The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 22, 2014

Outen no turnoff

Part 2

By Cindy Herman
For The Daily Item

— Ask a Pennsylvania Dutch husband if he understands the complicated set of directions that a local man just gave him to find the country road yard sale his wife is seeking, and he will reply with a noncommittal shrug, “For the half.” What this translates to is, “If we drive around long enough, we should be able to stumble upon it.” A young man I know once moved out of the Susquehanna Valley, where he had grown up not even realizing that he spoke Pennsylvania Dutch.

His heart, however, remained in the far-off Valley with his lady love, and one day some co-workers were teasing him about her and asked, “Do you love her?” Now, the young man did indeed love the fair lass, but being a private sort of fellow, he merely smiled and replied, “For the half.” To which his newfound friends said, “Huh?”

I completely understand their confusion — where is the halfway point of a man’s romantic fervor? You either love the girl, or not. Your heart either sickens at the sight of her, or quickens at the thought of her, in which case you hasten to marry her and welcome her into your home, where the two of you eagerly await those cherished moments when you can close the door on the day’s worries … and outen the lights.