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!