Hale and Hangers

I’ve heard the term ‘hale and hearty’ describing someone’s health, but didn’t know ‘hale’ also is a word used for push or haul. 

Granted, my vocabulary is ‘challenged’, meaning it isn’t highly sophisticated or broad, but I can usually understand what is being discussed if spoken in simple English.

Back to our topic of the definition of hale. How many of you would use the word hale rather than haul, i.e. ‘I haled the bale of hay to the pasture’? 

That is not something I would expect to hear, nor would I expect to ever say. Of course, I would not ever say I did anything with a bale of hay, except take a picture of it. Manual labor involving hay would be the last activity I would undertake.

As I was discussing the usage of ‘hale’ with a friend, she laughed recalling how different cultures describe things in a way we would think is odd.

Her example was when she asked her Mexican housekeeper to hang up a blouse in the closet, the woman shook her head and replied, ‘All hangers are busy.’

What? Who gives a clothes hanger such an active role, although I guess they were all being busy hanging out with something else?  While I would have said ‘all hangers are being used’, or ‘there are no available hangers’, or ‘you need more hangers’, or ‘get off your duff and go buy more hangers’, this woman simply noted all the hangers were doing their jobs. and were unable to undertake another task.

The American woman also noted her house keeper hung blouses on hangers we would use for pants, you know, the ones with the clips on the top. This tended to leave peaks in the material between the neck and sleeve and gave the wearer a bit of a funny expression, something like a permanent eyebrow lift leaving you appearing to ask a question.

Then the woman would use the blouse hanger for the pants giving the hip area a bit of a bulge on either side. Ironing doesn’t remove such unsightly extensions, and who owns an iron anymore? 

Do not ask me how I got from hale to hangers. I must have haled, hauled or pushed random thoughts together and they busied themselves attempting to make sense of why they appeared in the same column. 

How else could I get the story about busy hangers into my weekly writing?


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