Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Katie Bar the Door

(Picture from the History of Leith)

Go over to World Wide Words for a look at Michael Quinion's fascinating discussion on the possible origins of the expression "Katy bar the door."

I remember the cry, "Katie bar the door," coming from some sports announcer, perhaps it was Keith (Whoa, Nellie!) Jackson, maybe it was as a big game was coming down to the wire, or perhaps it was when a runner was heading towards the end zone for a mop up touchdown in a game that was already a blowout. In the first instance he was expressing the traditional meaning of "Look out, there's gonna be a fight, so lock the door." In the second circumstance, I recall the expression being used to describe a game that has gotten out of hand, and one team was seeing the door closed on any possible hope of victory.

I thought of this expression as news came of a recent flurry of nominations of openly gay clergy to various Episcopal Bishop positions around the U.S.A. (Minnesota and Los Angeles, NYT) These come "Schorily" on the heels of the Episcopal church's 2009 General Convention and the passage of the controversial resolution C025 (which you may recall from last week's post). Or hadn't you heard?

“It's permeated the fabric of the bloody society, almost.”

-Keith Jackson

In the case of the Episcopal church, fighting words were effectively issued by those who voted in favor of resolutions C025 and C056. "Them fightin words" were directed at the rest of the Anglican Communion. So far we have in this corner TEC, and in that corner the AoC and the rest of the world. Are we getting ready for a smackdown? What we are going to need is a great play by play man, but don't call Keith Jackson.

“I don't want to get back into the pressure cooker of play-by-play and worry about travel. I don't want to die in a stadium parking lot.”
-Keith Jackson
(Read it again, but substitue "church parking lot" for "stadium parking lot").

The post game analysis won't be pretty. It might look something like this (from and "Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War" 1866):


I love the description accompanying the picture:
"Perched upon the gentle slope of the ridge that bears its name, and looking across fertile fields to the mountains that rise up grandly hiding the West, Centreville had smiled on many generations, and grown feeble with all its pleasant things about it. The houses were leaning structures with huge stone chimneys, doors that creaked in their old age, and fences that straggled every way, but there was always an odor of wild roses and honeysuckle about it, and a genial hospitality to welcome the stranger. War crushed it, piled earthworks upon its ruins to protect hostile camps, built cantonments in its gardens, and made hospitals of the churches. Scarcely a vestige of its former self remains. Redoubts and riflepits stretch along its knolls; graves, half hidden by the grass, tell where the dead of both armies slumber, and the spot now only interests the visitor because of the wreck that has come upon it...
...Guerillas have swarmed about it, cavalry have charged over its untilled fields, and demoralized divisions have bivouacked for roll-call behind its hills.

Through all these scenes a few of its people have lived and suffered, faithful to their homes. Others are turning back from uncertain wanderings to the resting place of their fathers, and, with returning peace, the husbandman finds that nature has not forgotten its fruitfulness in the years of war and devastation."

The photographer's perspective after the battle is preferrable, but right now I can only see the view from my little rifle pit.

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