Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

U-T Columns

 

This past May 26, my celestial odometer flipped over, and I turned 80 years of youth. My column that day described my joy about that millstone — oops, milestone — in my life, and, in response, I received a billowing mailbag of congratulatory messages. I’m pleased to share a selection of your validating and sprightly birthday wishes:

Happy Mercury Birthday Your speed and liquidity are well recognized. (Mercury is element 80.) –Steve Dahms. Emeritus Chemistry, SDSU

Your 80th birthday column was a big hit. My brother-in-law celebrated his 80th birthday last night with family gathered around him. His grandchildren read aloud your column, .which brought about much laughter, along with nodding of heads amongst the elders. –Penny Fedorchak

“It’s not your day. It’s mine,” said the harpy. The bird replied, “No, it’s my day!” “Mine!” insisted the harpy. The bird was more conciliatory: “We can share.” So today is your Harpy Bird Day! –Cynthia MacGregor

I was just at Yosemite, and the ranger at the gate asked me if I wanted to purchase the senior lifetime pass to all parks. I was bruised, hurt, crushed. Yes, I bought it. One advantage to being “chronologically endowed,” I guess. -Jim Grant

As someone who paid due homage to the octo-odometer this past January (by climbing Cowles Mountain), I officially welcome a youngster like you into the club. And don’t think I didn’t catch that superb double entendre about “the saucy Holland days” you love spending with your Dutch wife.

Yes, this geezer, geek and wheezer
Caught your clever little teaser
Of your wife’s delicious cooking
(And I’m sure she’s still good looking).
May you long be there to please her.
-Phil Pryde

Thank you for your column on reaching 80. I will be embracing mine this December and am still amazed that internally I feel more like 40. I know that you collect epitaphs so here’s one that I invented for your gravestone: “Words Never Failed Me.” –George Colegrove

An octogenarian!? Lederer?
I don’t know a person who’s better or
More sesquipedalian.
Rich never is failin’
At twisted linguistics, etcetera.
-Gary Hallock

Turning 80 brings joys, pleasures and peace of mind that younger people have a difficult time understanding. I am very blessed to be too old to die young. Richard, no one can cheat us now, and the love and support of a great family brings an incomparable peace of mind. Enjoy it, and if you, like me, are planning on living forever, well, so far so good! -Kermit Achterman

Happy Birthday! As I approach my own ochentañero, I rolled in your inspired comments like a dog rolls in a road kill, eyes closed, paws clawing the air and tongue hanging loose from its mouth.-Richard Pennick

I truly enjoyed reading your thoughts about turning 80. At 64, I have started to be terribly annoyed by the company of aches and pains and all the newfound physical limitations. Gone are the days when I tended to one ache at a time; they gang up on me now. But your words encouraged me to ponder how lucky I actually am, and to consider how good life is in spite of the ticking of time on these bones. I can’t stop it, but I don’t have to let it get me down. -Ana Maria Hidalgo

I enjoyed your column today as I have many times, but with a resonance that hit home more than usual in this, my almost 78th year. You mentioned that your gratitude was overwhelming, and I echo that tenfold! Two big dogs put their paws on the bed early this morning with the message “You told us last night not to let you sleep in just because it’s Saturday!” That triggered a smile and a laugh at myself as I reminisced about my wife Sandy and our 51 years of marriage before she passed away almost two years ago. Sandy had an unmatched sense of humor with a contagious ability to draw people out and make them laugh together and at themselves. My laughter at daybreak was because she always said that in her next life she was coming back as one of my dogs. I was sure that Sandy was sending me a message through the Lab and Shepherd and joining me in gratitude for our long life together — two stellar sons, six grandchildren and two fine dogs. Doesn’t get any better than that! –Robert B. Batson