crabs. We made it. We got our crabs – and corn-on-the-cob, and fries, and chicken wings with apple-garlic sauce. YUM! They were so good. I do want to give a shout out to Kris, the manager, Charli, the server, and Dawn, the chef. I hope The Wellwood knows what great employees they have.
CHARLI – KRIS – DAWN
After leaving Maryland, we realized that we don’t have current inspection stickers. Driving into Pennsylvania could mean a big, fat ticket. I know because we got one of them before – for the same reason. So, instead of driving into PA, we drove into Galloway, New Jersey, to the Shady Pines Campground Resort. We’re going to stay here in New Jersey until we have the car inspected, and do all of he things that need doing like dental and doctor appointments, and shopping for new T-shirts, cause’ most of mine have holes in them. Honestly, you would think we’re hobos, or an incarnation of “The Beverly Hillbillies”. We’ll be headed to Florida, to SUN-N-FUN Campground, for at least 2 months, in November. But don’t worry. Being so close to the NJ coast, I plan on visiting and reporting on Atlantic City . And then onward to Florida.
For those of you who love (and I do mean love) the nitty gritty of things, I offer you
THE MISSOURI PRONUNCIATION DEBATE
Article By Danita Allen Wood
Mizuree or Mizzuruh?
When Greg and I revived Missouri Life in 1998, I said I’d never jump into the old Missour-ee versus Missouri-uh debate. But two reasons compel me to go back on my word.
The first is that technology is changing my own pronunciation. I still say “Muh-zur-uh” most of the time, much to my children’s dismay. But the desire to have listeners spell my e-mail address correctly has me using the ee pronunciation. I pronounce carefully and spell out my first name, “d-a-n-i-t-a” then say “at Muh-zur-ee Life — one word — dot com.”
The second is a recent scholarly investigation into the pronunciation of our state name by retired English Professor Donald Lance at the University of Missouri at Columbia. He passed away in 2002 while preparing the article for the journal American Speech, but Professor Matthew Gordon, also at MU, finalized the article.
The paper explores “what the Indians said” to early explorers, how Indians in the 1800s said the words, and other evidence.
The Peorias, within the Illinois branch of the Algonquian Indians, are credited with naming their neighbors, the Siouan Missouri Indians. The name meant “one who has a wood boat” and would have been pronounced wee-mee-soo-reet or wee-mih-soor-ita,where the i in mih rhymes with the one in “bit.”
After Jacques Marquette stayed with the Peorias, he drew a map in 1673 placing the Missouri Indians west of the Mississippi and spelling their name as Ôemessôrit. Marquette actually used a French symbol, an o with two horn-like protrusions at the top but shown as Ô here. Other early explorers between 1681 and 1697 spelled the Algonquian’s name for the Missouri Indians as Ômissouri, Emissourita, Missourita, Missouris, Massorites, and Messorites.
Eventually, through French influence, the Missouri Indians adopted the name for themselves and most likely pronounced it mih-zur-ee-yay, with a long a, to rhyme with “say” or “Francais.”
The next evidence was language data collected from 1830 to 1930. Lance found the uh or schwa form, represented by ə in the dictionary, as the most common pronunciation of the final vowel. Later but similar language research done with people born between 1880 and the 1950s found Americans pronounced each syllable in a variety of ways, including mih or muh, zoor (rhymes with “pure”) or zur (rhymes with “purr”), and finally ee, uh, eye, and also short i (as in “bit”) for the last syllable. In fact, the research shows the short i was more common than the long i.
Lance considered two possible explanations for the frequency of the uh pronunciation. He quotes a source from 1894: “The Irish generally substitute ə for i [in unstressed syllables, e.g. courage, ditches]; this substitution is a peculiarity, also, of a very large proportion of the cultivated American inhabitants of Philadelphia, New York City, and some parts of the South and West. A familiar instance is the Western pronunciation Mizurə.”
Another possible explanation is that when Americans first saw the word in print, they interpreted the final spelled i as a long i, rhyming with “eye,” but then as the syllable weakened in stress, it was reduced to the schwa, or uh sound.
Lance also said if the uh developed through leveling of unstressed syllables, you would expect to find the loss of the uh altogether, leaving just Muh-zur, and indeed, he found that pronunciation, too.
Many people think the uh was Southern, but Lance said the early language data does not support that. A century ago, uh was heard from Maine to Georgia. In fact, more people in the Northern states of Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania said uh than ee, and ee was more common in South Carolina and Georgia.
If the Irish-Americans were responsible, then their settlement patterns help explain the distribution of uh across the country. Lance speculated that the uh sound in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina is a reflection of Scotch-Irish immigration into those areas. Then the sound spread into Tennessee, Mississippi, northern Texas, lower Alabama, western Louisiana, and Arkansas.
So I can choose to blame my uh pronunciation on either my father’s Arkansas ancestors or my mother’s McQueen ancestors.
There was little change in the prevalence of these vowels until about 1900, when the automobile and telephone began to increase communication between people from different regions. The use of ee rose right along with usage of the car and the occurrences of World War I and the Roaring Twenties. Increasing education probably led to an increase in ee as the more common pronunciation of the final vowel at the expense of folk speech, Lance said.
So which pronunciation is right? Actually, all four are correct: muh-zur-eye, muh-zur-uh, mezur, or muh-zur-ee. Or if not correct, at least explainable.
It probably doesn’t matter. Lance also found that uh is rapidly disappearing, at least among MU students. The majority of the use today is in northwestern Missouri, including Kansas City, but its usage is declining there, as well.
I blame it on e-mail.