This post was originally published on August 29, 2006.
My mom is an English teacher. "Ahhhhh," you’re saying, "NOW I get it."
I grew up in a rural Arkansas town where poor grammar is as much a part of life as Friday night football. Combine the two, and you had the weekly chant from the stands, as the refs carefully measured a play, "MOVE THEM CHAINS! MOVE THEM CHAINS!" Not my mother. She instructed my brother and me that oh-yes-ma’am our family chants, "MOVE THOSE CHAINS! MOVE THOSE CHAINS!" We stood out a little, but around our house, it was appropriate to fall on your sword for good grammar.
And it rubbed off on me, definitely. The most romantic thing that happened to me in adolescence was a secret admirer who, for a period of a couple of weeks, covered my ’78 powder blue Pontiac Grand Prix with flowers overnight, every night, as it sat in our driveway. The first morning, when my mother and I dashed out to investigate, we snagged the note that was tucked under the windshield. It read,
These are for you; I hope you enjoy them.
My mother and I, equally giddy, looked at each other and squealed, "HE USED A SEMI-COLON!"
So it should come as no surprise that my sweet Joseph crawled into my lap sniffling last week. "Mom," he whimpered, "I hurt my toe badly."
"Oh, sweet boy," I said, rubbing his foot. "I’m so proud of you for using an adverb."