Tag Archives: Charles

Gallimaufry

Well it is nearly Thanksgiving, and I’m sure many of you have turkeys thawing in the refrigerator, beans ready for snapping and pies begging for the oven. I am in a quonset hut in Sebastian, Florida, listening to pelicans mumble in their sleep while my cousins Eulalia and Willis do a little night fishing. Mordecai, back from the North Country, is quietly smoking his pipe and Bubo is off gallivanting in the balmy southern skies. We are preparing for a quiet and subdued Thanksgiving, hoping that Silas returns from his boar hunting in the Everglades refreshed and reinvigorated and less morose about the loss of his toe. Surprising that he’s so delicate, isn’t it?

Tomorrow we shall eat and give thanks.

Which brings me to today’s word.

Gallimaufry is a noun with two meanings: both a hodgepodge, miscellaneous jumble or medley and a ragout or hash; a dish made of leftovers.

First used in the mid-1500s (sometime after 1545 but sometime before 1555), gallimaufry comes from the Middle French galimafree, which is a kind of sauce or stew. It is most likely an amalgamation of galer (to amuse oneself) and mafrer (to gorge oneself).

Incidentally, mafrer is from the Middle Dutch moffelen, which means to eat or nosh.

So whilst enjoying your holiday – which is sure to be a gallimaufry in all senses of the word – try to take a moment to give thanks for the people in your life, not just the things.

Chiroptera Post

After a particularly harrowing day of flivvervaat birthing, the entire house settled into a deep slumber last  night. There were reports of hail and flash lightening in the area, but no one – not even the littlest dragon – woke in agitation. I rose early to check the garden for hail stones and at the foot of my bed was a bat.

Normally, if you find a bat inside during daylight hours, that creature is ill. An ill bat is a cranky bat, and should you find yourself in this situation, I recommend calling for assistance. However, this bat was not ill. It had a letter for me from my brother.

Leave it to Mordecai to send me a missive via Chiroptera and not the United States Postal Service. I take comfort in the fact that he has apparently given up on heat-seeking-missile-mail. My 10th birthday is infamous in my family for that reason.

But I digress. Here is the letter in its entirety. Undoubtedly, you will find it as interesting as I did.

The bat is sleeping in the attic. I am sending it back from whence it came. With some ginger cake for Mordecai. It’s his favorite, and no matter what, I am a thoughtful sibling.

 

July 23

Brother,

I write to you from the dusty, deserted parking lot of La Maisonne, a gentlemen’s club in this lamentable border town. My two guides are spending my generous gratuities within, on libations first and then more carnal entertainments, no doubt. I will join them shortly, after composing this letter to you, beloved brother. Ha! I shiver at the thought of the “talent” I will discover. This town is half-dead. The only youngish human residents left behind are damaged in some way. But then, as you know modest Brother, I do enjoy damaged playthings…

The penetration into the wilderness sector was uneventful. A bumpy jeep ride through a sylvan tunnel brought us to the base of the massif where we made camp. We chose the shortest but most difficult ascent route since my guides have no desire to loiter in the sector, and I have no desire to linger in their company. Guides are an unfortunate necessary. The sector this far north is unfamiliar to me, and disorienting. The forests are vast and dense, and they teem with unknown things, some dangerous. I left Charles behind in my room in the town, 30 miles or so from the mountain. It is best to remain as anonymous as possible with these people, not that they display any interest in who I am or what my purpose may be. I pay, and that is what matters. Still, Charles can be an identifiable conversation piece and I prefer to limit those. It was perhaps an unnecessary precaution as the guides hardly regarded or spoke to me at all. One prattled on in a disgusting monologue about past exploits in La Maisonne while the other grunted occasionally and more frequently drank from a flask.

We began the ascent at daybreak. I climbed a good distance behind my companions. No need for curious eyes to spy what items I removed. We ascended almost completely vertically, shortly finding ourselves immersed in a wet cloud. Every sensation is more enhanced here and this cloud was no different—very wet, very cold, very blue. I inhaled the cloud mist and it had an indescribable taste.  I wonder what changes my body will endure from breathing this cloud. I feel simultaneously more full of vigor and more enervated.

Although most of my targets were to be found above the treeline, I knew I may find some items of interest hidden in the rocks of the scree. I did find some things; I snatched them. Some went into my hiking turban and others into my pack. When I reached the peak, my guides were crouched in a crevice, protected from the wind, chewing on jerky. They regarded me with exhausted, vacant animal-eyes. If they knew what valuable things could be found among these rocks they just might afford to leave the border town, but then again, maybe they wouldn’t want to. Under the pretense of waiting for the sun to burn off the cloud cover, I wandered about the jagged peak. I now have many things to show you, Brother. But first, the treasures of La Maisonne call.

 

Mordecai

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Farandman

Early this morning, before the full heat set in, Mordecai left. He had spent a good deal of the past few days carefully packing his pack and whittling wood stakes, thin and sturdy, like tiny daggers. He and Charles bid adieu and they left before the city was covered in a hot haze that made it appear mythical and not fully real.

Which brings me to today’s word!

Farandman is an old Scottish noun for a wayfarer, traveling merchant or peddler. It is derived from the Middle English (northern dialect) farand (present participle of Middle English faren to go, travel) + Middle English man.

While my brother is peddling nothing more than his specific brand of trouble, I believe this old Scottish word is an appropriate send off for Mordecai.

Bubo flew behind for a few hours and said that except for a small fire that may not have been Mordecai’s fault, his exodus from Brooklyn seemed smooth.

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Summer Treats

It is awfully summer-like in Brooklyn. I am eating habanero ice cream and listening to the beasties low and mumble. Remarkably relaxing Tuesday, my pets.

My weekend trompsing through the woods of Boston was absolutely eye-opening. I shared fruit with a Dire Wolf. I learned that I do not like to hunt badgers, specifically utilizing “old world tactics” and I spent late evenings talking with my dear friend Josiah Whyndbotum. Josiah is always an enjoyable companion. Even in dank woods.

Mordechai is working on the jalopy. It made the trip north but we feared the worst on the way back late last night. A mid-highway break-down is one thing, but a mid-highway break-down with a vehicle full of wet-earth creatures is another. Hard to explain. Not to mention the badger pup Mordechai decided to bring back. It was a noisy trip back to Brooklyn. Charles and Bubo are rather unsettled by this new member of the family.

To be honest, I am as well. A badger baby in the basement is not what I call a good idea. And I’m the brother who tried to raise a dragon clone. So I know from bad ideas.

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