Friday, February 6 at 9:35 AM
If words had attitudes, in my mind the word "pecan" would be stuck up. Just the way it's pronounced - pi-'kän - sounds haughty and arrogant; like the way the stereotypical upper class snob speaks. I spent most of my life pronouncing it like 'tü-"kan, as in Toucan Sam. Or like this poem in which I first came across the word "toucan" when I was five or six years old:

Author Unknown

Whatever one toucan can do
  is sooner done by toucans two.
And two toucans (it's very true)
  can do much more than two can do.

And toucans numbering two plus two can
  manage more than all the zoo can.
In fact, there is no toucan who can
  do more than four or three or two can.

Every once in a while I run across a word that I pronounced incorrectly as a child; this being the result of my spending more time reading than talking. Take the word "elixir" for example: I used to pronounce it "excelsior". I never came across the word unless I read it in a book, so I never had to sound it out. I was corrected, much to my embarrassment, by a friend. And in high school no less. Oh well, live and learn.

Yesterday, I learned to properly pronounce another word: "Baja". As in the Baja California Deserts of Mexico. If I had known that they are in Mexico, I might have been able to deduce that the word is actually pronounced 'bä-(")hä. Unfortunately, I didn't. In fact, I didn't even know such a place existed.

When I was around seven or eight, my uncle - who was visiting from Australia at the time - bought me a powered racetrack set. It was called "Baja Run". It was quite an elaborate piece of work, complete with cardboard cut out mountains and tunnels. Unfortunately, one of the cars was broken within twenty-four hours; the other within a month, I'm sure. I kept the set with me for many years, always hoping to buy a new set of cars for it. My hope stemmed from the fact that my uncle, before he returned to Australia, promised me that my mother would be able to find replacements for those all to soon interred and yet so vital parts of the set. I think I gave up any hope of receiving a new set after a year or so had passed. Ah, the emotional scars. I finally parted with the set in grade eleven, when my accounting teacher was collecting donations for an immigrant family he was sponsoring. Thankfully, the missing cars were not needed as he only wanted the tracks.

Anyway, my pronunciation was corrected when I saw the trailer for a documentary called Dust to Glory about the Baja 1000; the Baja 1000 being a race held in the deserts of Mexico. Now it all makes sense. I suppose it would have been ideal if I had learned how to pronounce Baja when I was young. But for some reason, finding out this way seems a lot nicer. But that's just me.

Here's an old song that came to mind yesterday:

He Walked A Mile
Clay Crosse

Before the threads of time began
Was preordained a mighty plan
That I should walk with Him alone
The cords of trust unbroken
But fate forsaw my wandering eye
That none could yet restrain
To violate the friendship
I would cause Him so much pain

And every time I close my eyes
I see the nails I hear the cries
He did not keep Himself away
He was no stranger to my pain
He walked a mile in my shoes
He walked a mile

Feet so dusty, cracked with heat
But carried on by love's heartbeat
A man of sorrows, filled with grief
Forgiveness was His anthem
No feeble blow from tongue or pen
Could ever sway my love for Him
Across the echoed fields He trod
And reached into my world

And every time I close my eyes
I see the nails I hear the cries
He did not keep Himself away
He was no stranger to my pain
He walked a mile in my shoes
He walked a mile

He walked a mile
He walked a mile