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The Meaning of "Mojo"

June 23, 2005

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. All kinds of good music and some laughter and a few reverent moments. Those Mila women really bring it on home. The kids were upstairs cleaning up their rooms and thinking about packing for camp and I was in the kitchen making a batch of cinnamon rolls for Sunday morning. Now you're probably rolling your eyes wondering who on earth wants hot cinnamon rolls on a hot, humid June morning. Well, you'd be surprised. If you've got air conditioning or even a decent fan, that's all you need. Cinnamon rolls taste pretty dang good any time of the day or year.

So I was kneading away, apron askew, my sleeves rolled way up and my hair in my eyes, singing "Got My Mojo Workin'" along with Mr. Donohue. I'd set an oscillating fan on a chair in the middle of the kitchen and every 15 seconds or so I got a blast of cool air. It was during one of these blasts that Mr. Sundberg appeared in the doorway. "What's a 'mojo'?" he called out over the music. I was tempted to tell him it was the spray nozzle on a garden hose or a coffee grinder or a slang term for "neighbor." Nah. I told him what I know. I didn't tell him I learned it the same day I left home during one of our seasonal arguments and took a bus tour of the city. For a while I'd sat next to a man named "Henry" who pretty much told me his life story and used the word "mojo" several times. Finally I asked and he explained that it's a lot like charisma or sex appeal. I guess I prefer to call it "personal charm." Henry explained that, long ago, "mojo" meant a spell or a charm, but the meaning has evolved over time and "mojo" is just what it feels like when you say it out loud.

So I told Mr. Sundberg what I believe it means and he tilted his head to the right a bit and said, "Sex appeal? Mojo is sex appeal?" Well, KIND OF, I said. You know, no two words mean the same thing so sex appeal is part of it, but there's more. Especially if you emphasize the appeal. It's like what DRAWS one person to another. He shrugged and said, "Mmm, cinnamon rolls" and went back to his book in the other room. I popped the rolls into the over and set the timer. They'd be done before the show ended. And there was Mr. Sundberg again, in the doorway. "Is my mojo working?" he asked.

Honey, I said, Rest assured. Your mojo is in fine working order. He considered that for a moment, and said, "Well, now. Good to know." Then he paused and said, "I imagine women have mojo, too, but that doesn't sound quite right. It's more like moxie, what you have. And I like it."

The man has never been Mr. Romance, but he has his moments. For which I am thankful. It's a blessed thing to hear, now and then, the person with whom you are aging at a steady pace tell you you've got it going (whatever "it" is) and it's workin' and I like you just fine.

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