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Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

The saga continues, again.

Tomorrow, the Ides of March, is the 40th anniversary of the first “Excerpts,” during the writing of which I borrowed, coined and came up with a variety of names and terms. Today’s “item,” to cite the term always used by the late Gilliam Lewis, who worked at the Record for over 60 years, is a glossary of those concoctions.

To begin, the title, Excerpts, I chose thinking I should be writing about different topics each week, which would be excerpted from the world in which I live, and thus they have been for the past four decades. An excerpt is part of a larger picture, and in a host of ways each is connected to the others.

When I began, I was an “old” bachelor, but eight years later, I spent 15 minutes realizing that the person I had met those minutes earlier was the one to whom I should be married. Nine months later we joined hands as a married couple; 15 months later we became a family of three and another 15 months and we were a family of four.

In an item noting the arrival of the first descendent, I referred to him as a “Blessed Event.” Further down, I shortened the term to “B.E.,” and thus it has remained whenever I write of either offspring. I differentiate by referring to them as “The Elder” and “The Younger” B.E. Many years ago, the former editor of the Record, John Wilson, was addressing a breakfast group in Kilmarnock, and after he finished speaking, he asked if anyone had any questions. The first one was, “What does B.E. mean?”

For many years now, I have been asked ofttimes to explain who Gladys is, given her frequent appearances in the column. I treat her as a member of the family, albeit at times a very frustrating one.

Gladys was a present from my friend, Michelle Simmons, who gave her to me one September 28th, which happened to be the birthday of our family friend, the late Gladys Watson, who had operated a beauty salon and later, with her late husband, Sam, The Shoe Store on West Church Street in Kilmarnock, hence the name. Gladys W. was amused and liked to ask me about her whenever we spoke. We celebrate her birthday each year on September 28th. For those who might be new readers, Gladys is a Cotton Patch goose.

Gladys’s companion, Henry, is not my namesake. He is the result of my friend, Lewis Shelton, having hatched his egg three years ago. He is a lovely animal, quite gregarious, gentle, and almost always happy. Only once has he complained. On that occasion, he had wandered off to the yard of our understanding neighbor, Mary Margaret Clegg, who called me with the words, “I think one of your animals is over here.”

My Good Wife and I hastened over, and hearing our voices, Henry tore around the side of Mary’s house, honking without stopping, obviously peeved that we had not come sooner. My Good Wife is a wonderful sport, and she picked him up and carried him home. Henry ignominiously accepted her assistance. Fortuitously, that escapade has not been repeated.

Lastly, I have gone back to the 16th century to find the ideal term for my beloved spouse, namely, the Good Wife. In Tudor England, the good wife, sometimes spelled, “goodwife,” referenced the chatelaine of the house, the person who kept matters going, the heart of the family. Frequently, she was also the heir to her late husband’s business, or a partner with him, and in such a case, she undertook that twofold purpose.

In my case the description resounds quite accurately.

Next week, some items of note. In the meantime Happy Pi Day!

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
From the Rappahannock Record news team

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