Wednesday, September 10, 2008


My husband has decided to put his stamp collection up for sale on e-bay. He doesn't collect anymore. Hasn't for years. He thinks his collection might be worth money to someone.

One of our sons has an enormous sport card collection. He doesn't collect anymore. We put his collection in the attic. It might be worth money someday.

All this collection moving has reminded me of the items I collected as a kid. My favorite collection was my word collection. When I heard a word that intrigued me, I printed it neatly on a scrap of paper and stuffed it into a shoe box that I'd wrapped in quote-covered paper.

I don't have the shoe box anymore, but I can remember some of the words I collected. Like the word picayune. My Dad used to say that word all the time. As in: "Don't give me anymore of your picayune excuses." He was the only person I ever heard say that word. I thought he'd made it up. Then one day, I read it in a story. I printed it on paper and put it in my box.

Another word I put in my box was the word raunchy. I hated that word. But my strong reaction intrigued me.

I don't put words in a box anymore. But I still collect them. the word I collected this month is: volunteers. Not the people volunteers. The plant volunteers.

I never knew plants were called volunteers. And then last week, I went to the garden to pick tomatoes. I came back with a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes--my favorite kind.

"I didn't know you planted cherry tomatoes," I said to my husband Steve.

"Those are the volunteers," he said.

I thought he'd made it up. He didn't. It's in the dictionary. The plants that come back on their own are called volunteers.

I just love the plant volunteers. Maybe it's because I'm a mom and I would just faint if anyone volunteered to help me with household tasks. Maybe it's because I'm a teacher and when I ask for a volunteer, no one raises a hand.

"We know we're apathetic," said a student. "And we don't care that we're apathetic."

I work everyday to combat that attitude. So maybe that's why I admire the volunteers. Nobody planted them. They're just out in our garden reproducing like crazy.

So what about you? What word intrigued you today?