Join Me for a ‘Spell’


When my grandmother would ask me to “Come and sit for a spell,”

this meant we would gaze out at the back yard and enjoy the view.

Sometimes, it would take awhile but there would be words shared

and some little fragment of a story, which meant I would have to

gently pull the rest of her thoughts out. Asking questions and then,

waiting. I had a quiet, gentle grandmother who lived with us from

when I was only three years old up until I was a sophomore in

high school. She had what people call, the ‘mother in law’ suite.


Eveline was her name and she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio with

a few tendencies to use Kentucky or Tennessee expressions. Did

any of your grandparents or parents use the words, ‘sit a spell?’


Spell is such an interesting word. Here is a current definition of

it  with a few of my own little ‘takes’ on this fun wordplay and

word analysis. I hope you will add your  favorite interpretation

of “spell” in the comments’ section.


The vastness and variation of the definitions for “spell” are

amazing. I started this with only three actual uses and found

out there is so much more dimension to the word.




1. a spoken word or form of words held to have magic power.

2. a state of enchantment.

3. strong, compelling influences or attraction.

4. a short indefinite period of time.

5. a period of weather of a particular kind.

6. one’s turn at a task or work.



1. orally recite the letters or give the spelling of a word.

2. to relieve someone from work, by taking a turn.

3. to allow someone to rest awhile.


I am especially fond of the sitting in a rocking chair, sipping lemonade

with a relative or friend, and pondering while not in any rush to finish

the conversation. Time passing slowly, like the image which is often

used, ‘watching the grass grow.’


I enjoy movies where you can see, through the director’s guidance

and the film crew’s efforts, the ‘exact moment’ someone is caught

in a ‘spell.’ I even like the idea of someone’s falling in love and

calling their first meeting, ‘magical.’


There have been many love songs, where there are descriptions

of the initial meeting, the spell being cast and the enchanted couple

finding this memorable. Details during the meeting come back and

are mentioned again and again, to children and others who like to

know ‘how it all began.’ It can include, “She bewitched me.”


“Strange Magic,” was a fantastic and beautiful animated children’s

film. Of course, there are many songs in it, including the Electric

Light Orchestra’s song, “Strange Magic.” There is a bright purple

bottle which contains a “love spell” from captured fairy, “Tinkerbell.”

It contains purple blossoms from the flowers on the edge of the

forest. They are ‘forbidden’ to be picked. Micah, my oldest daughter,

Carrie and I saw this on Sunday evening.


I was surprised at all the different songs that were included in the

children’s movie, all popular ones from the 70’s. George Lucas directed

this film. There were several adult couples holding hands and giggling

at the antics in the movie filled with elves, fairies, and evil grasshopper-

looking king of the “dark forest.”



Please share a name of a song and include the group or individual

who performs it.


Another use of the word ‘spell’ I heard at a quilting bee, one where

I was a guest and enjoyed watching the ladies working together.

One of the women asked me to ‘spell’ her on some of the stitches

and watched me, giving me suggestions and compliments on my

even stitches. Have you ever used the word, “spell” to take a turn?


One of my favorite uses of the word “spell” was in the classroom usage.

I enjoyed having “Spelling Bees,” while I was a young teacher. I would

buy candy bars and give them to the ‘top’ spellers. I also would give the

classroom popcorn for good behavior while participating in the ‘bee.’


Later, when I had a daughter who ‘hated’ spelling, since we think she

missed out on my ‘spelling gene,’ I realized this may not always have

been such a fun way to practice spelling. It is embarrassing to those

who are either shy or are not able to spell.  The only ‘comfort’ would

be that sometimes those who spell well, cannot do well in math.


This math knowledge skill my oldest daughter had inherited  from her

father, I tried to promote and encourage.The balancing out the ones

who could do math with the ones who could spell, still has a few who

are not successful in either case.


I would admit to my Language Arts classes, I ‘hated’ the game of

“Around the World,” when I was in school. This game played off

two students,  one who was standing and the other sitting at their



The teacher would ‘flash’ a problem and the other would have to

give the correct answer to be able to move around the classroom.

If unable to be quick with your response or give the wrong answer

and you would be ‘bested’ by another student, taking their seat.

I used ‘flash cards’ for spelling and math, along with ‘sight words,’

when I babysat all those years. I think practicing and keeping my

children and my ‘clients’ caught up during the summertime really

helps close the ‘gap’ while they are still enjoying recreation. I

always rewarded everyone or would just encourage clapping for

the right answer. Either way, I stopped giving ‘better’ prizes to the

ones who were successful.


This is now called in education, “intrinsic rewards.” They ‘know

inside themselves,’ they can do their tasks or skills. Being happy

you are successful will get you far in life, since not always are

there rewards. Teaching this lesson early is a good way to be

promoting self-worth, too.


