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Woody: 'Scrooched' under the quilt

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By LARRY WOODY

I once submitted a work of fiction to one of those snooty, glossy-paged magazines that carry fancy wine columns and ads for male fragrances, that included this sentence:"Darlene scrooched under the quilt..."

"Darlene scrooched under the quilt..."

The editor sent me a note:
"What does 'scrooched' mean?"
I noted him back:
"It means that Darlene was cold.""Scrooched" is a perfectly good verb. Darlene wasn't up to something. She was just trying to get her feet warm.

"Scrooched" is a perfectly good verb. Darlene wasn't up to something. She was just trying to get her feet warm.Some people confuse "scrooched" with "scrunched," but they don't mean the same thing. Scrunched means wedged in.

Some people confuse "scrooched" with "scrunched," but they don't mean the same thing. Scrunched means wedged in.Example: "Darlene was scrunched in the back seat between Aunt Flo and Uncle Elmer."

Example: "Darlene was scrunched in the back seat between Aunt Flo and Uncle Elmer."Darlene was not only cold-natured, she came from a girth-challenged family.

Darlene was not only cold-natured, she came from a girth-challenged family.Southern

Southern writers in particular are always having to explain ourselves (or our "our-selfs.")Up North, for example, their dogs simply die. Down South, our dogs up and die.

Up North, for example, their dogs simply die. Down South, our dogs up and die.Up North, "cheer" is something pretty girls in short skirts do at football games. Down South, a "cheer" is something you sit in.

Up North, "cheer" is something pretty girls in short skirts do at football games. Down South, a "cheer" is something you sit in.You'd be surprised how many of my friends in Toledo get "fetch" and "tote" confused. Example: "When Grandma went to fetch some water, she had to tote it all the way from the spring."

You'd be surprised how many of my friends in Toledo get "fetch" and "tote" confused. Example: "When Grandma went to fetch some water, she had to tote it all the way from the spring."In the

In the summer Grandma would tote her turnip greens in a poke. A poke is a sack.There are different kinds of

There are different kinds of poke. A cow poke, for example, and a slow poke. Or a poke in the nose. And there's poke sallet (not to be confused with salad). You can tote your poke sallet in a paper poke.It gives Yankees headaches.

It gives Yankees headaches.Same goes for "fetch." It can mean to go get something:

Same goes for "fetch." It can mean to go get something:"Fetch me that shovel, will you Pete?"

"Fetch me that shovel, will you Pete?"Or it can mean to deliver a blow:

Or it can mean to deliver a blow:"Get it yourself," said Pete as he fetched Merle a lick up-side the head.

"Get it yourself," said Pete as he fetched Merle a lick up-side the head.Growing up in the mountains, I was exposed to Old English and Scot-Irish influences, including the attaching of an "a" prefix to some words. Such as:

Growing up in the mountains, I was exposed to Old English and Scot-Irish influences, including the attaching of an "a" prefix to some words. Such as:
"Let's go a-fishing."
Or: "Ol' Man Higgins is a-drinking."
Or: "Ol' Miz Higgins is a-chasing Ol' Man Higgins with a shovel."
And: "He'd better keep a-running. He should have gone a-fishing. "Of

Of course I long ago left such hillbilly nuances behind. They don't influence me a-tall.
Speaking of writing, in a press conference I once listened to then-Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight sarcastically berate a roomful of sports writers."Most people," grumped Knight, "learn to write in the second grade, then go on to other things." (This from a man who earned HIS living teaching overgrown kids how to bounce a ball and toss it in a basket.)

"Most people," grumped Knight, "learn to write in the second grade, then go on to other things." (This from a man who earned HIS living teaching overgrown kids how to bounce a ball and toss it in a basket.)

But Coach Knight is correct in a way - none of us writers produce any new words. They're all right there in Webster's Dictionary. All we have to do is assemble and re-cycle them.

But somebody has to do it. Otherwise how will we ever find out why Darlene was scrooched under that quilt?

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