The letter R seems pedestrian to me. Perhaps because I had brother named Roger, and all brothers are pedestrian. Having four brothers certainly added to my believe that there was a dullness about them. Did they never tire of tormenting me. Apparently not. Boring.
But then I got into thinking about learning that what I just thought was a step in making my gravy like my mother did, was actually called making a roux. I learned this from a Belgian boy who grew up in Spain and had a year long affair with a friend who was teaching English in Barcelona. I travelled to visit her and met him when I was in Madrid.
So I was trying to decide what things I had been thinking about that might fit with R in this A to Z challenge. Rue, as in rue the day, popped into my brain as I was thinking about what I would change in my life if I could, what decisions I rue or regret.
He then came to the U.S. a couple years later and stayed with me when I was working at Purdue after receiving my B.A. He had a fling with another friend of mine while in the states, but he also showed me the nuances of browned butter and flour. In French beurre roux means browned butter.
I did not know there were three common words sounding so similar. I knew regret and I knew browned butter sauces, but I did not know roué which means a debauched, usually older. It is is the past participle of the verb rouer, which means to be broken on the wheel as in an instrument of torture. I could have gone my whole life without knowing this, or needing to know this. Grotesque.
Rue means street or road in French.
Rue is a bitter regret.
Rue as a noun is a perennial, bitter, European herb.
Rue is to to feel remorse.
Like so many English words, the exact path a word travelled to arrive in contemporary English usage can be murky. Hrēow is an old English word that is a direct predecessor of rue. Old Norse, other Old English words, Proto-Germanic Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Old Dutch, German all may have influenced development of the word, or been directly related to it. But English is possibly a creole language.
What Do I Rue?
Individual regrets or actions for which I feel remorse are really no one’s business, but there is a pattern in them I can speak about. I rue that I allowed my brain to switch off when I experienced conflict between what someone said and what I believed. Like so many girls of the 20th Century earlier, I was trained to do what I was told to do when my parents spoke, and to some extent by my older brothers, and to teachers. No girl should ever be trained to be servile. The training does not have to be so deeply ingrained that blind obedience results, but there is a danger that exposure to such thinking might slow down a response to a dangerous command. That slow-down can result in injury or death.
This is something all society should rue and extinguish.
R in #AtoZ2023 – Rue, Ruox, Roué