In the spring of 1979, a father-and-daughter team (a college student of 18 tender years and a military-retiree father of 47 not-so-tender years) embarked on a memorable sojourn, an excursion into the wilds of Mexico. The start of our trip was discussed in detail in this posting here.
At the conclusion of that posting I promised to return and give more details of the excursion, and here I am, making good on my promise. Check out the other posting—in my completely unbiased opinion, it’s well worth the read.
And here I must digress in order to discuss the word excursion:
The ex in that word comes from the Latin and means out of. I therefore rationalized that since our trip was in to Mexico rather than out of Mexico, it was an incursion rather that an outcursion, but alas—although that seems rational, we are stuck with excursion simply because the words cursion and incursion do not exist in our English lexicon.
My daughter recently sent this message suggesting some details to include in the promised posting:
Hey, don’t forget to talk about the actual ride up, going into the cave, lights being turned off while we were climbing treacherous ladders, you talking in Spanish to the “tour guide” (VERY loosely defined; he was probably the short order cook in the cafe, too) and asking him why they named it Garcia’s Cave, then you trying to cajole me into walking back down to our teeny tiny Volkswagen Rabbit in the desert—seemingly miles away—a bright orange (um, sorry, Panama Brown) speck in the dirt below—then your silence on the tram ride back down—then you finally telling me how the cave got its name.
Following our guided tour of Garcia’s Cave, my daughter took an interminable length of time to photograph the world that was visible from our location near the mountain peak. While I waited (impatiently) I struck up a conversation with the mule operator, a likable fellow that spoke excellent Spanish.
Although my ability and agility with Spanish was, and still is, far south of excellent, we managed to have a useful discourse by using combinations of our two languages. Mule was the term used in reference to the engine (not the operator) that huffed and puffed and wheezed and snorted and brayed while moving the tram cars up and down the mountain.
Our English term mule is translated as mula in Spanish, pronounced moola with the accent on moo. I once spent an eternity in a small theater in Reynosa, Mexico watching the movie Dos mulas para la hermana Sara, starring Shirley MacLaine and Clint Eastwood—the English title of the movie was Two Mules for Sister Sara.
Yes, I had a lot of time on my hands!
In response to my question concerning the origin of the cave’s name, the mule operator told me that it derived from the death of the cave’s discoverer, a death that occurred when a tram cable broke and Senor Garcia was killed at the conclusion of the car’s accelerated trip to the bottom.
I found a site online that tells us that the appellation Garcia’s Cave is derived from the name of a nearby town called Villa de Garcia—Garcia’s town. I suppose the name is similar to the argument of whether the chicken or the egg came first—in this case, Garcia’s death or the town of Garcia. I submit that the point is moot, especially in view of the fact that our solar system, the one that includes our planet, is hurtling through space at warp speed toward some unknown and unknowable finish—so who cares which came first?
I rest my case.
Okay, where was I? Oh, now I remember—I was visiting with the mule operator while my daughter was taking some outstanding photos of our surroundings. When she had finished, I suggested that it would be ever so exciting to walk down the mountainside, along with the cows and goats that roamed the mountain at our altitude—I reasoned that if they could do it, we could do it.
My daughter was adamant—she refused to take the walk, and I eventually was reduced to begging rather than suggesting (I knew better than to attempt ordering!). We both rode down—I simply held my breath and kept my eyes squinched shut, silently repeating to myself (an always avid listener), Never again, never again—never, never, never!, until the car came to a bumpy stop at the bottom.
There are several web sites that go onto considerable detail concerning Garcia’s Cave, and I suggest that everyone visit the cave through that venue—you’ll find the excursion interesting and educational. Should you choose to make the incursion to the mountain, you’ll find that the railway has been replaced by a modern system of airborne cable cars, a system undoubtedly safer, but not nearly as exciting (and scary) as the old system.
I will therefore conclude this rambling recitation by telling the viewer that, at one point in our guided tour, while deep in the bowels of the cave our guide, without warning, shut off all the lighting, leaving us stranded in an infernal, hellish state of stygian darkness—frozen, afraid to move in fear of sinking farther into said bowels. I wanted to express my feelings in Spanish, but I knew very few Spanish cuss words. I did, however, mutter a few English cuss words, heard only by my daughter—I hope.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
To learn more about Grutas de Garcia, click here.
Irregardless—correct speech, or double negative?