I think all of us can relate to the idea of ‘dry spells,’ in our own

creative thoughts, whether we are producing books, music, art or

writing poetry to enchant our fellow bloggers.


In my periods of being ‘alone,’ and not dating anyone, I have been

known to be exasperated with my long, ‘dry spells’ without a man

in my life.


The weather usages of ‘dry spell’ and ‘rainy spells’ don’t excite me

but create important references for the weather man or woman.

They can tell us how many days in a row we have gone without any

rain or have had rain. Even though the definition ‘implies’ you can

use ‘spell’ with ‘any particular form of weather,’ I just cannot imagine

using it with snow.


When it comes to ‘dry spells’ you may wish to listen more closely to

the words in the America band song, “A Horse With No Rain.” I did

and it really is not ‘aimless’ at all, it has purpose to the song. I have

always loved it, but did not know it had depth and meaning to it.


Here is a serious “pause” in my blog:

“All of our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you in New England

and hope you have electricity, warmth and food sources. We are very

concerned for this huge snowstorm you are weathering.”


Lastly, my grandkids knew how to ‘spell’ the name of their home state,

because their parents are Buckeye fans.

Let me hear the first two letters:

“O – H!”

always answered with,

“I – O!”

We play in the car, the “Give me a __” and it can go like this,

“Give me an ‘S’, then they will say the letter back to you, S!”

And we can keep on going until we spell “Skyler,” or we  may

start with a “D” and keep on going until they have chanted

the letters for “Daddy.”

Of course, if you are from another country or have not played

this shouting or chanting game, you finish with the letters and


“What does that spell?”

Their reply is yelled, “______!”

I used to do this with my babysitting kids when they were all

in elementary school. It was a fun way to pass time while on a

short drive to gymnastics, the park or pool.


Don’t forget to let me know if you have a special song with

the word, ‘spell’ included.

Even though, “Some Enchanted Evening” (from the musical,

“South Pacific,” doesn’t mention specifically the word, “spell”

it describes what one is.)

Here are a few of the lyrics, listening to Frank Sinatra or Perry

Como singing this would make you smile and reflect on love.

Across a crowded room you will find a stranger, “you’ll see

her again and again.”

You may hear someone’s laugh and “the sound of her laughter

will sing in your dreams.”

The ending is just so sweet, I get tears in my eyes:

“Once you have found her, never let her go.”


Don’t forget to let me know of one of the ways, ‘spell’ may have

captured your interest or meant something to you. Sharing a

song or memory will make us all feel like the ‘spell’ worked!









26 responses »

  1. That’s how it was with my grandma too 🙂 very treasured memories. And Strange Magic is my all time favorite of ELO ☺️

    • I am finding a very special group in my pending approval area on wordpress. So sorry I did not see this in a timely manner then when I went to make a comment on your posts, which are so good! I could not, due to being ‘closed.’ I started following you and found a few people, like Belinda and Shoe who are also longtime friends of mine! Thanks for this and hope you will come back soon!

    • Oh, thanks for this funny response! I am glad she liked to sit down with you for a ‘spell’ and she liked her ‘forty winks,’ too. I have analyzed the words patience, regret and one of the funniest one was ‘fool.’ Sometimes we play the fool and sometimes we eat a ‘fool.’ So glad you added to this post with a clever grandma quote!

      • She had some interesting expletives too – Holy Powers of Mercury and Judas Priest.
        She was a real character. I loved her dearly.

      • I have never heard of the “Holy Powers of Mercury” which is a great one to use! I had a Dad who used Judas Priest, which I wondered where that one came from? I am so glad you were able to be with her and she does sound like quite a lovable character!

    • Thank you for reminding me of how some older people may say they need to ‘rest their eyes,’ Brenda! I am surprised, since my grandmother never worked after she had children, and especially when she had grandchildren how weary she would get. Thank you for sharing about your grandmother. I feel we have a lot of media and for me, fluorescent lights at the factory, which wears out my eyes. I put drops in my eyes, to help keep them from getting dry. (No, not the ones that ‘bleach’ your eyes, but the ones like “Refresh” them…)
      I like the word, “bespelled,” Brenda! I thought some of this would be ‘right up your alley!’

    • Oh, this was a great addition to the post, Beth! I adored this movie and “Akeelah and the Bee,”
      which I would never have thought of, had you not mentioned, “Spellbound!”

  2. You set the perfect mood(s) with your post about this magical, illustrative, important word. You took it to the letter, Robin. You mentioned my song, ELO’s “Strange Magic.” I consider their leader Jeff Lynne to be one of the most underrated music maestro’s of our lifetime. His name spells magnificence to me. So there you have it.

    • I am so thrilled, Mark! I was not sure how many ELO fans I would ‘reach’ out there in blogger-world! The group was fantastic, my brother who is a ’57 boy like you, loved and had all of their albums. So, I could have written a long playlist of some of my own personal favorites, too.
      Glad you found a way to include ‘spell’ and I agree with your giving Jeff Lynne this ‘title!’

