David and I are trying to hunker with the best of you.

I’m just not a very good hunkerer. I don’t even know if that is the noun of the verb “hunker.” Is it “hunkee,” “hunkeree,” “hunkerman” or “hunkerwoman”? He/she who hunks?

I’ll just have to use the word as a verb. It’s hard to be a grammarian. You can get so involved in the mechanics of the language that you forget to hunker.

David hunkers better than I do. Some people tend to hunker after retirement. I guess after 41 years of working at a desk doing engineer stuff, you deserve to hunker for an equal amount of time. So he’ll hunker until he’s 105.

That’s a lot of hunkering through “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars,” his lunchtime entertainment. For a while he hunkered in front of a show about finding the Confederate treasure, but the hunkering outlasted the finding. It’s still lost.

David likes most of all to take a break from hunkering inside and work out in the yard. I made him a happy camper last week by buying him a sweet gum ball picker upper. He must have rolled up tens of thousands of them. I saw where people buy those annoying little prickly balls on Etsy to make wreaths and other sweet gummy household decorations.

I showed David where he could make $5 for 50 balls. He scoffed.

“I’d have to package them up and mail them,” he said. He’d rather hunker.

I like to shop. I think that’s why I’m not really good at hunkering. You can’t hunker and shop. Hunkering infers not shopping, so I am not interested.

Two of my daughters and three of my sons have been telling me the past week to hunker better. They are appalled if I tell them I went to a store, even though I stay away from everyone and use a gallon of hand sanitizer. I slather. I am a good slatherer.

I finally figured out they think I am in that elderly group that is supposed to be hunkering.

“You are at risk, Mommy. You are in that 60-plus group that can catch the virus. You need to hunker down,” my daughter carefully said.

“I’m healthier than you all are,” I said. “I haven’t been sick in years.” I remember the stomach bug I caught from her children one Christmas and the bronchitis from another grandchild one Thanksgiving. But if I hadn’t been around them, I would have remained healthy.

If I had hunkered instead of hosted, I would have been fine.

So I’ve decided I won’t tell them anymore if I go out. I’ll call them when the background noise sounds like hunkering.

One thing David and I have done while practicing hunkering is watch the miniseries “Washington” we recorded on the History Channel. It dragged in places — the Revolutionary War lasted a long time — but we learned a lot about hunkering. George Washington was good at it, even when he was miserable with his painful-looking false teeth and didn’t want to talk.

But when he was at Valley Forge for that frightful winter, he said, “We’ll just have to hunker down here.”

They bravely did, through starvation and frigid temperatures and boots that were falling apart. Their courageous hunkering opened the way for the freedoms we enjoy today.

“They knew how to hunker,” David said to me.

“We need to learn how to hunker better,” I said.

So I’ll try. I can shop less and hunker more. I can pick up lunch through a drive-thru and eat french fries that aren’t as hot as I would like when I get home. I can do pick-up groceries and do less wandering around through a store, touching things. Unless I really, really need to go out, I will hunker.

Hopefully, it will just be for a short time and will be over with before we know it.

I will learn the fine art of hunkering. I draw the line at searching for the Confederate treasure, but I will hunker.

Elzey is a freelance writer for the Register & Bee. She can be reached at susanelzey@yahoo.com or (434) 791-7991.

Elzey is a freelance writer for the Register & Bee. She can be reached at susanelzey@yahoo.com or (434) 791-7991.

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