Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hoarfrost et al

“Hoarfrost,” he said.

“No. You’re wrong,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”

“Yes,” he said. “Hoarfrost.”

“No horror at all,” she said. “Magic.”

“Yes, indeed,” he said. “Everything outlined in white, noticed, brought forth. Hoarfrost.”

“Why do you keep saying that?” she said.

“Saying what?”

“Horror frost.”

“I never said that.”

“Yes, you did.” She counted on her fingers for emphasis. “Three times.”

Hoarfrost,” he said, somewhat emphatically, although he was a patient man.

“There you go again,” she said. “Horror frost.”

“You misunderstand me,” he said.

“I understand you perfectly and . . .” Here she pulled herself up to her full five feet two inches, retied her robe and raised up on her toes for emphasis, “ . . . and your limited appreciation for what is. This . . .” She spread her arms wide before the picture window that framed the scene: every branch, twig and blade of grass dipped in white. “This is beautiful frost, magic frost, fairyland frost. Call it anything, but, please, not horror frost.

“Spell it,” he said.

“Spell what?”

“What you said I said.”


“No. Just the one word that so horrifies you.”

“Horror frost?”


“It’s two words. H-O-R-R-O-R F-R-O-S-T.”

“And what I’ve been saying is hoarfrost. One word.” He spelled it. “Hoarfrost. The scientific name for the phenomenon we are witnessing this morning—frozen dew. It occurs when objects are colder than . . .” and he was off, explaining, explaining, explaining.

Which she knew he would do if she played her cards right. She loved setting off his meteorological dissertations and wondered when, if ever, he’d see how she lured him on.

“It’s also called rime,” he was saying.

“Rhymes with what?” she said.

© Kathleen Coskran 2012


  1. This story made me laugh out loud! Funny.

  2. hah, me too. We had a family joke: Child says, "Mom, I need to write a report about whales; what can you tell me about them?" Mom says, "Hm, I don't know anything about whales, go ask your father." "Thanks anyway," says child, "I don't want to know THAT much about whales!"

  3. Thank you for the family joke--I can relate to that!