word of the day: dapple

by erika

Hi Friends,

Just the other day, while heading to the zoo, me, my ez, and our dear friend Megan were hit by a semi truck. Yep. An 18-wheeler who decided that he needed our lane to turn on to I-70, whether our little blue Rabbit was there or not. I rarely swear in front of ezra but with a large blue Peterbuilt barreling down on us, FUCK!!!! came flying out of my mouth faster than I could almost-6-year-old censor myself.

Spoiler alert–we were all completely fine, the chain-smoking truck driver was ticketed, and the car is likely totaled.

While sitting on the berm waiting for the police in 100 degree weather, however, there was a lot of kid- brain processing going on–ez feeling guilty because he had been fussing moments before we were hit, ez’s fears about who would get in trouble, would the car be ok, would we still get to the zoo. To shift his focus from fear, I looked to humor. “Did you hear that F-bomb mama dropped?” Giggles from the backseat. “I should really work on that, huh, buddy? What if those had been my last words?” More giggles. “That would have been terrible, mama! You need to say something better before you die.”

I have long been obsessed with Famous Last Words and have a little love affair with the image of these final utterances hanging in the air over the just-dead, falling on them, letter by letter, like a soft, final rain. Some favorites:

Sir Isaac Newton: “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

O.O. McIntyre,an American reporter, who spoke his last words to his wife Maybelle: “Snooks, will you please turn this way. I like to look at your face.”

Oscar Wilde: “This wallpaper is terrible – one of us will have to go!”

Emily Dickinson: “I must go in, for the fog is rising.”

Steve Jobs: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”

word of the day: dapple

Back on the berm, we started playing the game “Better last words” and laughed as we practiced yelling favorite words like, “Ocean!” “Luther!” “Baked potato with butter!” Imagining ourselves careening into the unknown calling out our favorite foods, pets, and people got us all breathing again. These last words, hollered in the face of fear like magical incantations, would shuttle our spirits along better than “f-bombs” (as ez was excited to say, over and over). I landed on “dapple” and couldn’t get past it. Besides the ocean and ezra’s eyes, I might like nothing better–in sound and in actuality. The definition of dapple is none too artful, but its use always conjures horses, clouds, sunlight, and cottonwoods. I can imagine no better path into the afterlife than a dappled grove or fullmoonspeckled country road, no better escort than a soft-nosed, mottled grey and white mare. ez, returning again and again to humor–and food–screamed into Death’s mean mug my favorite Starbucks order, “Half caf soy latté extra ice!” and “Noodle!” making me laugh harder and relax.

But “Dapple!” I kept yelling, like the children in Peter Pan who are looking for their fizzy-lifting spell. “Dapple!” I cried, hoping to firm the word into my fight or flight response so that the next time the Reaper moves into my lane to cut me off, I’ll be ready. dapple.

Love to all,

not-so-silent e