National Grammar Day 2010

admin | March 4, 2010 in WordSmatter | Comments (7)

(“Language is something to be celebrated, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it. It’s not only a date, it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!” ~ As posted March 4, 2010 on


In recognition of National Grammar Day, I thought I would share the first blog I ever posted titled “Fleas and Parrots.” It was originally published in the midst of summer touring on August 1, 2005, and as I read what I wrote at the time, I realize that for all the unplanned corners and unfortunate dead ends along the road since then…I could have written it this morning.

So here it is…as it was.  See you on the road.


I travel for a living. Not all the time…not year-round. But when I’m at work, I’m gone. Real gone. Can’t have a dog gone. Hold my mail gone.

Dead plants gone.

Now I think I do pretty well keeping in touch with the folks back home. Maybe I’m wrong. “We never know how to get a hold of you.” I’ve had the same mailing address for years. “We never know where you are.” Have cell phone, will travel. Have laptop, will write.

I do, too. I’ll often stay up well into the morning hours answering email or knocking out road stories. I’ve written articles, letters, journal entries. I enjoy the exercise. Much of the time, that’s what it is for me…exercise. A nice break from the travel and a chance to stretch my seemingly deteriorating brain for a moment.

I don’t assume that I am especially good at this art of writing. I have friends that are great at it. I’ve read great writers. Still, sometimes it is fun to share a story and some of those stories just have to be written down. So I try to do it well. I’ll spend more time than necessary searching for proper spellings, correct punctuation, and the perfect metaphor.

For example, a misplaced comma can severely change your dinner plans. “Have you already eaten, gentlemen?” This shows a great deal of courtesy, a rarity in this less-than-chivalrous time of ours. “Have you already eaten gentlemen?” The second shows a bit less courtesy and somewhat negates the assumption of a vegetarian menu.

Words matter. The flower shop back at home has been selling “carantions” for over a year now. Come on, people…at least use Spell-check. I love the story of the teacher that used the word “metriculous” with me as she defended “creative spelling.” Perhaps I’ll tell that story later.

Things can slip by; those programs ain’t perfect. Sure enough, I’ll count on a computer program to correct my hasty mistakes only to find out that I’ve ordered a medley of “fleas and parrots” as my vegetable of the day.

I’ll try my hand at this. I think it’ll be fun. Another way to keep in touch and a place to stash my literary meanders. Not really sure what all will find its way into this world that is blogging. It seems like I have a lot of options.

And so it begins.

(“Fleas and Parrots” was originally published August 1, 2005.)

7 Responses to “National Grammar Day 2010”

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  1. Comment by Elisabeth — March 4, 2010 at 5:10 pm  

    Very timely Jeff…and the blog is very timely too, Jeff.

  2. Comment by Barbara — March 4, 2010 at 6:24 pm  

    Well done, Jeff; now I will do my best to spell check every time I type! Awesome article.

  3. Comment by JulesMarch 4, 2010 at 7:36 pm  

    Hey Big Brother,
    Change is an amazing thing. As much as things change at time they seem to stay the same. Five years later yet here you are still real gone with work and running, and yet sharing your stories in the world of blogging. Much love and light to you.
    Jules 😉

  4. Comment by ChristineMarch 4, 2010 at 9:30 pm  

    Jeff… you have a natural talent for writing and have a great sense of humor. I appreciate the time and effort that you spend sharing it with others. Writing is an exercise, maybe not physical, but one where you “stretch your deteriorating brain” like you said. It’s also just “fun” to let your thoughts go!

    Like I’ve said to you before… you’d make a great English Teacher!
    (Maybe in your next 30 years… right?)

  5. Comment by Genvieve GoldsteinMarch 5, 2010 at 11:48 am  

    Wow! This is awesome! I think National Grammar Day was created just for you!

  6. Comment by KimmyT — March 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm  

    luv’n the ways you write. to bad yous ain’t a teacher. them kids would luv you !!!! haha. seriously i do enjoy reading your posts, they are always inspiring and entertaining. take care

  7. Comment by Stacy — March 11, 2010 at 11:53 am  

    Well now Jeff, you never cease to amaze me. Oh, how I do love your stories. Quite the little “pick-me-up” in my day. You just keep doing what you do, McMahon…and I’ll never be the one to judge a grammatical error…as if! I’m a Kentucky girl and have to admit I throw out the word “Y’all” like it’s right there in the Webster. Hugs Jeff!

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