      • Oh, man! I wish I had seen this! My brother has been to an ELO concert, but the guys I have been with never took me to one. I love the idea of Jethro Tull there, too! Wow! I have enjoyed their music recently since my good guy friend, Bill, admires their keyboardist and likes all the Jethro Tull songs, too.
        I am still working on finding my March Neil Diamond partner to go with me to listen and celebrate. I will be up and dancing but will have to not mention to work people since i will need the next day off for recuperation purposes! ha ha!

  3. I had oldies too who used to ‘sit a spell’ or ask someone to ‘spell me’ I sometimes may even use the word myself.

    As a complete aside, I prefer the word ‘enchantment’ to ‘spell’ just because, due to it’s associated meanings, I think a spell is short lived whereas an enchantment lasts longer; a spell is cast but an enchantment descends upon you ….. I have no idea if this is accurate, it’s just how I feel about the words.

    A most interesting post Robin, I love being made to think about words!

    • Thanks, Pauline, for sharing about your having family members (“oldies”) who would use this expression and the other use, “spell me.”
      Enchantment is a lovely word and so glad you mentioned this, Pauline. I was wishing to include this feeling. As a matter of fact, in the children’s movie, “Strange Magic,” there is an ‘extra magical message’ given to the viewer: “Love potions don’t work or cannot ‘beat’ true love!” So, I mentioned this to my grandson and oldest daughter, they agreed, if there were a potion for love, it would not be as ‘strong’ and ‘everlasting’ as love is. I was so glad that we all heard the same message and that George Lucas wrote this beautiful visually and meaning-wise screenplay. He must be around our age, since he included one of my old favorite songs, “What do you get when you fall in love?” (talking about heartache in a light- hearted way), “I’ll never fall in love again!”

  4. My grandma loved to ‘sit for a spell’ to play a game of cribbage, often as a filler while waiting for something to come out of the oven. If I shuffled the deck more than three times between deals she would say, ‘You’re going to shuffle the spots right off those cards, Michael.’ (She was the only one who used both syllables of my name.) It was a nice way to say, ‘Deal the cards already, dang it!’

    She never swore that I can recall. She would say ‘Con Sarn It’ or ‘Dad Burn It’, but that was about as ribald as her language ever got. It sounds funny to say it now. My grandma was the lovingest person I ever knew, and she always told me I was her favorite grandson. Of course, as often as I say that, my wife reminds me that all of her other nine grandchildren were girls. – Mike

    • I am so glad you had a lovely and loving grandmother who also used this expression. The idea of engaging in a game of cribbage, sounds complicated, but she must have found it ‘relaxing’ and helped to kill time while waiting for something to come out of the oven. The one who would sit with me, honestly did not cook. The one who cooked up a storm of delicious German delights, never used the expression of sitting for a spell. Maybe since she immigrated here while young to New York and maybe no one used this around her? Not sure…
      I am so thankful you added some humor (which you are very good at!) to this post, by saying the cute expression, “You’re going to shuffle the spots right off those cards”… and your full first name, too!
      Thanks for including the way she would ‘swear’ which were little fun ways instead of ‘bad words, ‘ Mike! My Mom and Grandpa would use the word, “Nuts!” while my Dad being originally a child of the ‘streets’ would use rather long and profane strings, if he were really upset. Usually only outside or in his ‘workshop’ in the garage. Not aimed at us.
      Loved that you were the only boy, so she could say this fantastic and positive thing to you, it ‘still counts’ in my book! (favorite grandson)

  5. I sit with people now who love to sit a spell, interesting, many of them are from Kentucky or West Virginia and love to use that term. And love the sitting or setting a spell. And love spelling out the stories of their lives, keeping me spellbound. 🙂

    • Thanks, Colleen for reminding me of ‘setting’ which is important to add to the post about ‘spells,’ since half the people (or more?) would use the expression, “setting” while sitting down!
      I love the idea of spelling out stories of their lives which keep you spellbound, Colleen. What a wonderful combination!

  6. Very well put Robin. I can share anroid app on Google play named by Spellstorm which my son plays often. it is one of the superior card game with lot of events. I liked the spell magic of your post.

    • S n S, this is lovely to add an app called, “Spellstorm” to the post! I am sure there are many young people who will know what an ‘app’ is and possibly will enjoy this game! Thanks so much for this one. Thank you for describing it as a superior card game with lots of events included. This will help to explain it very much.
      Also, I like that you added you enjoyed the magic spell part of my post. You should see the lovely illustrations in the movie, “Strange Magic,” borrow it someday from a library and see it with a girlfriend. It is kind of a ‘girly’ movie, but maybe your husband would laugh and enjoy it, too. It is a cute love story!

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