Good grammar speaks volumes, no pun intended, and I fear we are losing that emphasis as abbreviated messages multiply in our present-day communication world. Yet, we do need to seek first the intent of the sender and not allow flaws in presentation to distort the meaning.

During my school years, when I learned a rule in English class that was not commonly followed in our everyday speech at home, I would share it with my parents and we all would agree to try to do better.

This always prompted my father to retell the story of a great-uncle whose children tried to correct his poor grammar. Growing tired of their admonishing, he retorted, "Aw, if I shake a bush and you know what I mean that's all that matters."

I was blessed to have English classes in college taught by Dr. Gordon Wilson. He expected the best but used common sense in not letting faulty word use and improper pronunciation color his impression of our intelligence. He had studied dialects so well that he could tell with amazing accuracy where a person grew up. Ways of saying things, as well as the inflections of one's voice, were naturally passed down from generation to generation. Incidentally, he shared that the Logan and Todd County area was unique and the speech of the people here was easy to identify as to geographic location. Dr. Wilson's sound teaching was humbling and caring. Hear the intent; rules are important but secondary to love and caring.

When I was a young married with two little ones, endless washing to put through the ringer and hang on the line, garden stuff to pick, chickens to feed, cows to chase when they got out, and holding fort as husband worked at the factory and plowed the fields, life was full.

I honestly have forgotten what extra work was weighing one morning when there was a knock at the back door. A kind elderly couple who lived nearby was standing there. She spoke and said, "We've come to holp ye." Tears filled my eyes and a lump came in my throat as I felt the love flowing from them to me. I'll never forget it. Would it have meant more if she had said, "May we help you?" Of course not. And, I learned later that HOLP was simply the archaic word for HELP that still filled the hearts of these friends. The fact that they never heard of or adhered to the term "derivation of a word" mattered not.

I recently read a story from a collection written by Joe Creason, a longtime columnist for the Courier-Journal. It was in the era of one-room schools and teachers who often had little or no formal training. Some parents were concerned about the poor grammar spoken by the new teacher and its bad example for the students. At a meeting about the matter, at least one father was there to support the teacher, the morals and dedication of whom were unquestioned. The father stood in the group and spoke: "I'd a heap rather have a man say 'I seen' when he seen somethin' than to say 'I saw' when he ain't saw nothin'."

Perspective plus!