"Only He Spelled It 'Dam'"
My great-grandfather was a circuit-riding preacher and held revival meetings in the Dakotas in the late 1800s and early 1900s. My grandparents were teetotalers and would not even allow any kind of card playing in the house. As a result, Dad adhered to the moral tenants practiced by his family. He had his first taste of alcohol when he was in his 40's on a consulting job and had to cross a river in the cold driving rain. Being thoroughly frozen upon his return to town, he went to the bar with the rest of his colleagues - a first! As most people knew, Dad favored the occasional Canadian Club and ginger ale in his later years.
Dad was never known to swear - at work, on the job, or at home. Only once I heard Dad come close to using an expletive deleted. Several years ago, I became severaly stressed out by a mutual acquaintance. At one particularly trying time, Dad stated, "___________ can go to hell." I was quite startled, to put it mildly, and knew Dad was really distressed about the situation.
I was relating this particular instance to a colleague of Dad's who had called to express his condolences after Dad died. He said, "Oh, but I have heard your father use a swear word a lot. He was always saying damn - only he spelled it DAM." That is about as close as Dad ever got to swearing.
Nancy Peck Young
This letter is an excerpt from the Geo-Strata Feature on Professor Peck, Geo-Strata September/October 2008.