Prate vs. prattle

All Questions Resented, weekdays at five p.m. and weekends anytime.  Dad doesn't like questions.  At all.  Any more.  I Q.  He won't A.  He has no Qs for me.  Tricky breaking the conversational ice in this deep freeze.  Dad sits with his back to me in his wheelchair.  If I move, he moves.

After forty-five minutes feeling unwelcome, I put on my coat.  Without looking at me Dad says, "Please don't go so soon."  I take off my coat, and try a new tactic.  Dad always complains about his children talking on and on, or, apparently worse, philosophizing. 

I'm pretty desperate, so I ponder aloud the possibilities for an elephant clay project with the elementary students, brainstorm the art update for the school newsletter, and report on the class rabbit's earwax problems.  Thank heaven for the recent discovery of the oldest wine-making operation in Armenia, because Dad doesn't want news of disasters, either natural or manmade.  He barely tolerates capsules of my campaign sign removal campaign and blue bag letter-writing effort.  He says "no news is good news" about my sons.  (That part is true, as they are busy and self-sufficient adults.)

Somehow, we survive another forty-five minutes of togetherness.  His supper tray arrives.  I open the packet of pepper and the tiny tub of butter.  He doesn't want either, of course.  He is tired of my chatter, or is it prattle?  At least I didn't babble, but it was getting close.

prat-tle  --intr.  To talk idly or meaninglessly; babble.  --tr.  To utter in a childish or silly way.  --n. Childish or meaningless sounds; babble.  Good grief, it is a [Frequentative of PRATE]!  Isn't that like prune juice?

prate  --intr.  To talk idly and at great length; chatter.  --tr.  To utter idly or to little purpose.  --n.  Empty, foolish, or trivial talk.

Now I'm ready for a glass of 6100 year old wine!

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder

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