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MISTLETOE

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MISTLETOE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:49 am

• mistletoe •


Pronunciation: mi-sêl-to • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: A semiparasitic shrub of the family Viscaceae with thick evergreen leaves and waxy white berries, that grows on deciduous trees.

Notes: As it grows, mistletoe accumulates the magical power to grant anyone the right to kiss anyone else standing beneath it. How it does that, scientists have not yet been able to determine. In England you are obliged to pluck a berry from the twig each time you take advantage of this power, thereby exhausting the twig bit by bit. In the US, however, we leave the berries up and indulge ourselves until no one is left whom we haven't labially offended.

In Play: Although it began as a symbol of good luck, mistletoe today is ineluctably associated with holiday kissing: "This grapefruit makes me pucker more than a tree full of mistletoe." Unfortunately, its magical powers are non-selective, so you might hear something like this: "I would sooner eat the mistletoe than kiss him." Of course, you want to watch your language around the holidays. Avoid crude insults like, "Kiss my . . . whatever" in favor of more genteel suggestions like, "As I walk away, kindly imagine mistletoe on my coattail."

Word History: This Good Word in Old English was mistiltan "mistletoe twig" from mistil, mistel "mistletoe" + tan "twig". The Old English word for mistletoe, mistel, was probably a diminutive of mist, a word to which it seems related. It may also be related to missel as in "missel thrush", a bird known to propagate mistletoe. Toe clearly arose via folk etymology after the loss of tan in English—don't those white little berries look just like a baby's toes? The Celtic and Norse peoples considered mistletoe powerful magic. They hung sprigs of it over doors to stave off evil and attract good fortune. If warring parties met in the forest and noticed mistletoe growing in a tree, according to tradition, they were sorely pressed to lay down their arms (though not to kiss and make up).
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby MTC » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:55 am

"Let's osculate under the semiparasitic shrub of the family Viscaceae with thick evergreen leaves and waxy white berries, that grows on deciduous trees."

Wouldn't have quite the same romantic appeal at an office party as an invitation to kiss under the mistletoe, would it?
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:38 pm

Depends on the office. The Lexeteria staff might love it. If osculation is a bit much, how about interdigitation of the phalanges?
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:18 pm

Golly, you two!
Merry Christmas, by the way, and let's not catch the two
of you under the mistletoe.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:06 am

When one works in a multicultural environment as I do, one must not only watch the occasion, and non-occasion for osculation; one must be wary of phalangeal interdigitation customs and even friendly pats on the shoulder. As a greeter at my church, I have to carefully catalog worshipers as osculators, air osculators (lips don’t touch cheek), huggers, phalangeal interdigitatiors, saluters, genial nodders, curt nodders and disdainful reproachers. We got all kinds.

Perry, I think I improved on your "interdigitation of the phalanges" with my "phlangeal interdigitation". Did I?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:41 pm

Philip: is here a written guideline? And do you take
seminars in making and learning the distinguishing
factors?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:56 pm

Luke: Unfortunately there are few written guidelines. If you do not know the person, offer to shake hands. Whether the hand is taken or ignored, smile and say welcome. If you know the person, never greet more heartily than is the custom of the one being greeted. Air kisses are expected from many ladies one knows well. One of the most difficult greetings is with someone who takes you hand and then keeps holding it past 15 seconds. Remember, this is at the door of a church. The job is not done for pay, but if the door is not promptly opened one might get a friendly promise that ones wages will be cut in half.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:33 pm

I can only imagine. I empathize - what a chore, and you
have to remember each person. Any faux pas?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby MTC » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:54 pm

Chore? I'd say Philip is uniquely positioned to run for office.

Though I expect Philip is already aware, there are a number of Church Greeter manuals online. Here's one:
(http://www.churchtrainer.com/product/1596840722)

Church Greeting can be a ticklish task. Greetings must be guaged to the greetee, right? (You being the greetor, that is.)
A Greetor must be a quick read of personalities. Miscalculating the appropriate greeting could be disastrous, or lead to a contretemps. Which option to choose: firm handshake, pat on the back, hug, etc? Again, great OJT for the campaign trail.
Let us know when you run.
Last edited by MTC on Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:45 pm

Surveys show a person decides whether to return to a church in the first seven minutes. Hits the ego of ministers, because they probably don't appear that soon. But it emphasizes the importance of ushers.

Saturday at a funeral in a church where I was pastor 30 years ago, a man told me he had stayed with the church because I shook his hand and called him by name. Go figure.
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby MTC » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:17 am

Pastors, Greeters, Exegesists, Good God!

Are there no reprobates among you!? No Herods or Cains? No Black Sheep, nor even Grey Sheep?

Whenever I click on the Goodword site, I feel like a Sinner crashing a Christian conclave or soup kitchen. Kind faces appraise me and seem to say, "Come in, my son. Your wicked ways are forgotten here." Next I will be dished up equal parts education and salvation, and so fortified, returned to the street.

Well, something like that, anyway...
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:16 pm

Was that a confession, conversion, or conflagration? Some of us might well be reprobate, but are way too old to enjoy it!
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:03 pm

Youth is wasted on the young????
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: MISTLETOE

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:04 am

MTC: The answer is yes. The Church is replete with reprobates, Cains and black sheep. Not many Herods. Who can out-Herod Herod? (From Hamlet's instructions to the actors where he warns against trying. Perhaps the best lines in all of Shakespeare.). We always try to wear our crowns in public, but mine tends to tarnish readily and is always slipping off my head. In the Church, we go about the messy business of being God's children although we do a desperately poor job if it. That's where Grace comes in. Church is not an assembly of saints as much as it is a hospital for failures. Oddly, this all adds up to a wonderful fellowship. It's snowing now in Dallas. May all your Christmases be merry, blessed, and whiter than snow.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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