This posting consists of a series of comments posted to my blog in my About the King of Texas section. I consider the comments and my responses worthy of being brought into the bright light of day instead of remaining in the shadows of the comment section. My purpose is to share those brilliant interchanges with the ever-growing legions journeying to my blog, throngs—nay, multitudes—that include the brightest of the brightest—intellectuals all, erudite to the very core, whether subjects of The King of Texas or visitors from far flung regions ruled by lesser monarchs.
To view the original About the King of Texas, click here.
Comment posted by Barbara Kelley on June 13, 2009:
Dear King of Texas:
You write like Flannery O’Connor, so maybe you are the King O’Texas. I am going to delve more into this blog at a later time—you know, when I can wrap my mind around it. What do you think of the word “irregardless?”
Hi, Barbara—thanks for the comment, particularly for your comparison of my writing to that of Flannery O’Connor—I’ll accept it as a compliment, regardless of her propensity to lace her writings with grotesque characters.
I appreciate your application of an apostrophe to my title—apostrophication, so to speak. I know—apostrophication is not a word—at least it was not a word until I created it. I couldn’t find it anywhere online or offline. I should probably apply for a patent so I could draw royalties each time the word is used.
I love it—there is probably a wee bit of Irish in all of us, including our current president. And here I must give thanks and a tip of my kingly crown to Kinky Freedman, a well-known Texas resident, a successful writer and sometimes candidate (unsuccessful) for public office. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Kinky said that he would vote for that Irishman, Barak O’Bama.
As regards—or in regard to—or regarding—irregardless:
Irregardless is not a proper word, regardless of its appearance in dictionaries and regardless of its use in speeches and writings by supposedly erudite persons. An exception might be when the user is faced with an untutored audience, one that might accept its use as proper—audiences in certain southern hilly or swampy areas, for example.
You know, of course, that the prefix ir means not, and the suffix less means without, ergo the non-word irregardless contains a double negative.
Less negates regard all by itself—it needs no help from ir.
Thanks again for your visit and for your comment. Please feel free to “delve more into” my blog—I welcome your comments, whether compliments or criticisms, and I will respond to either—or both.
Comment posted by Mary Ellen Ryall on July 26, 2009:
Good morning: One day one of our officers said, “I can’t wrap my head around it right now.” I thought, what does she mean? Well, I know now. I became overloaded with projects at work and simply couldn’t take on one more responsibility. Still, I don’t appreciate this kind of expression. Why not just say, I have too much responsibility right now and can’t take on anything more at this time. Information overload is a reality in the work world now unfortunately.
Cindy Dyer is our graphic artist. She mentioned what a great writer you are. I can see you enjoy being a student of language. The world needs those who can express themselves with polish and flair. The gift of writing using eloquent language skills is fast disappearing from this world.
Comment made by Will Howard on February 14, 2020:
I just delight in your writing. Texas would be so improved if you would make Texas the focus of your wise wit frequently.
Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment. It’s a nice compliment, one that I cheerfully and gratefully accept, and I will in future postings strive to incorporate Texas to the greatest extent possible, whether witty or not so.
Texas is not my native state, but as the bromide goes, “I got here as soon as I could.” I arrived long ago in the past century as a lowly serf, one among many subjects in our military forces, and in the interim I have ascended to the throne—I am now The King of Texas, albeit the result of self-crowning and self-anointment. It’s important for one to note that the first word in my title is The, and that word makes me supreme, not susceptible to the actions of pretenders and contenders thirsting for my throne and fame—they can use the title A King of Texas or King of Texas or Texas’ King, etc., but none can rightfully claim to be The King of Texas, at least not as a blogger on WordPress.com.
I would like to believe that your comment was inspired purely by your having read About the King of Texas on my blog, but I have reason to suspect that the comment was perhaps tinged—tainted, so to speak—with the purpose of introducing me to your web site and its various connections.
Hey, whether true or otherwise, I have no problem with it. After reading your comment several times while blushing with sinful pride, I rushed to your site and spent a considerable amount of time rambling around it and its connections, then I bookmarked it and forwarded it to several people. And as Ahhnuld is wont to say, “I’ll be bach!”
Posted by thekingoftexas on February 17, 2010 in grammar, Humor, proper english, punctuation, Writing
Tags: American literature, apostrophe, comments, essayist, Flannery O'Connor, Humor, irish, Irishman, king, King of Texas, Kinky Friedman, Obama, patent royalties, resident, short story writer, Texas