The oppressive heat wave that ruled our lush, green Lowcountry in late May had an effect on not only our lawn grass, but the “grasses” of the human mind, body and soul as well.
I stayed indoors as much as possible, by the air conditioner, keeping my fingers crossed that it didn’t go on the blink. Workers also endured sizzling outdoor temperatures when performing their jobs. And also our animals, tame or otherwise, started showing tension.
This “brain-kill” hit home on the morning of the sixth day of 100-plus-degree temperatures hovering over us, threatening our AC’s that they’d be running for yet another day with no “time-out.”
On days like this, you have to “get-the-lead-out” and get motivated early if there are any outdoor activities on your agenda.
Glancing at the clock that read 6:50 a.m., and noticing the head and body motions of our Yorkillion pup, Sport, gave me the alert it was nearing the 7 o’clock hour. Who needs a clock with this little 10-pound rascal around who has, I’ve decided, a built-in clock that dictates his outdoor time, meal time, naps and bedtime.
We started our outdoor walk, but suddenly I became aware of something not quite right. I was in the lead of our daily routine, instead of our usually bouncing and “full-of-it” canine. Looking back, I saw him slowly trudging behind me, head down with his tail at half-mast, not at all enjoying his needed task ahead.
“Aha,” I thought. “You’ve got a bad case of the ‘Mully-grubs’ like everyone else on ‘Tanner-Hill.’ “
In case you’re asking, “What’s the mully-grubs?” I asked the same thing when Woodrow Bowden, a cousin from across the way, used this word the first time I’d heard it.
“Simple,” he replied, “I just feel down and out in body and spirit.”
I realized a bad case of the Mully-grubs had hit me too, when taking my flip-phone out of my pocket with my finger virtually ready to dial a friend’s number. I would ask if she’d pinch hit for me by taking my place with the “special music” spot I was scheduled to do during a nearing Sunday morning worship service.
I already had my song picked out and brushed up on the piano, so what was the problem?
Then my absolute favorite verse of the Bible ran across my mind: Isaiah 40:31.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
I set out singing this verse, which I sang as a chorus in Bible School many, many years ago, and in no time flat my spirits were lifted, my Mully-grubs kicked aside, and I started the day’s chores ahead of me on my to-do list.
Then the wheels started turning in my brain and set me wondering, “Is ‘Mully-grubs’ actually a word, or slang Cousin Woodrow used in his lingo?’ “
Googling “Is ‘mully-grubs’ a word,” I received my lesson for the day.
It is! It’s really a word, spelled “mulligrubs,” or the way I spell it, and it can be used as a noun or a verb, meaning: ill tempered, feelings of melancholy, sullenness, depression. It’s even used to describe the colic.
An example of noun usage in a sentence: “He was down with the mulligrubs,” and as a verb: “It’s too late to mulligrub about it.”
However, this word is not found in all dictionaries. I have a Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, copyright 1951, that has it, but the same dictionary copyrighted 1977 doesn’t.
My Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, copyright 1983, has it but my Sixth Edition “New, The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” by Merriam Webster, copyright 2018, definitely does not include mulligrubs in its entries, because the preface states: “It is also important to remember that this specialized dictionary contains words of up to eight letters and their inflections.”
Shucks, missed it by one letter!
Most dictionaries do, however, have the word “Isaiah” in their entries, described as a proper noun: A major Hebrew prophet of Judah in the 8th century BC, who taught the supremacy of the God of Israel and emphasized the moral demands on worshipers.
Isaiah is the most quoted of all the prophets, being more frequently quoted by Jesus, Paul, Peter and John than any other Old Testament prophet.
Believing the words of Isaiah 40:31, my mulligrubs vanished; now only if the temperatures would ease up and bring some much-needed rain.