Will You Barrow Me?

Sounds funny, doesn’t it (this title) … unless you’re from the rural Midwest and maybe even then it does. Or maybe you’re quite at home with it and think I’m silly for asking.

It’s one of those things you grow up saying so automatically you don’t stop to think about the words. You know what it means so you assume everyone does. I didn’t realize how funny it sounded until well into adulthood when someone had no idea what I was talking about.

I assume it’s spelled “barrow” as opposed to “borrow,” else it makes no sense at all. For as long as I can remember I have loved words and the distinctions between them.

bike2If you’re old enough (I won’t tell) you remember the seat on the top of your bicycle’s back wheel. Of course that was so you could “barrow” a friend. When we wanted a lift that’s what we asked, “Will you barrow me” or, conversely, “Do you want me to barrow you?” The answer was a clear yes or no, not “Huh (what the heck are you talking about)?” We all intuitively understood.

My dad had an old wheel barrow much like this one but his barrow1 was caked inside with dried cement. He’d occasionally try to cover rust by spraying it (and lumps of dried cement) with silver paint. Oh yeh, that worked (not). My dad wasn’t a handyman you necessarily wanted mending things. But maybe that’s where this term came from, because it was a special treat for him to push us around the yard in it, concrete, rust, silver paint and all. I guess he was “barrowing” us because it was a “wheel barrow.”

I got to thinking about what I most borrow, as in really “borrow.” As the precautionary saying goes, “neither a borrower nor a lender be.” I was surprised to learn this is attributed to owl1the Bible, which does warn against it, but the quote itself comes from Shakespeare. Wise advice either way. I’ve made it a practice not to borrow money but I do too often lend it.

A cup of sugar … that’s something I might borrow. Unfortunately I’m a bit of a freak about knowing where my food ingredients come from so, ehhh, I’d have to really need it. Say, for that first cup of morning coffee, oh yeh, that’s critical enjoyment for establishing how the whole rest of your day goes. I’d definitely throw caution to the wind for that.

My neighbor borrowed a cup of flour but it goes without saying I didn’t expect them to return that. On the other hand they did bring a couple of freshly baked cupcakes for me and that was pretty cool. My sugar craving can supersede any caution about where ingredients come from. I’m beginning to realize my commitment to sanitary ingredients isn’t really the commitment I make it out to be … .

The thing I most borrow is probably something people don’t even know I’ve taken, errr, borrowed, and I doubt if I ever return it to them. I borrow inner strength from people who live life above & beyond their obstacles.

After moving to where I live now I incessantly complained to myself about how far away I had to park and how far the mailboxes & trash compactor are. Then I met my MMouse1 neighbor. He’s lost a leg and is in a wheelchair, but that doesn’t stop him from getting out & about to visit neighbors every day, driving to run his errands, wheeling his trash to the dumpster, bringing in groceries, checking his mail … or baking cupcakes. I borrow his strength of character when I start pity-partying about what I perceive as my limitations when, in fact, mine are nil by comparison.

I suppose I don’t return as much character as I borrow, but I do try. It likely isn’t returned to the individual I borrowed it from, but I’m sure they don’t mind if I try to pay it forward the best way I know how, kind of like David’s cupcakes.


This responds to the WordPress Daily Prompt, “Borrowed.”


3 thoughts on “Will You Barrow Me?

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