Monday, June 30, 2008

Ned in the First Reader

My husband is a NASCAR fan, so by default I have also become one. Steve's cousin works for Kevin Harvick's pit crew, so we root for him to do well. This weekend we were listening to the commentary on the practice sessions for the race. One commentator said that if Kevin Harvick didn't practice he would end up "looking like Ned in the First Reader".

It was a phrase I had never heard before, so of course I had to research it. I had heard it as "Ned, the first reiver" so my initial web search turned up The Reivers by William Faulkner. Ned is one of the characters and is determined for a certain horse to win a race. Seemed appropriate, though it didn't illuminate the meaning of the phrase. But I was impressed that the commentator made an obscure literary reference. I figured that being a Southern writer, perhaps his works were more well known than I thought.

When you type something into Yahoo Search, it comes up with suggestions for words or phrases to complete what you're typing. One of the suggestions was "Ned the first reader." I did that search and found two things quickly. One, a lot of people also want to know what "Ned in the first reader" means. Two, coaches and sports commentators are very fond of using that phrase.

A little more research revealed that it was referring to The First Reader, most likely by McGuffey but perhaps one of the many others. It is a little difficult to determine what Ned was like from the simplistic stories and pictures in the first readers I found. There were people who reminisced about what the phrase meant to them or their parents. They say either that Ned was foolish and things always turned out poorly for him, or that he was messy and slovenly.

Friday, June 27, 2008

To change or not to change

There is a time and place for everything, or so I would like to think. I tell myself that my life has been stable, placid and unchanging. I lived in the same apartment for nearly 20 years, and have worked at the same place for 25 years. Yet not everything has been the same.

There have been trips to Italy, England, Scotland, India and Egypt. I had a long time roommate who relocated, so that I could make the space at home my own. Neighbors came and went, from neutral, to horrendous and finally to pleasant and friendly. And then within the last two years my life turned upside down.

It all started when I joined an on-line match service. I met and married my husband, and moved from the apartment that I had finally made into a cozy nest ... into a bachelor's townhome with a nineteen year-old step-son. From tranquility to chaos.

My husband had worked for his company for 25 years as well: a recipe for stability, yes? Within a short time, there were layoffs at his firm, and then reorganization at mine. With change being dictated to us, we decided to take advantage of it. So now we are planning to uproot and move cross-country.

He is looking for a job in the mid-Atlantic region, and I am waiting until he finds one to search for my position. Then it will be time to madly pack and discard and prepare to move us, his son, and a crotchety cat from here to there. Wherever "there" might be. A new and different world awaits.