For Kay Ryan Out Loud
Thanks Kay, for the annual clever visual pun Christmas card.
I always eagerly await your drawings, they are such limber plays on words.
Perhaps you are like me in that you enjoy hearing the language cut in the ‘wrong’ place, yielding up strange new words, names, ideas…and when you mention what you just heard, your friend is in on the joke.
So every year another great hand-colored drawing that I will puzzle over for about four minutes, give up, and open so I can see the True Meaning. This year’s : a trio of birds crammed in the cab of a blue pickup, which has three oversized dinner forks in the bed.
I thought about all the birds in Christmas carols….partridge in a pear tree (paar tryggs in a Pertuis?) Naahh…there were three.. but they definitely didn’t look like hens. They were songbirds.
I had to look.
Pulled out , er sorry, pulled out a sheet of blank paper and scribbled a scholarly wombat with spectacles, with a bomb–fuse lit–going off in her mind, and a couple of thin-beaked birds, one with earphones and a backward cap, the other one just wondering with a ? over its narrow head….
Brought it to Kay and Carol’s this fine fool moon solstice evening.
A two blog night.
Kay was in the kitchen, Carol on the phone…I sat and watched Kay wrestle with it, and after a healthy couple of minutes she said, “can I look now?” and laughed when the really sick, kind-of-a-stretch pun hit her..
Carol came out and said, “did you guess it?”
“No, I had to look”
Carol braced herself on the table and stared at the picture….birds…French hens? But there are only two…they don’ t look like hens, anyway…”
I decided to throw in a hint. Both Kay and Carol teach English. Carol runs the English Department at College of Marin.
“What is the wombat DOING?” I prod.
“Uh… reading? Yah, he’s reading to them…the hat’s on backwards…the other one’s scratching its head….”
“O.K., what KIND of birds are they?”
“Anything but hens…. they’re ….DOVES?!”
In another couple of minutes she’s saying…Two….ddu du…DOVES” trying to remember the Carol (get it, a Christmas CAROL? As in Carol ADAIR? My joke to myself….
All Carols have a definite advantage, the singsongy lilt their name inheres. In -hairs? How do you spellit again?
So…finally finally finally she grasps the thistle: