What’s a gem clip?

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Funny how the passing of generations often brings about changes in the language and the meaning of certain words. Recently on a Delta flight to Dallas, one could not help but recognize that peanuts have made a comeback. For a while, there were no peanuts available aloft, owing to the allergy circumstance with peanuts for some travelers. You probably are aware of these developments.   

Peanuts are a wonderful treat, and, in today’s world of no food service unless you fly first class, two of Georgia’s most celebrated products help make you comfortable when flying some place — Coca-Cola and Georgia peanuts.

Just for fun, I flummoxed a pretty flight attendant when she smiled and said, “What can I get for you?” I replied, “A dope and some ground peas.” She reacted as if I were speaking a language with which she was not familiar.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she replied. “You have ‘em both on your cart,” I said and then pointed to a can of Diet Coke and a package of peanuts as she blushed with a half grin and half smile as she shook her head as if she wished she could say aloud what was on her mind.

“Never heard that,” she said as she placed the two products on my tray table and eagerly moved on down the aisle to accommodate other travelers who were not into an off-the-wall Q and A session.

While the Coca-Cola formula is the best kept secret in America and has been for years, it is well known that included in the original formula were ingredients from Coca leaves and kola nuts.

With peanuts, which have always been one of the most important cash crops in the state of Georgia, you would have to be something of a historian or have spent time in a rocking chair on the front porch with your grandfather and maybe heard him refer to peanuts as ground peas.

I enjoy interacting with the college students in my building by asking them to “hand me a gem clip.” That usually brings pause to their routine. “What is that?” they will say, having no awareness that such a request has to do with a paper clip.

And whatever became of the floppy disk? Will the Kindle bring about the demise of books?

And, God forbid, libraries and librarians. 

In the meantime, I will keep having fun with flight attendants by ordering a “Dope” and “ground peas.” Maybe on my next flight, I will ask if she can request from the captain a couple of “Gem Clips” to organize my papers.