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Yes is the code word for maybe

There are all kinds of codes we come across in our daily routine. There are padlock codes, codes of honor and ethics, codes for opening doors or gates, and let us not forget the ever present computer codes we refer to as passwords.

Yes, codes have become an integral part of who we are. You could say that they have become part of our individual genetic code, pun intended.

During our first visit to Jacksonville Presbyterian, our soon-to-be home church, a man named David approached me and began speaking in code. I was oblivious to the hidden meaning of his words. Allow me to explain.

Every pre-pandemic Monday, at 8 a.m., 17 or more local men gather at the Good Bean in Jacksonville for what is lovingly referred to (in code) as the “Board Meeting.” When I was invited to join this group of merry men from our church, I accepted. I showed up with a Bible and notebook in hand (actually, in briefcase).

I was introduced to a variety of characters, including the sitting mayor, an aerospace engineer who worked on the space station, a nuclear physicist who was responsible for measuring the radiation levels in atomic plumes, doctors, a dentist and a pharmacist.

I was ready to discuss theology, social responsibility or maybe even current affairs. In reality, our two-hour interaction was more focused on Model A Ford restoring, RVs and various other topics of a manly man nature. I began to understand the code. The title Board Meeting was a code for a bunch of guys wanting to sip coffee while talking guy talk or exchanging not always humorous jocularities.

Weeks after being accepted into this Monday morning gathering of civic-minded decision makers, my new friend Jerry approached me speaking in code. He explained that Wednesday is Pharmacy Day. I envisioned 10 or so retired guys swapping prescription stories, while comparing each other’s aches and pains. Well, I was almost right. The words pharmacy and prescription are code words. Pharmacy actually means Pucks Donuts (2386 W. Main St., Medford) and prescription can mean cruller, jelly filled or even old fashion. Bribery refers to the donut one brings home for their spouse, a peace offering if you will.

Please feel free to join us any Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. We can’t be missed. Just look for a bunch of guys in lawn chairs. We adjourn the gathering by playing one hand of dollar poker. Everyone puts a dollar into the kitty. Once they are mixed up we select a dollar bill and use the serial number to create the best poker hand. Winner takes all and donates the entire amount to a homeless person or charity.

So, as you can see, things aren’t always as they seem. I bet you either use codes or have codes used upon you by family and friends. Did you know that when you say, “Yes, dear, I’ll get on it right away,” the words are code for sooner or later? The common phrase “in a minute” is code for a Bohemian minute, which can last up to an hour. Then there are those times when your spouse says, “How was dinner?” Your reply with a smile and thumbs up is simply a code for ... well, never mind, you get the idea.

Richard Hunter lives in Jacksonville.

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