November 5, 2009
Pass the Peas, Lover
Two Peas in the Leaves
I always considered the word lover a kind of secret word, meant to be whispered in an ear or repeated behind a closed door, the kind of word only spoken aloud by characters in novels-- racy novels.
Then during college I was having dinner at my friend G's house one evening, when G's mom turned to G's dad and said, "Please pass the peas, Lover." I nearly choked on my chicken bone. I pulled myself together quickly, though, when I noticed that no one else seemed phased by the tossing about of such a private word. I decided it was an odd little family quirk and kept my mouth stuffed with my drumstick because it sure was delicious.
Fast forward twenty years: Here I am in Massachusetts, and I hear people calling each other lover freely. Couples use it as a term of endearment with each other and their children. They're using the word at the playground! G's mom, it seems is not so wacky, just an east coast transplant. And I thought California was supposed to be home of the love children.
I'm making a good faith effort to fit in with my fellow Massachusans, so I've been rolling this new definition of lover around in my head, trying to see if I might use it with R in public. So far love and lovey are as close as I can get with a straight face.
Also, whenever my brain wanders off in this direction I end up with Mickey & Sylvia's "Love is Strange" stuck in my head:
"How do you call your lover boy?"
"Come here lover boy!"
Maybe that's how I'll holler R and Buckaroo to dinner: "Biscuits on, Lover Boys!"