Seems that some words just know how to trip us up. Camouflage, for instance, leaves me badly bruised. I keep having to pick myself off the ground, breathe deeply, and try to spell it again.
But rotten spelling isn’t the only frustration I’ve experienced today regarding the obituary I’m writing on alleged airfield camouflager Ralph Hayter. Please attend, if you can, to my slight whine. I’ll keep it brief.
First, spell check failed. Again and again.
Second, I finally found a historian from the War Museum in Ottawa to interview about camouflaging airfields during the Second World War. And then my recording equipment pooped out. I was left with a whole lot of silence and the humbling predicament of asking to re-interview this man (quotes are also much more vibrant the first time around.)
Third, while I was dealing with frustrations #1 and #2 an email buzzed through from Mr. Hayter’s daughter saying she might have had it wrong after all. It’s possible that her dad didn’t camouflage airfields in Eastern Canada. “I would not want him portrayed as someone he wasn’t,” she wrote.
At that point I walked away from my desk. The cat and I stepped into the garden to watch the gimpy squirrel for a bit and decide what to do next. You see, my editor specifically wanted me to focus on the camouflage angle but here I was coming up empty-handed.
I wrote him and confessed to the #3 frustration. Not much on camouflaging airfields, I said, but there’s always the bit about Kennedy throwing out his back while planting a tree on up on the Hill, flinging dirt from a shovel Ralph Hayter handed him.
“Snag in the works,” I wrote in the subject line. “Shall I proceed?”
“Sure JFK good angle,” came my editor’s response ten seconds later, about ten minutes ago.
Good news. My work was not for naught. Plus I’ll never, no not ever, mis-spell camouflage again.