I promise spring will be here any time

By John Fragodt, Sports Reporter

Ever wonder how many is a few?  Does it mean two, three or maybe four?  Or, how many is included in a handful, or what number are we referring to when we say a couple?  I started thinking the other day about how easily we throw out the phrases “in a little bit,” “a few more,” “just a couple” or something similar.  When we say those things, just how many or how long are we talking about?

Is a handful the same as a fistful?  Either way, how many is that?  And, are we talking about an adult’s fistful or a child?  In addition, is a couple the same as a few, and when does not very much become too much?

I use the phrase “in a little bit” a lot when talking with my grandchildren and animals.  They might ask when we’re going outside, or when is it time for a snack, or when will grandpa be able to read to them.  They have probably figured out “in a little bit” can actually mean substantially longer than a few minutes, especially when grandpa is busy doing something else.

My granddaughter tends to use the phrase “more” when she wants some additional food, playing time, or to do something she likes again.  Heck, she even learned sign language for that word from watching Miss Rachel on TV so she uses it a lot.  I’m not even sure if she knows what the word means, but she does know if she says it grandpa will continue to do what he’s doing until he simply runs out of energy.

When we used to deliver the newspaper each week in Benson while I was working at the Monitor-News, many times we had to wait for the paper to arrive and the carriers would always call or stop by and ask when the paper was expected.  Even subscribers would call and ask when the paper would be in Benson.

I used to reply to them “in a little bit,” but when I realized I couldn’t guarantee that, I went with the phrase, “any time,” which I thought was the perfect comeback.  “Any time” could mean a few minutes, but it also could mean that the papers would be arriving a few hours from now or some time tomorrow.

And thus, when you ask me when will winter be finished and spring be here?  Any time is what I’d say.  Or, at the very least in a few weeks . . . I hope.