Those Crazy ” Dangling Participle ” Days


Dear Reader:

Isn’t it wonderful when we experience those days when everything just seems to fall in place. You don’t have to listen to ‘ elevator’ music’ for half an hour before placing an order on your phone, you are waved to a teller at the post office ( in front of others) because your package is so small and light. Or your favorite gas pump opens up just as you pull in to the gas station.

Nothing earth shattering -still it just feels like the universe is blowing you a kiss.

And then… there are the other days when nothing goes right. I call them dangling participle days… in a nutshell… crazy confusing. A participle is supposed to describe a subject noun or even object noun -instead it just dangles by itself not attached to any noun. Example: Eating pie in the rain, a rainbow was seen.

Who was eating pie? And since when do rainbows eat pie?????? ” Eating pie is just dangling out there in the universe somewhere… but the noun is absent from the sentence … completely clueless…

Eastern North Carolinians and Piedmont South Carolinians have a twang all their own -For me…even decades after moving to the Lowcountry… my accent is a dead give-away. Especially with dangling participles.

Grandmother Barbour and some aunts/ uncles rarely added an ” ing” to any participle or noun… for example …kindling just sounded like kindle… the boys had to bring in logs for the fireplaces in the winter… but we girl cousins got by with just bringing ” kindle” in to start the fire.

So I grew up thinking starter wood was ” kindle.” Imagine my surprise when suddenly several years back everyone was talking about getting a ” Kindle” for Christmas… a computerized e-reader to replace books.

Even after I figured it out and even got one for Christmas… it sat in a drawer and collected dust. I liked kindle ( starter wood) but not Kindle readers. Why? Three reasons.

Senses of sight, smell, and touch. I love feeling a book, especially a beloved, well-worn hard cover book-I love the touch of turning pages, the smell of libraries and the sight of beautiful covers and drawings within the covers. That is what makes a book magical!

In a novel I finished reading …a young woman brought life back to a Scottish village (where the villagers had been without a library for years since funding stopped in lieu of computerized reading.)

But after several months of providing books to the village through a large van, a bookmobile, an amazing metamorphosis happened. The book mobile owner witnessed the following…

” As Nina looked around the little village in the sunlight she noticed…Everyone was reading! People out in their gardens, a woman in a wheelchair by a war memorial, a little girl swinging, in the bakery, and coffee stand. A mother excitedly ran up to Nina and yelled-” My kids have almost stopped playing Minecraft-they are now reading books about it… truly a miracle!

An older man told Nina he couldn’t remember when he stopped reading but he thought it was when he just stopped seeing books around…he went on… you know , on the bus or train everyone used to read books. But now all everyone was doing was fiddling with their phones.

Or holding up a metal barrier ( tablets) so I couldn’t see what anyone was reading and converse about it. Was it good or should I read it? It was as if suddenly, one day, the books simply disappeared. It was so lonely! People lost contact with other people.

As I read those passages I knew exactly what he was feeling-it was exactly what I was feeling… dull gray or black covers on reading tablets make barriers to those around you… a beautiful cover book invites conversation.

So until tomorrow… my kindle firewood ignites a fire… my abandoned Kindle Reader took the spark out of my great love -reading! So Bye Kindle!

Today is my favorite day! Winnie the Pooh

Remember… when you are down or having a crazy ” dangling participle” day -Take Merlin’s advice… learn something new! Or go to your garden! Either way… just smile!!!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to Those Crazy ” Dangling Participle ” Days

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Love the entry today…especially since I was the keeper of the books all my life…❤📚❤📚


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