Archive | November, 2017


25 Nov

Definition – Whoa: cease or slow a course of action or a line of thought: pause to consider or reconsider – often used to express a strong reaction (such as alarm or astonishment).

Sock in hand, my husband pointed down towards his little toe on his left foot … & not without reason. His toe wasn’t just bruised, it was swollen & a hateful shade of purple. He said he didn’t yell, “Whoa,” when he got up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for work & wrapped his little toe around a chair leg in the dark with the force of a Jedi. The Whoa didn’t come until he did that the SECOND morning in a row in the dark (same time, same toe, same chair) & then he yelled it, along with several expletives that sent our cat quaking under the bed.  Not that I wasn’t concerned … the toe looked really painful (but didn’t seem to be broken) … but my second thought was about the word, Whoa; how often we use it & in such a multitude of ways.

My husband put his sock back on & limped towards the family room, muttering something under his breath that sounded like, “so much for being married to a nurse.”

Just like the definition, we use Whoa,” to mean stop or slow down or when we’re alarmed or astonished (all of those seemed to have been combined in my husband’s, “Whoa” early on Tuesday morning.)

Recently, we’ve mostly heard Whoa used in a table context, like, “Whoa … take that turkey away from me,” & “Whoa … no more pecan pie for this pilgrim.”  But it’s also been used when following Uncle Jack’s trip into the bathroom after one of his marathon “SITS” on the throne that involved a magazine & way too much time on his hands (or buttocks). “WHOA!”

If you are a cat lover & share your home & life with one or more of them, you’re probably all too familiar with stepping into a puddle of cat yak barefooted. I’m not talking about routine cat yak filled with partially digested Meow Mix. The cat yak I’m referring to is all clear, slimy & warm & has a disgusting fur ball in the middle. When you step into that barefooted (which is what my husband refers to as “ectoplasm”), it’s often a great time to yell, “Whoa!” He did & he has, which was probably just laying the groundwork for wrapping his little toe around that chair leg 2 mornings in a row.

We sometimes pray a parent will yell, “WHOA!” while visiting us in our home as their unruly child makes yet another lap around our coffee table in pursuit of our cat. In that context, Whoa is just good manners & swell “visiting etiquette” & saves, at the very least, one of the cat’s 9 lives … or at least we hope so.

Whoa is used in an attempt to stop horses & cars & run-away brides, & sometimes it’s effective. It’s used to deflect a second kiss from an amorous individual with whom we do not wish to share a second. It’s used, along with a hand hoovering over a coffee cup, to stop the flow of that hot, rich, brown liquid if we don’t wish to have any more. It can also be used to describe the extreme pain that follows if the person pouring more coffee into your cup does not understand the coffee-pouring context of, “Whoa!”

Whoa is a multipurpose word that can be used as a single word expression that sums up a moment, no matter what the context.

As we’re drifting into the Christmas season now that Thanksgiving is behind us, when we find ourselves using the word, “Whoa,” stop for just a moment & think about how many ways we use it, especially at Christmas.

When you hear a Christmas carol in church on Christmas Eve, your eyes suddenly fill with tears & you think, “Whoa!” … enjoy for a moment the feelings, lost & forgotten that suddenly surface … that have brought you to that word & how much emotion there is behind it.

When we wake up on Christmas morning & see the look of wonder in the eyes of a child or grandchild when they see the shimmering tree & the gifts & know the “magic” associated with being reassured that Santa has actually come … under our breath & with a catch in our throats, we may murmur to ourselves, “Whoa …”

When we volunteer to serve a meal to those in need on Christmas Day or donate food to the Food Pantry or gifts to people we don’t know whose names we found on trees in malls … children & seniors … that rush of emotion that wells up in our hearts, behind our eyes & prompts us to whisper, “Whoa!” is surely the very best use of the word because it comes from deep within our hearts & souls; a place still untouched by what’s wrong with the world today.

And now that I’ve gotten us all thinking about Whoa, I’m going to end this & go stitch tiny little LED lights on the toes of the new socks I’ve gotten my husband for Christmas. I got the idea from an LED light our son & daughter-in-law gave my husband for his birthday. It’s multicolored & fits in the rim of our toilet. When you raise the lid, the light comes on, guiding the user like a beacon & helping avoid accidents in the dark at night.  When he puts the new socks on the lights will automatically spring to life & will guide him around chair & table legs in the wee wee hours of the morning, unscathed. I’m hoping it will reduce his negative use of the word, “Whoa!” & reserve it for happy sights, good food & the occasional warm, slippery dance when stepping in ectoplasmic cat yak in the hallway.

May we all have the surrealistic pleasure of hearing, “Whoa, Dasher & Dancer & Prancer & VixenComet, Cupid, Donner & Blitzen” on our rooftops very soon.

(Have I got several pair of LED-lit socks for Rudolph …. )