what’s the best way to clean up OJ and chicken soup on a chair?

I should be specific; off a fabric-covered chair?

This was one dilemma that came up this evening after a wonderful day with the kiddies. We finally got their parents to leave for a few days and so we got to play. We went out for lunch, then went to batting cages for some practice (the little one was very patient because we told him he could do it at the end, but at the end, we just didn’t remind ourselves out loud of our promise and we left), then home to play, color, cut up the paper into shreds that we just colored, and ate dinner. The fairly-full cup of juice spilling over the boy, the chair, and the sister indicated that indeed, we were all tired. Bed was achieved for the boys without incident and the big girl will take care of herself.

With a little reminder.

I just spent five minutes knocking at the bathroom door to get her to answer me to get out of the shower.

I’ll probably have to go back in another 5 minutes. No doubt.

In the meantime, I just looked up another question that was posed the other day at lunch by a 5 year-old guest. Actually, he requested another fork, because the one he had he claimed was broken.

It was a dessert fork.

Did you ever stop to think about why the end prong is slightly dented and larger? Now I did. ISHI thought that it was to help stabilize cake as it is cut. Being a lefty, I guess it never got used for that purpose and I just really thought it was for decoration. But another Google search here shows:

The shapes of the fork tines accommodate particular foods. Forks wrought with long tapered tines, such as a dinner fork, are made to spear thick morsels of food, such as steak. Forks with a wide left tine and an optional notch, such as a salad fork, fish fork, dessert fork, and pastry fork, provide extra leverage when cutting food that normally does not require a knife. Forks with curved tines, such as the oyster fork, are made to follow the shape of the shell.

So that makes sense. But the history of the fork is quite fascinating! Here’s some more from the same site:

By the seventh century, small forks were used at Middle Eastern courts; one such fork, a small, gold, two-pronged tool, came to Italy in the eleventh century in the dowry of a Byzantine princess who married Domenico Selvo, a Venetian doge. After witnessing the princess use the fork, the church severely censured her, stating that the utensil was an affront to God’s intentions for fingers. Thereafter the fork disappeared from the table for nearly 300 years.

In England the fork was slow to gain acceptance because it was considered a feminine utensil. The exception was the ‘sucket’ fork, a utensil used to eat food that might otherwise stain the fingers, such as “a silvir forke for grene gynger” noted in an inventory taken in 1523 of Lady Hungerfords effects. The sucket fork was wrought with two prongs at one end of the stem and a bowl at the other. The fork end was used to spear food preserved in thick, sticky syrup, such as plums and grapes, and the spoon end to convey the syrup to the mouth.

And then the question that came up today and how I know I will learn a lot while I am with the kiddies is “What does that mean?” after I said I’d be there with bells on.

After all, what does that expression mean? So of course, I did another Google search and that is indeed very interesting. Basically, it’s not clear. People have some ideas and the fact that they are so different from each other is the most convincing that they really don’t know.

Here is a bit of trivia that is seasonal, I guess. The Mavens found that

F. Scott Fitzgerald left the final preposition off in his 1922 Beautiful & Damned, where we see, “All-ll-ll righty. I’ll be there with bells.”

But this is what I’ve found so far as the best selection of possibilities, including a reference to the bells that were on the garments of the Jewish High Priest back in the days of the Holy Temple, but they also include many other choices, for our consideration. You can tell by the spelling that the site is British:

 Two stronger contenders, and they are stronger by dint of their emergence in the right place at the right time, i.e. the USA in the late 19th/early 20th centuries and because the circumstances match the meaning of the phrase, are these:

– Bells that were added decoratively to the harnesses of horses in parades and especially in circuses or other gala circumstances, as depicted on old Christmas cards and the like. Someone coming to a party ‘with bells on’ wasn’t just coming, he was planning to come in with a flourish to boost the festive spirit.

With bells on– The settlement of US immigrants in Pennsylvania and other states. Their preferred means of transport were large, sturdy wooden carts, called Conestoga wagons. These were drawn by teams of horses or mules whose collars were fitted with headdresses of bells. George Stumway, in Conestoga Wagon 1750-1850, states that the wagoners personalised the bells to tunings of their liking and took great pride in them. If a wagon became stuck, a teamster who came to the rescue often asked for a set of bells as reward. Arriving at a destination without one’s bells hurt a driver’s professional pride, whereas getting there ‘with bells on’ was a source of satisfaction.

Circumstantial evidence is the best we have at present so, as they say, the jury is still out.

And I’ll let you know if I was successful in getting out the OJ and the chicken soup from the chair…


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