This dreary Sunday afternoon, my guy and I sat down to a lovely brunch of maple bacon, scrambled eggs, and biscuits with gravy. He cooks the “breakfast meat” (his phrase). I make the eggs. It’s been our routine for years.

The biscuits were a new thing he’d been craving this week. I’m not much of a fan of sausage gravy so I had mine plain. He reminded me of apple butter I’d bought him months ago. As a child I’d disliked it, but decided to give it another chance.

It’s actually pretty good. Go figure. However, none of this is what I meant to share with you. It was merely setting the scene for my guy’s quote.

On my way into the kitchen to fetch the apple butter, I heard, “I’m sorry we don’t have any grape jelly for you, or raspberry, or poisonberry.”I thought I must have heard that wrong so I waited until I’d returned to the living room (where we do the majority of our eating) to question him on it. “Did you say POISON berry?” I asked with careful enunciation on the word.”Yeah,” he retorted in his light, I-don’t-understand-what-the-big-deal-is voice. “Like the stuff we get at IHOP.”

“Poison berry,” I asked a second time, simply to make sure I’d heard it correctly.

“Uh huh.”

“Dear, it’s BOYSENberry.”

There was a silent beat, and then he said, “Oh.”

Still dumbfounded by this, I asked, “Poison berry? Really? Who would eat something called that?”

“I don’t know…” I think he added a pithy remark but I was too dumbfounded to recall what it was.

[Update at 2:18pm, my guy recalled what he’d said, it was: “Lots of people eat poison. Like blow fish. Okay, maybe it’s just the Japanese.”]

 

This is not the first time he’s come up with wild words. In the beginning of our courtship he’d come up with another lovely gem: salavitate.Not salivate, but salavitate. I asked him if this was when someone hovered over another person drooling on them. He didn’t quite get the joke. But everyone else I tried it on did.

 

And then my personal favorite, the one that I laughed about for a good twenty minutes, was: eleventeenNot eleven, or twelve, or even thirteen but rather eleventeen. He was under the impression that everything after the number ten ended in “teen”. I made him do the count from nine.He enumerated, “Nine, ten, eleventeen, twelveteen, thirteen, fourteen…”

I hooted in laughter (this all occurred at the local Texas Roadhouse) and proceeded to grab the Heinz Fifty-Seven sauce out of the nearby condiment holder, declaring, “Hey, baby, look! It’s Heinz Fifty-seven-TEEN sauce. Oh! There’s a bottle of A-1-TEEN! And it’s a photo of Willy Nelson-TEEN!” Needless to say, he was unamused by my banter.

I asked other Midwesterners about this whole eleventeen thing to see if maybe this were a local foible I, having grown up in New England, wasn’t privy to. The locals were just as dumbfounded as I’d been.

So yeah, poisonberry, salavitate, and eleventeen would be pretty good scrabble words…if they were real.