So, a blog post by a friend about taking back words that used to have perfectly harmless meanings but have been twisted into having negative connotations in more recent years to the extent that nobody ever uses the words to mean what they originally did caused me to remember a funny little story from my childhood.
Once upon a time, I had a great-aunt who was very dear to me, more like a grandmother really, for she raised my father after his mother died when he was very young.
She was your stereotypical sweet little Christian old lady. She lived in a terrible neighborhood, where drugs and murders were rampant, but she wasn't at all afraid. No, she was a soul-winner and never missed an opportunity to ask these people that the rest of the world had given up for lost the age-old question, "If you die tonight, do you know where you'll go?" and then proceed to share the gospel story with them.
That background is necessary to appreciate the full humor of this story -- to help you picture the Bible-quoting Sunday School teacher that she was.
So I must have been about 9 or 10 years old, and mind you, I lived a very innocent and protected life, and on this particular day I was visiting with my great-aunt. Just me, it was a special treat that I was permitted to do from time to time and I loved nothing better.
So on this day so long ago, we were playing a game of Bible Trivia. We loved to play games together, but they were always Christian games -- Glory, Pilgrim's Progress, etc. This lady's entire life revolved around Jesus, I'm telling you.
I selected a card and read her the question: "Which part of the body was named after a character in the Bible?"
She thought for a moment, then answered, "Peter."
"Huh??" I said cluelessly. "It says what part of the body..."
She nods. "Yes, I know."
"But what part of the body is called Peter?" I asked in bewilderment.
She suddenly becomes quite nervous, and says she doesn't know what she was thinking, and what was the answer?
"Adam's apple..." I read off the back of the card. "But why did you say Peter?"
She dismissed the entire conversation and moved quickly along to the next question. I likely would have forgotten all about it, except that she called me that night.
"I wanted to apologize for what I said this afternoon," she says to me. "I never should have said that. I don't know what I was thinking."
"What did you say?" I questioned, straining to remember what on earth she might have said to me that she would feel the need to apologize for.
"When I answered that question and said Peter," she reminded me. "I'm really sorry, I never should have said that."
I was completely lost as to the reason for her apology, of course, and curiosity over just what this was really all about caused me to remember it years later, when I finally discovered what she meant, and just why she was so upset about this.
And looking back, I find it hysterically funny that she of all people was the first person to expose me to language bordering on vulgar.
It's always those sweet innocent old lady types that have everybody fooled, you know...